COVID-19 One Family’s Journey – Local Author and Nurse Stephen Hebert

Stephen Hebert – Livingston Parish Author

Stephen Hebert has worn a bunch of hats. Pastor, Author, Nurse Father, and Husband.

In 2020 Stephen Hebert, a charge nurse working in one of the largest COVID units in the state of Louisiana contracted Covid-19. Having been near death several times throughout this journey, his story is now an upcoming book. Jim Chapman of Local Leaders: The Podcast goes deep inside this story with the author and discovers miracles happen every day! a must-watch episode!

Transcript (Beta)

welcome back to local leaders the podcast and today i have a great guest it is an author from right here in livingston parish his name is stephen a bear and he wrote a book called coveted 19 one family’s journey so welcome to the podcast stephen thank you jim i am glad to have you here so for all the listeners out there i want to just kind of uh start off and tell you a little bit of how me and steven met we have a mutual friend who uh stephen had made aware that he he had this story that he had written this is a true story by the way and he didn’t make this up not important to say this is a autobiography uh of his journey with coveted 19 but not only that it’s the the many facts that uh stephen a bear has to go along with with this relative to what he does for a living the experience with his wife and children and some other things that we’re going to touch on we don’t want to get too in depth with it because it’s a story and we want you to read it and but we definitely want to get your uh your taste buds water and i guess or your brain buds or whatever it is that you used to read with your eyebuds and uh and really fire you up for this amazing story so uh we’re just gonna jump into it and before we talk about anything to do with coveted let’s talk a little bit about you prior to covid you have an interesting story uh you’re 48 yes sir all right so you’re still a young guy we’re actually very very close to the same age uh and you married your high school sweetheart yes sir we did all right so she knows you’re pretty good better than i know myself how many children do you have i have three amazing kids uh samantha she’s gonna be 23 in october uh here uh coming up yeah and then i have a son he’s 20. he turned 20. his name’s trent and in april all right we have one our youngest uh our caboose rhett he just turned 19 on september 24th all right so you’ve got a you’ve got three wonderful kids there and uh and the good thing is uh you have some older ones that are that are in in up there in age enough to where they can really grasp what you went what you were going through later on in life and and uh they were mature enough to to understand it and of course be as helpful as they possibly could be in a situation like that now when uh when you were younger uh than you are now uh you wanted to be a vascular surgeon yeah it’s um it’s kind of an interesting story i i was born when i was born i never really um i always wanted to be in the medical field you knew that i knew that from from early on i can’t even remember when it first came to mind i i actually operated on a teddy bear that i was given that on my birthday when in the hospital my grandparents had given me a teddy bear and the the music box in it quit working and uh i wanted to find out what was wrong i was probably five or six years old and i cut it open and got to the box fixed it put it back in and sewed it up with mom’s needle and thread there you go see that’s really early in life to be uh doing surgery there you but it’s amazing that you knew you had a feeling that that’s the field you wanted to go into so early in your life it was it was hardwired in me very interesting and then as we all do you kind of went through uh now stephen wasn’t as always as put together as you the man you see right here like all of us he had that time in life where uh he was uh figuring himself out maybe would be a good a good term for it and um and you this is an important part of this story in that you ended up getting your ged after after uh well i guess you could say after you decided in high school eventually you got your ged right yes sir now one thing that’s important to mention is uh

sometimes teenagers think because they have a ged that’s it right you’re gonna work at mcdonald’s the rest of your life or or um and hey if you want to work at mcdonald’s there’s no shame in that but some people think that well i can’t do anything else and this so um if you have any youngsters around that are in that situation here’s a man that he didn’t think just because he had his ged that he was stuck to a life of of that right he pushed through and uh we just said since he was a youngster he knew he wanted to be in the medical field and so that required a little more education so take me take me to that time so my parents got divorced when i was 16. we had a rocky household during my teenage years but once i got on my own and i did get my ged dropped out when i was a junior in high school and and i really wasn’t doing good i i could have dropped out sooner yeah i might have grown up sooner but right i did i started flipping houses working for a construction company making seven bucks an hour um that’s where i started and about two and a half years into that we were having lunch uh at a uh all you can eat chicken place and it just i just knew it it was time for a change yeah and um that and i and i knew i wanted to be in the medical field knew i wanted to wear scrubs yeah and i i just didn’t know how to go about it but i started in exploring and seeking and investigating yeah yeah and that led you at some point to get your cna that’s what uh yes sir that was my first stepping stone in the medical field yeah the sa in that certified nursing assistant maybe for those that out there that aren’t are not familiar with the the acronym i guess um and eventually and and uh if you’re wondering why we’re fast forwarding a little bit it’s because you know we want you to read the book we can’t tell you everything but a lot of details it’s a lot of detail but eventually uh this led you to our lady of the lake at some point and uh let me tell you this is around the the mid-1990s in arleigh the lake as it is now was a very respectable uh college especially for uh specific fields like nursing uh the radiologic technology those sorts of things and back then i’m i mean x-ray techs i can speak for because my wife is one x-ray tech was a field to go into it was there wasn’t a ton of them and they paid great and so um uh but the interesting thing to that is you graduated in 1997. my wife graduated in 1997 from uh our lady of the lake college also from there eventually you received the certification as an rn first assistant yes that was shortly after that so i just want to plug this in there but in 94 so i was a cna working in the operating room and then yes i saw what a surgical tech did yeah and i and they were in the middle of the surgery and they got to work with the surgeons and uh i was very interested in doing that so i became a surgical tech or uh scrub tech they call it on the field and so i went i enrolled at the lady of the lake college and went into the program in 94 and graduated in 94 and i actually worked as a surgical tech through nursing school wow and then i i immediately went to nursing school because i knew that we were going to need more money you know for our family me and my wife were planning on getting married which we did in 95. yes and um i knew on a budget um she wanted to be a home mom and and so i was going to need a little more money coming in so i i went to nursing school but to point out you’re like your wife x-ray tech um they were still in school yeah that was the longest program that same class that she was in yes i graduated twice before they graduated once and that’s the honesty yeah yes there yeah um and you know one thing i want to ask you is is okay so your wife you’re in a unique position because you and your wife are high school sweethearts so she had was she with you during the time that you uh got your ged or or uh she was so i how supportive was she of you know you doing this you i can’t commend you enough for not giving up on your education right she was she was the driving force sounds like you grew up a little bit there between the time that you dropped out of high school in the time that let’s say you uh went into our lady of the lake there was there was a major like maturity uh situation there i i knew um we were planning a life together and uh i knew i was gonna have to work hard for it yeah and and she was that driving force so a woman saved you she did yeah yeah i can relate very good it’s a beautiful thing um so you uh you know you’re rocking uh steven at this point and i also want to ask you you know it’s a lot of education it’s a lot to learn right to go uh do these things did you was it a struggle for you um or were you someone that was always you know good with the books let’s say you just it was the application that you struggled with i had um created for myself some pretty bad habits in junior high and and that led into high school which just got worse yeah so i did it was difficult and and i i guess what’s unique to my story is that i i took it a step at a time i didn’t jump steps like i didn’t go from just being a high school graduate to getting my bsn you know a four-year degree in nursing yeah i took baby steps it was a more expensive route because uh each program costs money yeah but with the ability to pay student loans and and the ability got better as my income got better to pay them back i i took it a step at a time it took longer and uh but i feel that i learned a lot more and i became more valuable in the market yes yes very good way of putting that and and i hope that some of these young folks that maybe listen to this they you know they listen to that specific part of the story because um uh this is someone who admittedly you know had a time in his life where he was struggling and made his way through and and uh and you had the support of your wife there all the way to to support you and and as i said that’s a beautiful thing now you um you became an rn you received a certification of an oran first assistant after nursing school is that typical or atypical yes it’s typical you actually have to be a practicing nurse in the operating room with certifications in order to get go to the program gotcha okay so you do that and then at some point you landed in hospice and doing some hospice work and tell me about that so 15 years in the operating room pretty much maxed out on any level of being able to go higher or what have you i enjoyed every bit of it i did develop some back problems so standing in one place operating with the surgeons is something i love to do sure um it just it was taxing takes a toll doesn’t it yes sir i mean sometimes 12 to 16 hours in a day standing in one place uh became a little tough and you’re in awkward positions the surgeon can always be comfortable but it’s hard for the assistant they just have to adapt that’s a great point yeah yeah so after uh 15 years in the operating room i actually had was doing some research as well with the vascular surgeons that i was working with and the research actually opened the door for me to get into cancer research and so i did 10 years of cancer research and by doing cancer research i was working with patients that of course became terminally ill and that’s what opened the hospice door that and losing my mom yeah yeah so we lost her in 2012 and i uh that that really uh got me going full-time in hospice yeah and that’s a that’s a um i would imagine a very uh tough field for a lot of people because you’re seeing someone typically with hospice at the end of their life for whatever reason and and uh you have to have a comfort i would imagine about you in order to uh do that and and you definitely have that and uh what a what a what a blessing it is to to have that with you and and you can kind of see these people to the end and and or the end of their life on earth and that’s a beautiful thing yeah what’s what’s amazing is i i learned more from them that i ever would have um taught them myself yeah and working with the families and and uh grieving with them uh preparing them for the death uh the longer time we had on hospice together the the easier it was when their loved one was gone yeah and um it’s it’s when hospice is called in at the last minute uh we don’t have as much time to prepare the family and to um just to prepare the situation yeah to help things just smooth things out you know in that transition absolutely and you told me an interesting story when we met the first time about a someone that had had passed that you had dealt with in hospice and uh he wanted to you know he wanted to die at home as as he put it and and kind of tell me that story yeah he had uh his family had donated uh property to him that was kind of it’s been even here in livingston parish we we have you know roads named uh after grandkids yeah and so forth yeah so um yeah so this but this was in ascension parish and uh he had built his home there and and his kids uh and family part of his family they built next door next door next door on the on the property so their whole road uh i believe was their last name if i’m not mistaken yeah um he did not he wanted to die at home uh that was his home that was uh you know just his comfort zone and and where he wanted to be and uh things got really really complicated at the uh at the end we we didn’t know how long that was going to go on and it was extremely stressful on the family uh he was requiring nursing care pretty much constantly yeah and so we would have had to stay with him uh 24 7 and it it it was just too complicated for the situation and so we were going to transfer him to an inpatient hospice unit so that he could have that adequate care that he needed around the clock and it would also relieve the family from the stress that they were undergoing at that time because they’re not medical professionals and he really needed iv medications and and 24 7 nursing care and so um i hated to do it because he and i have gotten pretty close and and i always tell the patients we’ll do everything we can to honor your wishes but if it comes to that point where we really can’t control your symptoms at the house we may have to move you to an inpatient unit yeah and so in his situation um we did have to put him in an ambulance and he got the last word and he passed away in the driveway wow wow yeah yeah so he was determined yeah and i was actually happy uh for him you know i mean we knew he was dying i didn’t know i figured he had maybe 24 hours at the most you know yeah um but we just brought him right back in the house and put him back in his bed and and uh and we we took care of uh you did what we normally do for a death visit sure wow and so um yeah he did he got what he wanted yes and that’s a beautiful thing so um i just thought that was a great story and and uh something that that these folks would appreciate hearing um now you know eventually you became a charged nurse um which is is uh is a major deal you know for you and uh and that led you to running at some point the largest coveted 19 units one of the largest in this in the state yeah we um i had i actually got a healthcare administration degree a little bit later in in my career and um that just set me up for being in positions uh as an administrator or uh management positions yeah and um and it just so happened that i was working as a charge nurse for i was actually doing agency nursing which is is like travel nursing but i was doing it locally because i didn’t have to leave the state well that’s a nice one yeah i could have left the state but why do that when you could be home every night yeah so i just pretty much worked within the state lines and um their shifts kept popping open over here in denham springs we had a unit that they had turned into a coveted unit and uh they needed uh as much help as they could get and i ended up spending a lot of time over there yeah and now we’re we’re you know listeners we’re kind of getting into the the meat and potatoes of the story and uh there’s a whole story to to stephen but you know prior to covid rearing its ugly head but uh so i want to impress that there’s a several things i skipped over intentionally because they’re really good and you want to read those uh but his story is amazing from start to finish i have read his entire manuscript uh it’s an it’s a an easy read from the fact that he captures your interest the whole time from start to finish and i couldn’t put it down i mean literally read probably half of it in a day and a half and then i shed it to my wife and then i had the baker to give it back to me i said look i got a i got a podcast i got to do give me that thing back so i can so i can uh research and read this thing uh but a great book great book um and and and it’s very important that now we get to the point that uh you know you’re running a coven 19 unit and i want to back up a little bit from that so you were obviously in the medical industry um before kova was coveted i guess you could say before anybody knew what to call it um do you recall like your first kind of experiences with hmm this is a little different than what we’ve seen yes so it’s interesting you asked that i don’t know if i don’t think we’ve spoken about it before but um in january of 2020 i was the i was actually a nurse manager of an inpatient hospice unit in baton rouge and um we i was the ada win for the hospice company and i ran the inpatient unit which i really do like doing inpatient nursing as well inpatient hospice nursing yeah and in january um after just after the new year had turned all of a sudden we started seeing our hospice patients coming in or new admits coming in with a lot of respiratory issues and it’s not uncommon that that happens because that is one of the respiratory distress is one of the main signs that we would normally admit somebody that’s what the fella that passed away in his driveway was having in his home yes was severe respiratory distress he didn’t have covet this was years ago yeah that story but um but that is one of the symptoms that can get very difficult to treat in the house and you have to move somebody to an inpatient unit which we were in the in the process of doing when he passed yeah so this january i noticed an influx of people that were coming in with respiratory distress and um and and that’s again that’s not uncommon during the flu season you know january of course is in the cold months uh what what we call cold here in louisiana yeah and uh you know things were pretty tough but but there was a lot of people that were dealing with increased secretions in the chest difficulty breathing and um you know at the end they would die from that and um and of course their hospice diagnosis as well their terminal diagnosis yeah and um there was one guy in particular uh i saw in the medical records when i was screening him as i was personally admitting him to our unit that they had done a viral panel on him which is very uncommon at least at least it was in my practice you know and so um i noticed that one of the viruses was positive and it said coronavirus and i i mean i’ve been in medicine for 30 years yeah and and i had not i’ve never heard uh that term before yeah and uh i may have heard it uh but it never it never really it wasn’t pronounced or anything made me but this actually sent me to google yeah and i googled coronavirus because i didn’t know what i was dealing with sure and the same individual had uh bladder cancer and um and he was a hospice patient yeah you know um but when i admitted him i i saw that and i looked it up and i didn’t know much about it and it just said it was a common respiratory illness and and actually a lot of other illnesses come from that you know respiratory sars and arts and it can lead to that yes uh and so i learned a little bit about it but i didn’t really blink an eye to it took care of the guy we actually became pretty decent friends and he died a few days later and i was giving him respiratory treatments that we normally would give given in medications iv medications that we would normally give the thing about it is the respiratory treatments are called nebulizers so it’s it creates a mist and a smoke in the air and we don’t do that with covet patients because we don’t want to expose the health care worker yeah to the nebulizers uh or the family or whomever might be visiting and so that was one of the the uh immediate rules that they put in place for covet patients even though it is a good treatment for respiratory distress it was uh contraindicated in covet 19 because of the aerosol spray yeah you know that that’s created and it could have the pathogen in the air interesting so yeah but i didn’t know at the time i didn’t you know and i sat there with him and yeah i mean he did the treatment and we talked and got to know each other and going everywhere yeah more or less so uh it wasn’t much longer about a week later it was on a weekend and i was uh just watching the news before i went to bed and they said the first coronavirus patient identified in one of the i states like indiana idaho illinois something like that uh and and i had the first person that has died that that they had said and i was like coronavirus where’s this coming from and that’s when it all started um i actually went to new orleans they had a big hospice conference in new orleans in march yeah and we were in that conference in the third day i think it was three of three days it was the last day might have been four days but um they came the hotel administration came to talk to our group which was about 200 people and they said i’m sorry y’all we uh have to report to y’all that there was someone in the hotel that tested positive for coronavirus uh they left monday and so our conference had crossed over with this fella yeah stay there at the hospital they just had to report it to us and sure again we didn’t know a whole lot about it but at that point there were one or two patients that had died in the vet hospital from covet 19 at this point and that had just happened that weekend yeah and so next thing you know by the time we left new orleans there were about 17 or 19 people positive that were known positive in the hospital yeah and it pretty much took off from there it went crazy and you know uh it’s interesting um just a little side note that i’ll say and a little story i have on that um since you brought up you know the early stages of it i was actually at a pro show i’ll never forget this in march of 2020 and for the paint business which i was in for 20 plus years um we would do little pro shows where uh we would have a bunch of vendors and we would cook and all those sorts of things and i never forget this um a painter came up to my booth and you know i’m doing my thing and hey you want a t-shirt and all that and i went to shake his hand and he gave me his elbow and i’m like that’s weird so i did that and he says they got a virus going around and i said uh oh you’re talking about that virus that’s overseas he said no it’s it’s here now i ain’t shaking nobody’s hanging here i’ll give you the elbow and that’s what we did and uh i thought he was crazy and i’m like uh you know it was in and out of my head and a week later the whole world shut down sure you know literally including the united states and um i will never forget that though because i remember when he left my booth i thought he’s crazy you know he’s lost his mind smelled too much bank fumes um giving me his elbow and look i remember those early days too and and nobody knew nobody knew um and it was two two weeks to flatten the curve right and everybody’s willing to do that more like yeah we can’t breathe on each other we can’t we gotta stay huddled in the house and it’s all gonna go away and uh and i think everybody kind of was learning at the same time for the most part um but you know you’re right there in it you’re directly in the medical field and so you you kind of see this happening you leave this hotel and and it’s spreading like wildfire even around you um so you get back and what happens in that medical field so um i can imagine the feeling is a lot like when the war uh like world war ii had broke out and and um you know so many people they couldn’t sit still they wanted to serve yeah and um i would imagine the feeling was similar to that but it was like as a health care worker for those who are passionate about what they do we want to get out there and make a difference yes yes and and important to say i’ll just stop you right there because that um it’s a different breed you know it’s kind of like firefighters and and and you know they run to the fire when everybody else is running away same thing with healthcare workers i also uh have a loved one in that field and uh you know when this happened um obviously x-rays stopped and and they said hey you know we need you to stand in front of the hospital and make sure the only people going in there are supposed to be in there and you know it was a horrible time uh to tell someone you can’t come in and see that sonogram you can’t come in and uh we know your husband is sick you have to stay in the car you know and she was one of the people that had to do that but that was her way of helping and she wanted help in any way she could and and uh so you medical uh medical people first responders all of that you stepped up and uh and you did what you always do and let’s take care of all of us that don’t do it and that that deserves a big shout out because um you had to be scared in a way i mean you know you don’t want to catch it either right i can’t say that i i was really scared yeah again the the desire to help is it was overwhelming compared to the fear of getting it wow yeah i mean when you again if you’re passionate about your work you’re especially taking care of other people that’s an interesting insight and and uh because us on the outside would think you would have been um at some point you know you don’t start you start to kind of not feel good right like yeah um i actually had gotten sick after i took care of the fella i told you about a little earlier but we didn’t know again what any of this was in january so i had spent a couple days in bed actually had to cancel an uh annual bow fishing trip that i make in january was awful i know so uh we’d always go down to the coast in leeville and with marshmasters uh in january every year been doing it for almost 20 years yeah except when the weather would go bad or what have you but i i couldn’t get out of bed i didn’t have respiratory symptoms but i had uh two or three days where i i really was knocked the wind was knocked out of me yeah and uh but but i did i got up that monday went back to work and um i i served with our local church here in in um the watson area and and i you know went back to church got back on my feet and then we had the conference in new orleans and that’s when the information started coming out a little stronger and um giving you some just some things to do to protect yourself sure yeah wash your hands for 30 seconds coughing and elbow make sure it’s your ear now baby that kind of thing check your temperature if you if you’re you know over 100 stay home uh 99 you might even want to watch it more often that kind of thing yeah so uh but i did i ended up going and and doing the travel nursing which was local though because i didn’t have to leave the state yeah i started that in april and um and and i just worked constantly yeah i i i kind of have a personal uh balance i i’ve learned the hard way back in the days but yeah um i would work six days and take the seventh one off yeah and that’s what what i did from um april until i got sick yeah in september wow amazing and you saw a lot i’m sure oh yeah yeah yeah um so take me to that that point in september let’s kind of talk about that a little bit so uh being that i was working uh the covid unit and i was i would go to a couple different ones so i was it was never a time that i wasn’t around those patients i would just i would float between them uh but locally in denim the the unit there at sage i um it was very close to the house again very easy for me to get there get home i’d strip at the door and you know do that do the usual thing leave our shoes outside and all that stuff but so when i what had happened is anytime i would have a sniffle i would start monitoring my temperature a little bit better uh if any if i started to feel because i do get seasonal allergies and sometimes have to get on antibiotics and steroids usually three times a year i know that may be odd for some people but it’s been a problem i’ve had since i was a child sure and so um i have my medicine of choice medicine that works for me and it’s very easy fix and it’s it doesn’t set me back too much uh in regards to working and that kind of thing yeah um but but something was different this time but i i i would drive through and get swabbed about every other week or so especially if i had some tickling in my throat or you know something that gave me an idea this isn’t normal yeah but september september 2nd i believe is the day that it happened when i i noticed that i and so this was the only day jim that i broke my rule they were that weak so i didn’t take the seventh day off and i worked 10 days 10 shifts in a row so it was uh wow and and i know there’s a lot of people out there doing that this is just my personal balance sheet that i need and it’s actually biblically yeah uh you know commanded there too for us to to take that seventh day sure so um but anyway i um i started getting sick and a little sicker a little sicker i went and got tested drove through got swabbed my test it took 24 hours to get the results so that friday which i believe was the fifth i got swabbed on the third or the fourth and then on the fifth is when uh that whatever that friday was um that’s when i found out that i was covered negative but i was positive for a rhinovirus which is a common cold basically and so i was a little bit relieved even though i didn’t feel good right so um i took took saturday off spent time in bed and nursing myself take you know doing the vitamin c taking medications uh sunday i worked a half a shift to split some with somebody to help him but um it was monday morning that i woke up and couldn’t taste and couldn’t smell and right then i knew this is on yeah that’s that’s a key signal because um i would imagine there’s a conglomerate of things that you could have had going on that you would not have lost your sense of taste and smell at the same time and i’ve had covet as well and um that you know i i experienced a lot of coughing um and just felt horrible and um but when i knew was when that sense of taste and smell went away and i said oh yeah definitely i woke up yeah they were both completely gone and that had never happened in my life you know i mean yes it’s just weird it is the strangest thing for the people that haven’t experienced it it’s uh you know when you experience it it’s like uh you’re going around smelling everything right well i can’t smell this but what about this and then you know you’re cutting garlic you know whatever you can do to and nothing there’s just no and food tastes like just paper just there’s nothing to it yeah very weird um so you notice that and then what so that that was on monday um and i i still again wasn’t feeling well and i was on some antibiotics and um but at that time we we were holding back on the steroids that i normally would take a bedroll dose pack and we we held that because that’s not good to take if you had coveted in my nurse practitioner wanted to monitor that so yeah we held back on that but by wednesday i had gotten pretty short of breath just getting up and going to the bathroom i’d get winded you know in my from my in my bedroom from our bed to the the toilet and back is not but maybe 15 steps round trip yeah you know yeah and so um when you get winded and you’re someone that’s used to making around you’re used to walking you’re used to being up on your feet and you know you’re getting winded going back and forth to the restroom right you know so you knew i knew i knew okay and i started monitoring my oxygen of course and it was dropping slowly you know normal is 95 and up for somebody who’s healthy and getting around chill and um it was it was dropping it was hovering in the 90s on tuesday and wednesday and then i noticed that it was dropping into the 80s whenever i was going to the breast room or any exertion it would it would get into the 80s and with the 80s comes huffing and puffing shortness of breath that kind of thing yeah and you’re a nurse so the amazing perspective here is he kind of knows what he’s looking for you know you’re you’re um where some people they don’t even know to check their oxygen maybe or they don’t even you kind of you almost had more information than maybe you wanted to have because you knew um oh boy this is uh this is not right i shouldn’t be in the 80s with my oxygen and things like that so at that point uh what did you do i got a hold of my nurse practitioner kind of explained my symptoms uh we hashed it out and talked about it uh i really felt like i needed oxygen in the home i wanted to uh not go to the er if i could avoid it because i you know i knew that that i may just all they’re going to do is maybe give me some oxygen and some dexamethasone which is a type of steroid that was actually working with covid patients at the time that’s why we had held the other one with my sinus problems i was having and so she ended up starting me on the dexamethasone and we got the oxygen at the house and that tended to help my symptoms settle for a few days about 48 to 72 hours yeah and so needless or let’s say um little did i know yeah uh the virus was replicating ex you know super fast um and i my i was developing some severe pneumonia at the time and it’s a good thing i wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if i didn’t have the experience on the coveted units and my past experience before that but mainly working with the covet patients directly you know up to 30 at a time you know we had on the unit there and and um you know just experiencing what each one was going through how we responded to their symptoms and and uh you know who was getting better who wasn’t let’s try something different you know we would do what we could to help get that patient well and get them out of there yeah get them home or get them back to rehab or somewhere where they could get stronger and overcome this and i i knew things were not looking good by friday and i was being hard-headed in a sense i am a you are a male that’s a typical song

but um i also am you know the bread winner for my family with the insurance deductibles these days i my out of pocket i knew if i went to the er i was gonna that you know i would it was gonna cost a lot of money somewhere between four and six thousand dollars and um and you know at that time i didn’t really know if uh the government was going to cover the bill or you know my insurance all i know is i figured i was going to be responsible for my deductibles yes and you’re a nurse and and so you know you can take care of yourself you’re a nurse i was sure trying yeah and uh but but then on by friday i noticed how i was tanking and i i told my wife um i told her three things and i said if if i if i’m not making sense or if i’m breathing really fast or you notice that i turn colors you know blue or pale or what have you and i’m breathing fast check my oxygen if um you know if it’s lower than 90 and i’m just laying in bed and especially if it’s 85 and below i want you to disconnect the concentrator which is the little roll around machine it goes up to five uh five liters you know and so the five liters that’s the max yeah but i said disconnect me from there hook me to a tank and turn it wide open yeah which can get you some in some cases 10 to 15 liters yeah of oxygen and call 9-1-1 yeah and that’s what she did yeah on september 12th the morning of september 12th um it was bad yeah yeah and i i actually thought i was dying i and i actually knew i was dying uh and and i was laying my bed there and like you had brought up the hospice account earlier this was not a hospice situation yeah they were not prepared my wife and my children were not prepared for all of this to happen for me to pass away right there in my bed so you’re at that point in at this point you’re at this point in um and i guess you could say your covet journey and you still think of your wife and kids right oh yeah amazing and i i was my prayer was lord let me make it to the ambulance yeah you’re not worried about you no that’s amazing i was dying yeah and i didn’t i wanted them to see that let me get out of the house and normally i would want to pass the wheels yeah in in the house i would want to pass away if i was a hospice patient terminally ill and we’re expecting it and we’re preparing for it i would want to be at home but you knew your family couldn’t handle that no they didn’t want them to have to handle that they didn’t wake up that saturday morning expecting any of this to happen wow man that’s real stuff right there because uh not many people or any not many people are in a situation where they kind of know this could be it and that’s you know you know the thought that ran through your mind what an unselfish thought um for you to have now um you go you go to the hospital and we’ll skip forward a little bit um and i do want to mention one thing with steven’s book that you’re really going to enjoy is that a lot of this journey was chronicled not only through his eyes but also through the eyes of family friends loved ones it’s an amazing part of this book because he literally has uh the facebook post and and it’s neat how you did it with uh it’s almost like screenshots that that uh you can sit there and follow along as he’s going through this journey how long were you in the hospital total the first time and i’ll we’ll tell you why we’re saying the first time but the total was 29 days 29 days between the first and second times correct now we’re going to skip forward a little and i want to go to the the first time i guess you could say because stephen was in in the hospital twice um but there was a time the first time around where um where you had a really important date actually it was two dates that were very important to you in your mind i’m going to do whatever i have to do to get out of here get get healthy get home so that um i can see my my son for his birthday and my wife for her anniversary or your y’all’s anniversary correct yes sir so uh we had the ambulance ride that 9-1-1 call occurred on september 12th the morning of september 12th i spent roughly two weeks in icu and the doctors i told him especially my critical care doctor the main one that was taking care of me i said doc my 25 year anniversary is coming up on september 23rd help me get home for that day yes and my the very next day our youngest son rhett his birthday was the 24th she actually went into labor with rhett on our anniversary but had him after midnight which he has the next day uh that was his 18th birthday which again was a incredible milestone in his life absolutely you know 25 years of marriage and 18 as your 18 years of your son you know reaching adulthood i really wanted to be home for that hard hard to come up with better milestones in life than most do right yes sir yeah and so uh we we i did did the best that i could on my end and the doctor really he knew how passionate i was about trying to get home and we talked through it we worked through it um they adjusted my medications did what we could and i promised him i i said look if anything happens i’ll be right back yeah you can guarantee it yeah yeah uh were you ever on a vent the first time around no i was on what they call a vapor therm and it it shoots high pressure oxygen that’s humidified and it’s warm and they can really boost your oxygen levels with it yeah i enjoyed that it helped me breathe it took a lot of the stress off of me and then they would flip back and forth between the vapor therm and what’s called a bipap and a bipap is a mask that’s forcefully pushing air into you but it’s at a very high pressure and so it’s i didn’t like the bipap that much because your cheeks were pushed out like a chick monk because the air was constantly pushing yes and and when you breathe in it would like it almost created a hiccup or a gulp type feeling and i just i i was very uncomfortable wearing it sure and so i spent more time uh convincing the nurses to please let me stay on the vapor therm yeah even though the dock’s like he really needs to get on the bike so um but anyway i went back and forth on on those two for the entire visit and then as we were shooting to try to get me home for the 23rd on our anniversary um we we were able to trickle down to a nasal cannula which is what i had at home yes and so uh i did okay on it as long as i didn’t move yeah if i even turned as long as you didn’t move if i turned over in the bed my oxygen would go from 90 to you know 70s yeah any exertion yeah i’d breathed about you know 10 or 15 times catch my breath and i’d be okay and smiling again yeah yeah but eventually you made it right you made it out i made it out um i was happy to get home they i actually they let me out around noon on my anniversary and so uh we had a good meal that night as a family very good and um that was such a blessing and i thoroughly enjoyed it and my family tells me even better than i knew that they could tell i was started doing bad by then we we worked through the night i slept fine or at least i felt like i did the next day rat’s birthday we had dinner again and they knew they were even my wife was even questioning why did he come home he really needs to be in the hospital yeah and they saw it more than i did sure in my heart i was where i wanted to be that’s right so you’re trying you know you’re doing everything you can oh everything’s fine you know feeling better every second and and in reality that wasn’t maybe the case but um but you’re you know you’re a determined man um it would be a good time to mention that you know there’s really two two sides to stephen so there are stories so there’s his covid and and that in and of itself is a huge story but there’s also his uh faith which um we haven’t mentioned a whole lot of yet um so this would be a good time to mention that you’re very a very uh i guess god-fearing person and and uh and very strong in your faith have you been strong in your faith your whole life or is this something that came uh later on after you got married you’ve really got this relationship with god that that uh you know tell me take me through that a little bit he’s been there my parents raised us in the church we were we were in the pew on sunday and and i can’t thank them enough for for getting us uh there every sunday and that that has given me a foundation that has always been there for me yes even through thick and thin absolutely so even dropping out of high school getting in trouble back in those days and and all of the different things that were was occurring god was always there i can’t say that i cared for religion too much during that time or let’s say organized religion it was more of my relationship with him i knew he was a prayer way anytime that’s right 24 7. you know and so um my faith grew day after day i mean just like all of our we all grow we’re either getting closer to god or we’re getting further away as yeah sun rises and sets each day yes by the time i at this point you know there’s some stories in the book that you’ll read it’s interesting how he had me put it together because i give all the credit to him he guided this entire process and i have some testimony that i share in the beginning so that the reader can understand me get to know me before we jump right into the nuts and bolts of the journaling through the covid but yes yeah absolutely and you know in particular there was a story about a motorcycle accident that i don’t want to tell yes sir on this show but i will say there was it was a very eye-opening um story that you had wrote regarding a motorcycle accident that you experienced and so when you get the book um you’ll know exactly what i’m talking about with that but you gotta read it it’s it’s fantastic um and now you know to this day you’re a pastor you’re you’re a pastor shout out your church i am one of the associate pastors and the pastoral care minister at live oak church in watson there we go yeah live oak church we know we’re all familiar with live at church in in the live oak area and good people over there in that area of the of the world for sure um and that you know you also do some things that i think are worth mentioning with uh grieving grief support grief support group yeah we offer grief support to the community we have a free counseling center there that’s open to the community it’s works off of donation and um people come from all walks of life in the community and they come and and and seek help for counseling it could be mental health issues just needing pastoral care for problems uh death in the family and so because of hospice and because of my experience in that regard uh that was just one of the areas that that i specialize in and that’s a beautiful way so we offer brief support a couple of times a month and um that’s that’s that meeting is is available for anybody to come in yes and um and then we do one-on-one grief support as well okay and and no better time for that than right now in the world for sure absolutely um so let is so now we’re back to uh your cova journey and and uh you’re home and and your family can tell something’s you know not right your wife is starting to think i don’t know if he should have came home right um and then it got really bad yeah so uh the night of my son’s birthday i thought things went pretty well they all for the ever i’m totally outnumbered here yeah i said no dad you were not doing good yeah and um i went to bed and the next morning i i probably had a really rough night according to my wife i believe i did and then the next morning um i for me it was a blackout wow and it’s it’s uh i don’t know if this is the right term but it’s on you know yeah it’s time to go back and uh and so this is where it gets really serious with you and your condition um and they induce you into a coma so i’m just backing up to the actual spot uh stephanie my wife checked my oxygen it had dropped into the 40s and um and obviously there there were a lot of symptoms that she noticed immediately uh she did what i had told her before that saved me the first time you know checked my oxygen took me from the concentrator to the tank turned it wide open called 9-1-1 good woman under pressure oh yeah yeah yeah um and so anyway they came and and moved me from my bed to the the stretcher brought me to the hospital i don’t recall the ride or any of that that’s why i say the lights were out blackout yes and um i woke up in the icu so that was the 25th of september the day after rhett’s birthday and uh i woke up in icu on the morning of the 26th when they had me on bipap to breathe that’s the one i told you i didn’t like earlier but um yeah chipmunk city yeah um i they the doctor was there present at my bedside and so was my nurse and we did a facetime visit with stephanie and uh the doctor wanted me to tell her that i was going uh that i was agreeing to go on the ventilator and so we made that call and um i told her i said babe i’ve decided to allow them to go on the ventilator and i had told her before i didn’t want to ever go on one until covet has arrived now i know the ventilator is your best chance um to survive and and so just backing up a small bit uh the doctor actually gave me two options he said we can medicate you and keep you comfortable as you pass or we can try the ventilator

i mean you know there sounds like one option to me yeah so it was hospice basically yeah palliative care or we can try the ventilator yeah and i said i in this case and they already knew because she had said it my previous admission that i really didn’t want to ever be put on life support you know if i’m that dire uh let me go and and be with the lord you know and that was just something we had talked about before but covet is a different animal totally yeah so uh of course i went with option two and he said we need to facetime your wife so she doesn’t yeah she he didn’t say so she doesn’t think cut this part out yeah yeah so um i went with option two and we facetimed my wife and we had this conversation and yeah and i had told her i said babe i want to let them put me on the ventilator and she said you do what you have to do to get better so you can come home love it love it and uh you know it’s interesting that to tell you um the i guess the where science had come from one point to another with covet i guess you could say um there was a point where i i fully admit and that i thought the ventilator was the wrong way to go because i felt like um man every time somebody gets on a ventilator they die maybe it’s because your body is not kind of fighting for itself at that point you’re having a crutch involved and maybe your body’s kind of giving up on itself for lack of a better term because something else is breeding for you and and uh so i was of the attitude i was like don’t put me on a vent because once i go on that then it’s over with um but as things have progressed you know it saved your life right absolutely i would not be here talking to you and that’s one of the biggest misconceptions that i’ve been trying to clear up for the last year at least where my area of influence is yes and certainly more educated than me on in most facebook people on that subject you know is it number one just from cheer education you’re a nurse number two you’ve been through it and so i’m gonna i’m gonna believe you i’m gonna believe you over my opinion yeah that you know i’ve had people come for grief counseling that come to the grief support group and they’re like you know they regret and they beat themselves up for putting their loved one on the ventilator and then they died and i’m like no no you they if you wouldn’t have put them on the vent they would have died sooner yeah the vent was the last option that’s right and it gives the patient a fighting chance to rest the lungs let them control the gases of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchanging let them inflate the lungs more than you would have breathed on your own because we’re half step in our breathing when we’re when we have pneumonia or we’re have having respiratory distress we’re not breathing our full breath the vent helps expand the lungs you know to a capacity that’s specific settings that that allows you to recover day by day and as they’re trying to wash the virus out of your body and and get you to a point where you’ll be able to live on your own yeah i know i’m a walking miracle i i know the lord has saved me maybe for this very purpose uh to be able to talk to people about um you know uh that their loved one was not alone if they died that the lord was there with them it was with me the entire time yes without a doubt yes and uh the ventilator is not what killed your loved one if they did pass it’s coveted 19 that did steven say you’re on that vent um this time you had you’d reach out to your uh to your wife and and uh you know she says do whatever you do got to do to get better and get home you get on the vent and when they put you on that vent as it automatic that you that’s a coma related situation correct any time you go on an event for anybody uh in most cases okay okay so um they sedate you they they make sure that you’re comfortable and usually give you something for memory block so yeah you know you you don’t recollect a lot of things yeah yeah interesting and um how long were you on the event would be my first question so i went on the vent on september 26 that that morning after that facetime visit with my wife and um which wasn’t really a visit it was just the doctor there and the nurse there wanting as witnesses wanting me to tell her that i was giving them permission to put me on yes and so once i they sedated me and and uh off i went it was blackout number two there yeah so um i was on the vent for a total of eight days yeah and um here’s the part i struggled with because i’m like i don’t want to tell too much of this because it’s something really people need to read and see um uh it involves lions and uh and though and how close do you think or do you know that you were to actual death would you say the first time in my home mm-hmm when she called 9-1-1 if she would not have done that i would have died on on the 12th of september yes that is without a doubt i would have i would have died yes uh and then in the hospital when i got there i almost died and that’s a story in itself it’s not in the book but that’s that’s a story uh yeah but but basically i was not in a good place i i had uh covert related negative symptoms in that first admit where you get rapid atrial fib with with uh rapid ventricular response and my heart rate got into the 160s 180s wow it lasted you’re running marathons yeah and that went on for a few days before they could convert it and that was the worst time of this entire event next to recovering but um so that was another time that i i was very close to death and i knew how serious it was uh even again you know once again i knew how close uh how serious that moment was and then the 25th with the blackout and my oxygen dropping to 40 percent again that was number three multiple times while i was on the vent i mean i i say four or five times uh but it was clearly at minimum four or five times yeah it was a fight yeah it was a fight and um you had a vision yeah so at some point um i knew that what was interesting and i i want the readers to read it too yeah you know i’m not sure why that scenario the lord picked uh with the lions i i’m not sure i i did study daniel right before uh i had gotten sick i was reading in daniel yeah and so that could play some part in it um and you know i uh there there’s just multiple things that i’ve i always try to analyze that and during my recovery at home i was trying to piece the puzzle together i wanted to know i wanted to know my story so i could tell my story yes and very well and i had a lot of black areas there or shady foggy areas where i i had my medical records it was about two or three inches thick 300 pages i had 40 pages of facebook uh posts that i had copied and pasted into a word document just so i could kind of sequence of events because those are dated and it’s time stamped yeah they’re awesome so yeah so and then i have my medical records which are dated and time stamped and then i had my little bit of journaling i did when i was sick but more journaling that i did as i started to i had a lot of time on my hands yeah you know you weren’t doing much else not when i was recovering yeah you know it was just eating and sleeping and and doing some writing yeah and so forth and so when i put those three together and what recollection i had and then the reflection of my family my wife especially my kids my uh my friends yeah um it it really laid out i had more revelation at my dinner table two or three weeks after i got out of the hospital than i did the whole time i had no idea what god had done yeah and a lot of times we look back at our life you know 10 15 years ago and we’re like wow lord i can’t believe you did that and um i mean i do that all the time i really do yeah yeah but at that dinner table when i was recovering my oxygen in the kitchen i’m sitting there with my laptop i’m just trying to review my medical records look at all of the support that my family had look at my wife coming out of her shell and and really driving um you know these daily posts and letting everybody know what to pray for and um and just hear just looking at all the comments and the responses of my friends and my loved ones and people in the community people in the church that i was serving people the churches that i serve prior you know it was just the most amazing experience and i shed so many happy tears during that time i bet you did and you know probably undeserving of so much love and and and and people just you know fighting for you with with their prayers and and things like that those are um uh humbling to say the least probably absolutely yeah and uh so we won’t say a whole lot about this vision but but i will tell you um whoever did the artist rendition of it did a fabulous job um that was one of the things that stood out to me the vision itself is amazing and uh and we’re not gonna tell you a whole lot about it you’re gonna have to read the book what i would like to say though is because of the vision because of uh what was happening i could not pinpoint the day yeah you know i believe that it was happening towards the end of the week where the doctors were giving my wife uh not not good news but not bad news yeah nothing encouraging basically it’s a great way to put it yeah and um there was just really there was a day or two she didn’t get a call because it was the same information he’s you know the vents doing all the work yeah and so it did that for about three days and so i would believe that it was somewhere in that eight day period towards the end is about when this happened because i came out of the of of the situation the vision i actually came out of it knowing everything was going to be fine yeah i knew i was going to be okay and i i was laying there on a ventilator waking up on a ventilator yeah it couldn’t even stand up if i wanted to i mean i had zero strength but i was gonna be fine i already knew wrap your minds around that and it wasn’t because of you had a comfort every year oh it was at that point no doubt and that’s amazing um just the blessing the best blessing in the entire world my entire life came from that revelation that occurred at my dinner table then when i woke up i remember what happened when i was waking up and then my wife was on the edge of a cliff looking saying we’re going to lose him she didn’t come out and say that but she was it was about all about her being that she was not okay yeah people were asking are you okay are you all okay everybody asks that because you don’t care yes and she’s like yeah we’re okay and then she says in this big long drawn out facebook post why did i say that yeah we’re not okay yeah and then she lists all these reasons why they’re not okay yeah and i knew i was gonna be okay yeah so when those two uh pass cross uh it was really the sweetest thing that god’s ever done in our lives blessing yeah so um here’s a question i have for you after reading this and we haven’t just pre-discussed this but um vancomycin which is an antibiotic um when at what point did you get put on vancomycin that was um the first hospitalization so um so what happens with covid is that it brings of course the inflammation the swelling your lungs on the inside the inner lining they swell with inflammation fluid comes to the scene the fluid is there and dormant or what have you and and then bacteria begin to grow in there uh fluid and in the lung tissue so not only do you have viral pneumonia eventually it leads into bacterial pneumonia have a mix and so i remember the emergency room doctor when they i came in on the 12th they immediately rushed me through the ct machine and the er doctor said you’re you’re covered with mixed viral and bacterial pneumonia and um you know we’re going to put you in icu we’re probably going to have to put you on a ventilator and this was the first round yeah and so which that didn’t ended up happening the first time but right he did warn me that that was a very strong possibility and so they not only did they give me the rim desevere which was pretty much the only drug that i had available to me at that time for specifically for covid i went on a clinical trial and i got a another medication that’s supposed to help with the inflammation of the lungs i mentioned that in the story yeah and um and they also put me on multiple antibiotics which included the vancomycin yeah and um vanc vancomycin is a pretty strong yes antibiotic probably one of the if not the strongest one of the definitely one of the top strongest and i’ll tell you my experience with it and then i’ll see if you have the same so i had um a long story short we used to have prior to the flood a camper with like slides in it and everything 40 feet big camper we go on family camping trips loved it um so every spring i would get out there and wash it right because it would get moldy and stuff during the winter time and um at that time of my life which this has went away completely strangely but i used to have a little psoriasis patch on my knee and it would itch all the time and i could recall this like it was yesterday i’d go out there wash that camper and um and you know the whole time i mentioned my knee and stuff and uh back then i ran i ran a little bit and i me and my wife went running and um and i got home and the next day i went to step out of bed and my knee was killing me and i’m like i wonder if i did something when i was running well when i looked down my knee was swollen and i’m like oh that ain’t good so i went to take another step and i couldn’t hardly walk and i told him my wife was getting the kids ready for school and i said uh i gotta get the doctor and she said what’s wrong and i and i said my my knee and she come in there and looked and she’s like oh and she okay um you know we got mother-in-law to bring the kids to school and we went to the um urgent care and they checked it out and they said you need to get a specialist right away they sent me to baton rouge orthopedic and i had a great orthopedist there by the time this was about a three hour time period by the time i had left the urgent care and got to the ortho and got in there and everything i had lines running all up my legs i mean must have been 10 of them big lines my knee was this big and i remember we were waiting to get a room and i was freezing freezing and i don’t i’m warm natured as it is my wife had four blankets on me and was holding me like this and i could not quit shaking didn’t know what was going on couldn’t stop shaking couldn’t stop the tremors and and i’m sitting there and in your mind your my mind was fine so i’m thinking okay i need to control this i mean you know uh it’s not even cold and eventually we get in there uh the orthopedist gets in there and he says we need to get you in the lake like right away you got a problem you’ve got a staph infection and something has gotten in your knee and your body don’t like it and we need to get you in there they did and it was three days of struggle right they were giving me everything and these lines were getting worse and worse and i’ll never forget this the uh the doctor came in and he said jim i gotta i gotta tell you something if this does not go away by the more i’m going to cut your leg off and i said what and he said and my kids are right there my wife’s right there and i’m you know that’s a process you got to process that in your brain and i’m like did you just say you got he said i’m going to give you something called vancomycin and he said we’re going to give it to you through an iv and it’d be like a bag or whatever and we’re going to continually give it to you throughout the night and if i come in here tomorrow i’m gonna have to probably uh cut your leg off to keep you alive because this infection is about to get kill you and um you know what do you do you pray right the first go-round with that bank my lips chapped like you would not believe and i remember thinking this thing is strong it it’s almost like it was drying my body out um obviously i still have both legs the next day and i’ll always believe this was a miracle a god-given miracle the next day the doctor walked in and they pulled that thing off and i had no lines completely gone amen uh and i think he was as related as i was because that was the last thing that man wanted to do and i told him they then i said thank you for doing that and and uh really knowing giving me that one more day right because um that was a call he had to make because i could have died that night um is this gonna work is it not gonna work but he told me he told me he said that was a last resort that’s a tough antibiotic and i’ll tell you how tough it was for two years after that if i went out in the sun for more than 15 minutes i would almost get sick like almost to the point of puking um it affected my body afterwards in 90 different ways that were totally different than i was before now i did recover eventually but things like cutting the grass which i could do in one pop i would have to take many breaks to cut the grass things like that and over time it would get a little better and better but that is a strong antibiotic and the reason i brought that up is i i am curious if you ever had if you’ve noticed anything and i’m sure it’s related in your case it’s probably related to a ton of different things but uh vancomycin when you get on that that’s uh that’s when you know even doctors know that you don’t just give that for anything you know it’s got to be pretty serious right definitely um and in your case uh it it saved your life with that yes saved your leg but it also saved your life absolutely um i blame everything on covid yeah

i say vancomycin was my friend yeah yeah we we’re buddies yeah yeah so i i blame everything on kobe yeah it’s like i have a hair out of place it’s because it’s got to be yeah i mean it it’s just awful yeah it’s a year ago right now i was on the vet yeah it’s amazing yeah i’m right in the middle of uh where i was because i came off the vent on the third of october yeah so i was i was probably very close if not uh in the middle of that vision right now yeah amazing so uh but yeah vancomycin is a very potent serious drug and they give it in in the worst of cases and you know yeah we can sometimes have side effects from the treatment it’s like a lot of cancer patients getting chemo and radiation um these treatments are very uh toxic to the body uh at times and that’s why it has to be done a very special way and um but they’re better than the alternative right exactly and in my case uh for sure i mean uh i’m it’s my friend too but i i did find it interesting how um how the side effects were so much after and look i researched that drug to you would have thought i was a doctor as much as i was googling on that after because i would notice these things that just were different with me and over time i did uh manage to get back to somewhat normal and and as normal as i can be but um but wow and then when i read your book and i saw that you had also been on it i’m like i know that one uh interesting yeah it took care of the bacterial part of the pneumonia for sure yeah you know the lord had his hand in it the whole time but uh it you know it was it was definitely needed in the situation along with multiple other drugs and again they were throwing anything they could at that time we didn’t have a lot of the medicines that we have this this year yeah or the knowledge really of the disease yeah and we’re learning they were learning uh even on me they were learning yeah at the time yeah exactly and uh so obviously you’re still here so at some point uh you you made it through and and the readers will enjoy uh immensely reading about that journey you you got home and you still you know your side effects are pretty bad right with uh i guess you’d call them side effects or your recovery time maybe would be a better word still kind of struggling with some things with that yet um nothing like where i was yesterday and i’m so grateful i mean absolutely even um you know the they’re subtle and again i do blame everything on covid that sure i have an ill feeling or whatever uh but and that’s just kind of fun uh joke with the family you know but uh you have to have that too yeah and they they were just as traumatized as as i was and uh that’s why this is a you know one family’s journey not just steven’s journey mm-hmm um

you know we still uh it’s it’s just it’s a somber feeling even right now being this is the first year uh the anniversary that i was on the vent during this time it’s it’s a somber feeling this week at our house sure we’re very thankful uh thanksgiving last year was uh celebrated in a very mighty way because we it was the best thanksgiving i think we ever had yeah i went home on the 11th of october and um i was on oxygen i was in a wheelchair for about four weeks

and i had physical i’d they offered for me to go to rehab and after being in the hospital for a month and away from my family i really wanted to be with my family and so 100 understand that i i elected to to be at home with um my family and have therapy come to my house so i had a awesome therapist megan and i mentioned her in the book and um we have a picture in there of us yes incidentally i’m glad you brought that there are a lot of pictures of people throughout his journey your friends that will bring you smoothies and and uh all of those things so you’ll be able to see all of that as well um he had a lot of visitors during his time through this journey you um this is a book that i actually had to pay more to the publisher for the initial down payment because i had so many pictures yeah most books only have a couple yeah one or two and i had over 20 so um and i hope that that uh helps the reader you know feel the story see what i was seeing um i think it did yeah in my case for sure and i do you know i do take pictures of i had them taking pictures of me i would give my phone to the nurses and say take a picture you know for me i don’t why i guess i was going to document it at some point the lord just put it on my heart and i’m so grateful that those pictures were taken yeah and you know you’re not only a patient at that point you’re also a colleague and you know there’s an interesting uh story in there that we we won’t tell but uh just kind of a little uh piece of it is um you know you’re a nurse right and and you said in the book one of the things i found interesting was you said you know sometimes nurses can make for the worst patients because you know you almost know too much about someone else’s job and and uh but you had experience with some great nurses you had some experiences with some that weren’t so great that uh you highlight in there because like anything else i mean there’s highly skilled and less skilled and and all of those sorts of things so i found it interesting to read about those uh something else you can look forward to in the book um so

the obvious question when when um when and i know you can’t give hard dates but when can people look forward to getting their either their hands on the book is it going to be available as a download how is that going to work yes so uh the the book is finished the interior of the book is done right now it’s they’re finishing uh polishing up the cover uh we already have the isbn number the barcode everything that you need so i haven’t got a hard date from the publisher but it should be within the next few weeks fantastic so plenty of time for christmas look this would be a great christmas gift for somebody that was the first thing i thought of whether it’s a friend whether it’s someone that struggled with coveted themselves or had had someone close to them maybe pass away you know everybody will find interest in this maybe even you’re blessed and you’ve never had government never had to deal with kobe you don’t know anyone that’s had it uh whatever um you’re still gonna find interest in this book it’s just a great book and i really look forward to people getting out there hearing it and stuff like that now will it be at some point do you foresee a kindle version of this book for example um yeah right out the door right out the door very good it’ll be paperback hardback if you wanted it and then um electronic copies you can download the e-copies yeah it’ll be on amazon barnes and noble’s apple stores uh pretty much everywhere pretty much everywhere and you know i’m uh i’m i’m a physical book guy personally but my wife is a kindle person so um so there’ll be something in there for everybody what about an audio version we’re going to be working on that fantastic i’ll actually talk with you about renting the booth here that might be why i bought and brought that up i’d love to originally actually i’ve had uh multiple people ask and and they you know they said it would be so great if it was my voice me telling my story so if i can just talk my wife into doing her part uh she did you know i did include there’s a chapter of reflections yeah you mentioned that’s right so i have her starting it off and some friends and some family and i if i can talk them into doing it i’d like their voices to be heard for those particular parts i would i think it’s a great idea and i’ll tell you um personally this is just my personal take but i love listening to audio books that are read by the author um when it’s read by somebody else sometimes they’re great uh but it seems less authentic to me i don’t know why um maybe you know i don’t know how many people out there have that same feeling but uh definitely a market for audio books i mean um i you know i’ve been just kind of asking around getting a feel and people are like oh yeah i don’t do nothing but less until now you know life’s fast-paced and not everybody has although you need to take some time to reflect sit down do something for yourself unplug read a book those sorts of things a lot of people just don’t feel like they have that time and they feel like hey that’s a great thing i can plug in when i’m sitting in traffic and on the way to work and i can lay and there’s something to be said for that too so uh but still take take that seventh day off as steven would tell you uh because the good lord has that’s right it commanded yes absolutely that’s right and and and that’s all that’s for the our greater health both spiritually and mentally and physically too yeah you know i set a goal for this year and one of my goals was i want to get better spiritually physically and mentally so in all three aspects i think if you get if you you know the struggle for everybody is finding balance right absolutely that is a fight especially when you’re driven uh because it’s it’s not out of malice it’s just out of sheer drive driven people are blessed with that drive but but it can also be a curse because it takes you away from other things in your life that need attention like your faith or your family or you know all of those sorts of things that drives hard to fight because you’re trying to share yourself in nine different directions so uh i think that’s why that that seventh day is there and and uh and why it’s so important that we take advantage of that so that’s something that i definitely need to work on too and i will this year hopefully i’ll get a little better on all three of those stephen yes sir me too thank you very much for coming on your story is amazing um hopefully we didn’t give away too much of it just enough to make you want to go out there and read that book and get more information i’m telling you the vision uh division part of this book is uh amazing i can see it in my in my head right now so go out there check it out i will keep everybody posted look on my facebook and stuff and you know stephen’s going to communicate with me the second this thing’s available and i’m going to really push it out there to all you viewers and listeners and uh and you’ll know i’ll link it uh to my post and you can go get it it’ll be ready for you um i want to thank everyone out there for listening and watching local leaders the podcast we’re absolutely blessed to have every one of you uh you know support us all day long and all night long and i also want to mention we will find out actually probably by the time that uh this airs it will be already announced but it is wednesday right now um and the 29th of september and tomorrow we find out if we are a people’s choice winner for best business podcast in the world from people’s choice we’re in the top ten we will find that out tomorrow i will be watching with uh my brother uh from another mother i guess you could say woody overton of real life real crime the podcast who is up with for four of those so we’re gonna have a little get together with each other and just kick back and watch with our families and and uh and i want to thank everyone out there i’m already a winner believe me all of you went out there and voted and i and i already i’ve already won in my mind but it would be it would be great if uh if if that ends up coming to fruition uh thank you so much to our sponsors we could do none of this without all of you and until next time i’m jim chapman reminding you to love your community support local business and keep leading thank you very much thank you stephen thank you

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