How the Lowney family came together to battle COVID-19.
“You cannot underestimate the power of family,” says Dr. Mike Lowney ’00, of Hyde Park’s Lowney Medical Associates, and he means it. In late March, his family went through the collective nightmare of the COVID pandemic—his father, 82-year-old Dr. Charles Lowney, contracted the virus, with Mike and his siblings following soon thereafter. A highly contagious and unyielding sickness, the coronavirus certainly took a toll on the family, but thankfully, their story does not share the same devastating ending as so many we have come to know.
When Charles started showing symptoms—“extreme fatigue, difficulty breathing, and a myriad of other symptoms”—his children (Mike, Dr. Jay Lowney ’84, and Irene Esdale) immediately began an intensive at-home treatment. “My father had it the worst,” Mike says. “[He] fell very ill with COVID-19 and he did not want to go to the hospital.” Luckily, years of running their own medical practice had prepared the family for a challenge such as this. Mike explains,“My brother, my sister and I decided we would have to bring the care to [our father] and turned his room into a hospital bedroom. We were very fortunate that we had the capabilities to care for him in his home.” It’s not a method he recommends to everyone, but Charles’s case was singular, and the circumstances called for unique actions.
Charles’s children continued to care for him even as they began displaying grueling symptoms of the virus themselves. “We all actually had the virus to different degrees,” Mike says. “I had a very mild case, with a slight fever and flu-like symptoms lasting only a couple days. My brother [Jay] was a little worse; he had issues with fatigue and sleep.” But for the Lowneys, the value of family runs deep, even in—especially in—a crisis such as this. “Family presence, a warm embrace, and love are all invaluable parts of the healing process,” Mike says. “That is one of the saddest parts of this whole pandemic; when people are at their most vulnerable, and are in their greatest need, they are not allowed to have their loved ones by their side.”
The Lowney’s story, fortunately, provides a happy ending amidst a bleak news cycle; the entire family recovered from the virus in due time, and Lowney Medical is still taking care of patients via telemedicine. With the family now healthy and working remotely, Mike shares praise for medical workers and their essential contributions. “What we did with our father is what anyone else with the means would have done for their own father,” he says. “The doctors, nurses, and staff that work at hospitals, testing centers, and nursing homes are truly on the frontlines.”
From his own personal and professional experience, Mike stresses that in order to maintain the health and safety for the most vulnerable “it is imperative to use proper hand washing, abide by the social distancing guidelines, and use facial coverings when appropriate.” And, having quarantined with his siblings and father, his advice on spending the lockdown period with family is just as crucial: “Enjoy this extra time with family and try to make, as much as you can, a positive experience during these difficult times.”
This article first appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of the Xaverian Magazine.
A private, Catholic, college preparatory day school for boys in grades 7-12. The Boston area prep school offers a rigorous academic curriculum, a well-developed campus ministry program focused on faith, character, and leadership, and a proud athletic tradition featuring competitive Division 1 high school athletics in the Catholic Conference.