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When Warren Pohl got sick 2 1/2 weeks ago, he thought it was the flu.
It started with aches, he didn't have respiratory issues and he hadn't traveled.
Two weeks later, the Crystal Lake musician and member of the band Bourbon Country died from COVID-19.
"We really thought it was the flu," LuEllyn, his wife of nearly 39 years said on Saturday.
Pohl, a 68-year-old lifelong musician, spent nearly a week in the intensive care unit at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. On his second day, he was placed on a ventilator. And while Pohl couldn't talk with his wife, she received regular updates from his nurse practitioner and doctor.
On Wednesday, he died at the hospital.
"Many of you have reached out and we sincerely appreciate that," bandmate Randy Leggee wrote on the Bourbon Country Facebook page. "It has truly been a joy and privilege to have Warren be a part of Bourbon Country these last 4 years. Our prayers go out to Warren’s family. Please stay home and stay safe."
As of Friday evening, there have been 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in McHenry County and three deaths associated with the illness. Kane County has reported 176 cases and nine deaths, including three cases and a death in Huntley and four confirmed cases in Algonquin.
Pohl retired from Sears Holdings Corporation in Hoffman Estates several years ago.
After that, LuEllyn said, he continued to spend his time on music and also became a renovator in their home. Warren would head to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and come home with something new to fix up some part of their home every time.
But his true passion really was music, dating back to when he got really serious about guitar after high school. One of his college roommates told LuEllyn recently that Warren would stay up nights working on getting better and better.
"It kind of describes how he approached anything," LuEllyn said. "Anything he did, it was to perfection."
Services for Pohl will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Musicians on Call at musiciansoncall.org/chicago.
Bourbon County worked regularly with Musicians on Call, as well as doing benefits for local food pantries and other charities.
"We are grateful to have had Warren as a volunteer and thanks to his volunteer partner, Randy Leggee, they performed for over 300 patients, families and caregivers," Musicians on Call wrote on its page. "His words of hope and healing will inspire us to keep delivering the healing power of music, now more than ever."
When Pohl first became sick, he did several video calls with doctors, but was told he didn't meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test. He hadn't traveled, but he and LuEllyn went into self quarantine regardless.
"For a couple days, he thought he was getting better," LuEllyn said.
A few days later, however, it got worse.
"He could not move after the shower," she said.
That's when they decided he needed to head to the hospital.
When asked about his memory, LuEllyn said that she has been overwhelmed with the support she has received and the many messages and memories that his friends have shared. A recent message that Warren had sent to Musicians on Call, which the group posted on Facebook, stood out.
"And this makes me think of your organization MOC and the motto, 'The healing power of music.' It seems that the motto goes both ways," Warren wrote. "It’s great to be able to put a smile on a face, or a glint in the eye of someone stuck in a hospital ... and better yet, see them lip sync along when we play. But selfishly for me, the feeling of fulfillment I get after brightening someone's day just a bit with a song or two is difficult to describe.
"That's what I meant about the motto going both ways ... great for the patients and the volunteers. I'm honored to be a volunteer for MOC."