That’s how long Harvey Hunt battled COVID-19. He spent 15 days in the hospital, five of them in intensive care. He returned home April 8, 30 pounds lighter and definitely weak.
His faith is stronger than ever.
“I had no idea if I’d survive COVID-19, but I had peace either way,” said Hunt, 57. “And though no one could be with me in quarantine or at the hospital, I was never alone.”
An Army veteran, retired police officer and longtime Southeast Christian Church attendee, Hunt is hardly mystical, but he feels his hospital experience was supernatural.
“God made His presence known. A couple of days were really bad. I literally felt the strength of a hand in mine and a hand on my arm. I believe that was the Holy Spirit,” he said.
Separated from her husband through the battle of his life, Debbie Hunt prayed, sang and cleaned.
Her favorite song became Bethel Music’s “Goodness of God”—
“All my life you have been faithful,
All my life you have been so, so good,
With every breath that I am able,
I will sing of the goodness of God.”
She sang it through the toughest days when she wasn’t sure her husband would survive, and she sings it now as he continues to recover.
The Hunts have seen the goodness of God.
When Hunt finally went home, he settled in a rocker on his front porch as a caravan of 70-plus cars packed with family and friends drove by to wave, cheer and hold up handmade signs.
“I sat there bawling like a baby,” he said. “I’m so grateful for all who prayed for me and cared for Debbie. I think of folks who go through this and don’t know Jesus.”
Hunt still cannot bring himself to watch news reports about COVID-19.
“Nobody talks about the people who survive,” he said. “I think we all need some hope.”
COVID-19 is different than anything the Hunts ever faced.
Hunt said five words to his wife when he left a tile store with a headache March 14: “Baby, stay away from me.”
He seemed to know it was more than a routine headache and fever. He thought it might have been a reaction to a shingles shot he had the day before, but from the beginning, he felt this sickness was “different” and began to self-isolate in the lower level of their home in Simpsonville.
When he was no better by the end of the week, he went to an immediate care center where he tested negative for the flu. A doctor listened to his lungs and sent him home.
As Hunt continued to isolate himself, he just kept saying, “This feels different.” His fever climbed and his breathing became labored. Debbie Hunt drove him to the emergency room. Driving away was one of the hardest things she ever had to do.
Hunt tested negative for the flu and pneumonia, and he was sent home three hours later. Still he continued to decline.
By March 24, Hunt seemed lifeless. Debbie Hunt put on a mask and gloves to take him to the emergency room. There he tested positive for double pneumonia and COVID-19. No one could stay with him in the hospital.
Since they were exposed to the virus, Debbie and son Brennon began a 14-day quarantine.
Two days later, Hunt was moved to the ICU.
During a FaceTime call, Debbie saw patches on her husband’s chest. Nurses told her that his heart rate dropped to the 30s, and they had placed leads in case they needed to shock him back.
Debbie posted online updates and asked people to pray for Harvey, caregivers, doctors, nurses and other families facing COVID-19 at 9:30 p.m. every night.
Restless at home, she prayed and cleaned. Prayed and cleaned.
In the next few days, Hunt began to make progress.
Hunt said the staff at Audubon Hospital was loving and caring. Nurses called Debbie to find out more about their patient—number of children and grandchildren so they could encourage him.
Friends took meals and cards to Debbie and mowed the grass.
“Though I was away from everybody, I was so grateful everyone was taking care of her,” Hunt said.
Hunt continues to recover at home, and he volunteered to participate in a study on antibodies to help others facing COVID-19.