Frontline COVID nurses find love during pandemic

Mike Jones and Jane Trachsel, both nurses at Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg, were married on Valentine’s Day. The photo was taken on their trip to Lucerne, Switzerland, in 2019.

Frontline COVID nurses find love during pandemic

When Jane Trachsel and Mike Jones met in 2018, they were both working in the observation unit at Inova Loudoun Hospital in Leesburg.

Both Trachsel and Jones are nurses at the hospital, and Trachsel, who did not normally work in that unit, was immediately impressed with Jones and his care of patients.

She approached one of their colleagues and asked if he was single, as she wanted to get to know him better outside of their work environment.

It took a few months for them to connect. One day, Trachsel decided to text him and say hello, and they made plans for a first date on Jan. 1, 2019.

They met at a restaurant in One Loudoun, and it was an immediate love connection, the couple said. They talked all night long and did not want the night to end.

“We both hadn’t dated for over a decade,” Trachsel said. “We knew right away [it was] an immediate connection.”

Trachsel, an Ashburn resident who is originally from Switzerland, was considering moving back to Europe before she met Mike. After meeting him, she realized northern Virginia had become home, and she appreciates the close-knit community she lives in, so she was convinced to stay.

They continued to date in 2019 and in the fall traveled to Switzerland so Jones could meet her parents.

“We had such a great time traveling together. When we returned home, we went to a jeweler and picked out some stones for an engagement ring,” Jones said.

When the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020, both Trachsel and Jones were caring for COVID patients at the hospital.

“It was scary. We tried to separate ourselves from our children and then from each other. While the hospital has great resources and we felt safe, we didn’t go anywhere except for work or home,” she said.

At the beginning of July, Jones began to feel “off” and decided to stay at his home in Warrenton until he could be tested. A day later, he tested positive.

Out of work for about six weeks, Jones says he was very sick with the virus. The symptoms worsened, then got better and then returned. He was admitted to the hospital for several days to receive antibiotics.

For nearly two months, the couple did not see each other.

“We Facetimed often – it was really rough seeing him suffer,” Trachsel said.

Once Jones received two negative COVID tests, they reunited. They planned an ordinary evening of cooking dinner at home and relaxing together. They went out to the store to get groceries and when they returned home, Jones surprised her with a proposal.

“I didn’t want to wait. I really felt ready to get married. I felt like I found my soul mate and wanted to celebrate it,” he said.

Several weeks ago, they were discussing what to do during their upcoming days off from work. They decided it was a good time to get married – on Valentine’s Day.

They chose to get married at the Lisa Dugan Memorial Chapel at Inova Loudoun Hospital, and the ceremony would be performed by the hospital’s chaplain. “It felt like the right place to do it,” Trachsel said.

For the ceremony, they had a few people in attendance, and the rest of their friends and family watched the ceremony on Zoom.

The couple feels their story brings hope during a difficult time — that people can experience and work in a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, survive COVID and find love.

“We are very thankful and grateful,” they said.

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