‘A walking miracle’: Mo. man describes battle with COVID-19

Missouri man pushes to spread awareness and severity of COVID-19 after diagnosis

STEELE, Mo. (KAIT) - Following a weeks-long battle with COVID-19, a Steele man says he’s thankful to still be alive.

“You really don’t appreciate your health until sickness comes,” said Randy Stewart.

Stewart says he was in good shape before he got sick. He was healthy and would jog or walk five to seven miles a day. Not once did he think COVID could hit him as hard as it did.

After losing his taste and smell, he immediately went to get tested. On Aug. 28, he joined millions of people across the nation in testing positive for COVID-19.

After 13 straight days with a fever, struggling to breathe and move, he went to an urgent care facility in Kennett.

“They checked my oxygen; they immediately called me an ambulance,” Stewart said. “They said you’re bad.”

He was admitted to the intensive care unit at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital in Jonesboro.

Stewart described his room as “all glass, and you can see them wheel people by one by one.”

He was alone. No visitors. It was a physical and mental battle.

He says in those hard moments all he could think was his daughter, niece, and nephew.

“I was at death’s door. It just happened that quick,” Stewart said.

But, with heavy antibiotics and close care from officials, he was able to return home.

However, he stayed on oxygen for another two weeks.

To those who question the severity of the illness, Stewart has one thing to say:

“It’s very real,” he said. “People, all the time, I see it on social media all day long, and I can’t say I wasn’t one of those months ago questioning the severity, should we be shutting stuff down.”

But, since his stay in the ICU, Stewart has no doubts.

“I have a new appreciation for it,” he said.

After spending more than 30 days out of work and losing 21 pounds, Stewart says life is precious. One lung doctor even told him he should be a spokesperson.

“I was finally able to see my CT scan, the results of that. First of all, it made me tear up. Second of all, he told me I am a walking miracle,” Stewart said. “The problem is with all of us is we think we have more time. And, COVID has proven to me that’s not the case.”

Now, a vaccine is on the horizon. Many are on the fence about it, but not Stewart.

“They could give me two if they could. I cannot explain how I felt when I had that virus. It’s unlike any feeling. I don’t want to ever go through that again,” Stewart said. “Yes, I would take it. Absolutely.”

He says if his story doesn’t get through to those questioning COVID-19, then they will never get it.

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