(CNN) — After a year of living in an camper and caring for COVID-19 patients at a hospital, one doctor is finally back home.
Dr. Tiffany Osborn moved back in with her husband and two children in St. Louis, thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine. Osborn is a professor of surgery and emergency medicine at Washington University and she works in the ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Osborn said she moved into the camper in their driveway in March 2020 to keep Covid-19 out of their home. The family would visit with Osborn at a distance outside.
“We just want to say we’re very appreciative and we feel very blessed that I am back home with my family,” Osborn told CNN’s Pamela Brown on Sunday. “We also would feel remiss if we did not recognize the fact that many people did not make it home to theirs. We just want them to know that we are thinking about them.”
“I wasn’t thinking I was going to be in (the camper) for a year — that’s for sure,” Osborn said.
Getting vaccinated, seeing a decline in Covid-19 cases in their community and continuing to wear personal protective equipment at work made Osborn feel comfortable enough to move back into the house in February.
“When I come home, I still leave my shoes in the garage. I have an area where disrobe, I wear a robe and take a shower,” she said. “We felt like the combination of the vaccine, plus continuing to take precautions, that this risk to my family would be low.”
After six weeks of staying in the camper, Osborn started scheduling her time in the ICU and the emergency department together, so she could have free time afterward, she said.
“I would work straight through, take a few days, take a test, and then whatever was left the remainder of the month, I would be back” to visit with family, Osborn said.
Whenever Osborn left work, she would sanitize and clean up before coming outside to sit on the steps of the camper and speak with her family, she told CNN affiliate KMOV a year ago.
The Osborn family was planning a home extension, but they put that money toward purchasing the camper that Osborn was staying in, she told CNN. She said she felt lucky that they had money saved up to be able to do this.
Osborn’s two children, Ashley, 19, and David, 15, said it was an adjustment not to have their mother at home.
“It was really hard because my mom was gone, and I had to sort of step up, and I took on her roles around the house,” Ashley Osborn told CNN. “I have to be honest; I did not realize how much she did until she left.”
Between doing dishes and helping to cook meals, Ashley Osborn said she did her best to fill her mother’s shoes. It also meant trying to be there for her brother, as their mother wasn’t there to talk.
“I sort of took on the role of everything, like everybody wants to sort of have a somebody to talk to,” she said. “And mom’s normally that person who sits you down and talks to you.”
Through it all, Osborn credits her husband for helping her get through the moments when she wanted to give up.
“It was definitely challenging,” Osborn said. “And, luckily, I had my husband who kept me on the straight and narrow with that as well.”
The camper served the family well, but Osborn said they sold it to their pastor now that she’s home. “We were very happy to sell it because of everything that it represented to us,” she said.
Her husband, Jeff, said he supported his wife’s camper idea and that the family was fortunate to be able to have this option.
“Having deployed with the military, I sort of saw this as her deployment to be on the front lines to fight Covid,” Jeff Osborn told CNN. “I’m really proud of what she’s been able to do. And I felt my job was to make sure she was fully successful to help as many people as she could.”
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