WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — A Westfield man has been living in his basement for a week, separated from his wife and children, after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
“He said he felt like his lungs were blowing up, because the cough was so bad. His body was hurting so bad.” That’s how Heather Stephens described her husband Shawn’s bout with COVID-19.
The Westfield couple is sharing their story with coronavirus as they are about halfway through the quarantine period. The family is living apart, yet under the same roof.
Shawn Stephens started feeling sick last Thursday while working from home and has not been able to leave his basement since.
“These are my kids going down into the window well so they can talk to their daddy,” Heather said during a Facebook video.
The boys are 4 and 5 years old and are only able to see their dad through a window to the basement.
“I can’t explain what it feels like to sit there and watch your husband so ill to the point where you have to lift his head to put a pillow under it because he can’t do it himself,” Heather said.
Just last year, Shawn was running into Spartan races. Now, he’s sick to the point where he couldn’t even care for himself.
“I was sitting there chilling and I needed another blanket. I was kind of debating reaching down and grabbing my blanket or reaching for my phone and, finally I just texted her and said, ‘Please come cover me up,'” Shawn said.
It’s a task his wife, Heather, has to take seriously as she and one of her sons have asthma and are immuno-compromised. She wears a mask and gloves just to go see him in the basement.
“I begged and pleaded for him to go to the hospital, because he kept saying he was having a hard time breathing, that it was like just laying in the couch and rolling over. For example, he felt like he had ran up the stairs,” Heather said.
Instead Shawn has battled the illness in his home. The couple is talking openly to make sure people know COVID-19 is real and dangerous.
“You know one person can affect many, who can affect many more. And it’s not about if you are going to get sick or not, it’s whether or not you’re going to affect somebody else who’s going to get really, really sick. And that’s the part that bothers me,” Shawn said.
The Stephens family’s 14-day quarantine period will be up next Thursday. Until then, it’s no one in or out of the house and Shawn doesn’t plan on leaving the basement.