GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WMBB) — It’s been a month since Dr. Glen Summers left his Gulf Breeze home, unaware of exactly when he’d be able to return to his family of six.
Because of his possible exposure to the virus between working at Bay Medical in Panama City and Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Dr. Summers set up camp at his Pensacola office with plans to stay put until the pandemic had passed.
After weeks of sleeping on an air mattress, his wife, Piper Summers and their five children decided they had enough. They got to work and transformed their home’s once-cluttered, dusty-garage, into a cozy, family-inspired suite.
On Tuesday morning, Glen shed tears as he walked into the room that his family had poured their hearts into.
“He came in through the side garage door with a mask on,” Piper said. “I had my mask on, and the kids watched through the glass window.”
“He started tearing up, then I started tearing up, and the kids were so excited,” Piper said, “I wish I got a video of it.”
Piper said the intense work schedule combined with the lack of family interaction was quickly taking a toll on her husband’s emotional stability.
“We’ve all heard people say that they can be in a room full of people but feel all alone,” Piper said. “He was definitely feeling isolated.”
Piper said getting the garage ready was no easy task.
“There is no AC out there so we had fans going while we cleaned,” Piper said. “I didn’t want to just give him a bed and to ignore the dust and dirt behind the refrigerator. We spent a lot of time deep cleaning that room for him.”
Piper said her friends and family don’t need to worry about Glen being too hot inside his room. She ordered a portable A.C. offline.
“I ordered a portable air conditioner and while we were waiting for it to come in, I decided to put extra time into getting this thing cleaned up since we had to wait on the delivery anyway,” Piper said.
With a bathroom being an essential living necessity for anyone, Piper said their family is fortunate enough to have a secluded option that only Glen will use.
“We have a pool bathroom that has a shower for Glen and it’s located right next to the garage,” Piper said. “I’ve sealed off the inside door so the kids aren’t tempted to use it.”
Piper’s hope through it all is for her family to feel as close as they physically can while keeping safety as their top priority. For Piper and Glen, this still means no physical interaction and that Glen remains outside the primary residence of the home.
But social distance doesn’t necessarily mean that Glen has to miss out on family dinners. Piper said they’ve learned to get creative.
“We’ve set up a table outside of our kitchen window and he sits on the other side of the glass,” Piper said. “We’ll slip him a plate and tell him supper is ready.”
“We call him on the phone and put it on speaker so everyone can still talk and this way, he doesn’t miss out on everything,” Piper said.
With Piper and Glen expecting their sixth child in October, Piper said she tries to remain positive about what the future might hold.
“I am concerned about our future and how much longer this will last,” Piper said.