Haley Lampman, a nurse who worked alongside Sally, said she was always "super happy."
"Even at the end of her shift, even at the end of 12 hours, she was always joyful," Lampman said. "Her patients always felt that."
It was at the end of one of those shifts that the nurse with nearly three decades of experience began to feel sick. She came home with a low-grade fever and cough. Ben took her the next day to St. Mary's emergency room, where she was tested for COVID-19.
Ben thinks his wife was infected by a patient at work and then brought the virus home, where he also fell ill.
"When you go into work, you will always have a COVID patient. That's a given," Ben said.
Both husband and wife were hospitalized, and the two texted each other from separate rooms in St. Mary. Ben ultimately returned home after five days, but Sally was transferred to the intensive care unit when she began having difficulty breathing. The texting stopped when she was put on a ventilator.
"With COVID, you're drowning. You're drowning; you cannot breathe," Ben said. "It's awful, the severity of the effects of the COVID virus in your lungs."
Ben was allowed to visit Sally in the ICU as doctors struggled to bolster her weakened lungs. Ultimately, she stopped responding to treatments.
"These cases of COVID are real for front-line workers like us," Ben said.
Experts have criticized the federal government for not publishing a comprehensive tally of healthcare workers who have contracted the disease.