ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) — Every positive case is a person – perhaps a father or mother, or sister or brother to someone.
On Monday, one survivor was finally able to hug his family after spending 34 days in Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli was there for the emotional reunion.
Outside the hospital, a display of paperboard sunflowers represents the life of a COVID-19 patient who survived. The latest was Eric Heumann, whom CBS 2 had a chance to meet on Monday afternoon.
Kylie Heumann, 12, had been waiting to give her dad a hug for two months. On Monday, she finally got to do it.
“I felt really good,” Kylie said. “Sixty days is a long time.”
And it was a hug she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to give.
“I was really scared,” Kylie said.
Her dad, Eric Heumann, was in the hospital for 34 days. For half of that time, he was breathing on a ventilator.
So when he was rolled out of the hospital on Monday, it was an answer to the sixth grader’s prayers.
“I’m pretty lucky to be alive. I’m pretty ecstatic about that,” Heumann said.
For Heumann’s mom, Kathy, seeing her oldest boy being wheeled out was the Mother’s Day gift she’d dreamed about.
“All I can say is it’s a celebration for the whole family,” said Kathy Heumann. “He’s a walking miracle.”
“The worst part was when they called us at 2 o’clock in the morning and said his heart had stopped,” said Eric’s father, Manfred Heumann.
And Eric and his brother, Mark Heumann, are laughing together now. But Mark can’t stop thinking about the phone call from his older brother right before he was hooked up to the ventilator.
“He called me and he said if he dies, to take care of his daughter,” Mark Heumann said. “That was one of the roughest moments.” “I’m glad he’s back and he can take care of her himself, because 12-year-olds can be a handful.”
but Eric is ready to be a parent again, thanks to the staffers at Northwest Community Hospital.
“These people are miracle workers. For them to put that much effort into one person is incredible,” Eric Heumann said. “I don’t know how I could possibly ever thank them. They kept me alive and they saved me. I only had a small percentage of a chance to live and they made sure I did.”
Eric Heumann also came out with some strong opinions on social distancing. He said it has nothing to do with the government trying to take control of your life, and it’s really about trying to protect one another from a devastating virus.
He also said you should wear masks, because it could save your life.