By Patrick Kelly
For almost the past two weeks, the Kelly family has been in quarantine. On March 16, my father, Blues broadcaster John Kelly, was tested for the Coronavirus. He had started to feel symptoms the week before on the Sunday before the Blues’ home matchup against the Panthers. The symptoms were mild at the time and nothing he hasn’t broadcast with before. When he got home from Anaheim, he started to feel worse over the weekend and on Monday went to the hospital with some breathing problems. While there, he was tested for the Coronavirus as well as given a chest x-ray that showed he had pneumonia. His oxygen levels were on the fence, so he was given some oxygen and sent home with some antibiotics as well as an inhaler.
Over the next couple days, I didn’t see much of my dad. He was in his room in quarantine and the only conversations I would have with him would be brief ones when I was standing in the doorway to his room. While I couldn’t talk to him a lot, I could hear him through the whole thing. The night after he got tested, he had gotten up to use the restroom, and from my room I could hear his cough and remembered how doctors had described it and at that moment, in my mind, I knew he must have it. The test didn’t come back until the morning of the 27th, so it was very touch and go at our house for a while.
The biggest wakeup call for me about this disease was when he was starting to feel better and we were talking to him about how he feels. Keep in mind, my dad has announced under all conditions: the flu, colds, a broken clavicle along with a possible cracked rib but he told us if he had to, there is zero chance he could announce a game right now. That said something to me because in over 30 years in the business he has missed one game, when he had laryngitis a while back.
John slowly started recovering all last week, having a few days where he would feel better, than one where he was a little worse and then back to getting better. A few days ago is when I would say he started truly recovering, mainly because his cough had stopped. There was a moment too when I knew he was really feeling better. The other day, NHL Network played the Colorado Avalanche 2001 Game 7 win and when they won, my dad put his fist in the air in celebration. NHL Network has been a big help to not only him, but all of us during this time. As I write this, he is downstairs watching the Blues’ Game 7 win last year over Boston and he has recorded all Blues wins in the final for later.
My family is very grateful for the kind words from people during this, especially since the news has broken. My dad has gotten calls from a lot of old friends asking how he is along with fellow broadcasters in the business, and even got a call pretty quickly from owner Tom Stillman, who spent quite a bit of time on the phone with him making sure everything was OK.
The bond hockey creates can be great in and of itself, but Blues fans really do have something special. We are all a family and are there for each other no matter what happens and just like all of you, I know JK is praying for the day when he will be behind a microphone and call Blues hockey once again.