PERTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It will be a special Valentine’s Day weekend for a New Jersey couple who has recovered together during two recent health scares.
It’s a love story that gets to the heart of what it means to be best friends with your partner.READ MORE: Long Island Couple Who Both Beat COVID-19 Renew Vows For Valentine’s Day
Audre and Charles Gaskin, of Perth Amboy, have been at each other’s side for 26 years.
“We’re inseparable, we go everywhere, we do everything together,” Audre Gaskin said.
After surviving COVID together in the spring, Charles was recently feeling short of breath, and after a stress test, he suddenly learned he would need a quadruple bypass. Hours after that horrible news, Audre suffered a heart attack.
“My defibrillator fired so hard that it knocked me backwards,” she said.
“Audre was in heart failure,” cardiology specialist Dr. Kim Bernard said.
“I don’t wanna be dramatic, but to some degree, he was hanging by a thread,” cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. George Bastides said.
Once Charles pulled through his open heart surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, nurse manager Barry Pace made it his mission to see the inspiring couple in their 60s could recover together in the same room.
“And we actually made it a surprise and brought his wife in later on that night after dinner,” Pace said.
“And here I am with my best friend, my love, my wife next to me in the next bed,” Charles said.READ MORE: After Being Apart 11 Months Due To COVID-19 Protocols, Couple Married 58 Years Reunites
During American Heart Month, Charles is a reminder that even while we’re in a pandemic, it’s important to see your doctor when something doesn’t feel right. If he hadn’t, he may not be home with Audre, leading a renewed healthy lifestyle together.
“It just emphasizes how important life is. Every day is not promised,” Charles said.
“The pandemic has been a tough time for couples. What is your advice for staying so close?” CBS2’s Jessica Layton asked.
“We’ve literally fulfilled our vows of marriage. We took them seriously,” Audre said.
“Better or worse,” Charles said.
“For better, for worse,” Audre said.
In sickness and in health.
“I want people to know that love is real. It does exist,” Audre said.
As long as they heal together, their hearts can’t be broken.MORE NEWS: National Wear Red Day Raises Awareness Of Heart Disease In Women
CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.