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Chillicothe family shares story of surviving 45-day COVID-19 battle

After battling COVID-19 for 45 days, Jon Pittman experienced a miracle. He finally got to go home to his 7-year-old son in Chillicothe Tuesday evening.

Posted: Nov 20, 2020 9:05 PM
Updated: Nov 20, 2020 9:05 PM

(CHILLICOTHE, Mo.) After battling COVID-19 for 45 days, Jon Pittman experienced a miracle. He finally got to go home to his 7-year-old son in Chillicothe Tuesday evening.

“My little boy looked out the window and saw me and he comes running. He almost knocked me down and he gives me a hug,” Pittman said.

Among other complications, Jon Pittman had to be intubated for a total of 24 days and spent a week at a Smithville Rehabilitation Center re-learning to walk. When his physical therapist came to him on Friday and said he could go home the first part of next week, Jon Pittman couldn’t believe the good news.

“I said are you kidding me? And they said, ‘No,’ and I started crying.”

Both Jon and his wife Jaime became sick with COVID-19 at the end of September. Jon has a small fever on Wednesday and by the early morning hours Sunday, he was in Hedrick Medical Center. From there he was transferred to Saint Luke’s North Hospital in Kansas City. A day into his stay at the Kansas City hospital he was moved to the ICU where he would spend a total of 35 days.

Jaime Pittman said the journey was full of peaks and valleys.

“We would not be here today, together, sitting on this couch, talking to you if it wasn’t for the miracle that God has given us,” Jaime Pittman said.

Part of the miracle was lots of little miracles performed by the Pittman’s family, friends, nurses, doctors, and church.

The hardest part of the process was at the beginning of Jon’s hospitalization when visitors were not allowed to see him. Jon said it was scary to come in and out of consciousness, not knowing where you were, feeling alone, and only seeing hospital staff in full PPE.

During that time, Jaime said doctors and hospital staff worked to keep her connected to her husband.

“When the nurses took the time to facilitate facetime while he was intubated. Some days he could respond. Some days he couldn’t but that gave me the opportunity as often as possible to tell him that I loved him and to remind him what he was fighting for,” Jaime said.

A St. Luke’s pulmonologist, Dr. Zaid Saad Shakir, also went above his normal duties to make sure Jaime and Jon felt supported.

“He said numerous times to me, I believe he deserves a chance and I’m going to fight with him for his life,” Jaime said.

Once Jamie was allowed to visit Jon, the couple said his condition improved.

“I remember laying there when she came in and I remember looking up and I didn’t have enough strength to do anything but lift my thumb up and I did this,” Jon said as he demonstrated the thumbs-up sign.

Driving roundtrip from Chillicothe to the hospital and back again every day presented a new set of problems.

“Obviously that’s not sustainable when you have a 7-year-old at home,” Jaime said.

But once again, a group of people stepped in to help.

“I made a phone call to my mom and she has been here since that 3rd day,” she said.

For any rides, the Pittman’s son needed to and from school, friends also volunteered to help. Some friends took care of their small family farm, taking over the daily duties. Others cooked meals and grocery shopped. The Pittman’s said they couldn’t be more thankful for the outpouring of support from so many people.

“There were a couple of guys from his work that had taken up a donation for us and said you don’t need anything. If there is anything you need, you tell us, and everybody at Donaldson will make sure you are taken care of,” Jaime Pittman said.

Jaime Pittman said her boss was also phenomenal. She is a nurse and is part of the nursing faculty teaching classes at North Central Missouri College.

“My boss said don’t think about this place, don’t worry about this place, everything will be taken care of. Your family is your priority and taking care of whatever needs to be taken care of with them,” she said.

These dozens and dozens of examples of kindness reaffirmed the Pittman’s faith in God and belief in the power of prayer.

“Our community held a prayer service in our front yard one night and that was a beautiful thing to be a part of and something I will never forget,” Jaime said.

Without the prayers, Facetimes, meals, and love, the Pittman’s said they wouldn’t have survived.

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