SAN DIEGO — A University of San Diego nursing student is graduating with her master’s this weekend and even more pride in her profession after watching her father’s grueling recovery from the coronavirus — one made just in time to walk her down the aisle last summer.
Whitney Buzbee contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 during one of her shifts working at a local hospital. Both of her parents later tested positive for the virus while she was quarantining at home.
Her father, Tim Buzbee, ultimately landed in the hospital for 73 days. His case was severe, and doctors said he may not ever walk, or even talk, again. But Tim slowly improved enough to communicate with his daughter again.
“The first thing he said when he was able to start talking — I wouldn’t even say talking — I would say mouthing was, ‘Did you get married?,’” she told FOX 5.
In the end, he got to see for himself: He was released from the hospital about one month before Whitney’s wedding in August. The next challenge: Whitney says her father was determined to walk her down the aisle rather than escorting her from a wheelchair.
“He was told, ‘You may never walk, you may never eat again, you may never talk.’ He just … was like, ‘Watch me,’” Whitney said.
Time worked nonstop with a physical therapist to get back on his feet in time for the big day.
“Several hours a day we were working with him and he would just work nonstop and that was his goal: ‘I’m going to walk you down the aisle now, not wheel down, I’m going to walk you down,’” Whitney said.
When the ceremony came, Tim surprised everyone and stood up to walk alongside Whitney through the church.
“Everyone was crying because of my dad, not because of me getting married, and I was happy about that,” Whitney said, with a laugh.
Now Whitney is graduating from USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Saturday with a Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner specialty.
You can bet Dad will be cheering her on there, too.