‘I could barely breathe’: Chicago woman shares COVID-19 story from hospital bed


CHICAGO — A Chicago woman without pre-existing conditions is sharing her story after COVID-19 put her in the hospital.

Still hooked up to oxygen, Stephanie Dunlap, 42, spoke with WGN Saturday after she was admitted to the hospital on March 25.

“I could barely move, I could barely walk,” said Dunlap. “I could barely breathe.”

She said coming down with COVID-19 has been one of the worst experiences of her life.

“I have never not been able to breathe on my own and that`s the scariest feeling in the world,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap believed she was infected during a trip to Detroit with girlfriends on the weekend of March 15. 

She said her friends and several others on the trip have also come down with COVID-19. 

Before being officially diagnosed, Dunlap said she visited two clinics. One sent her home because she didn’t have a cough. The other gave her Tamiflu for her fever, chills and body aches and sent her home. But she continued to get worse.

“As I stood in the shower, I felt myself getting ready to fall, so I wrapped in a towel and I went to sleep at the foot of my bed and by the time I woke up I was so winded,” Dunlap said. I told my husband it was time to take me to the ER.”

She was admitted, diagnosed with pneumonia and put in an intensive care unit. Then came the official COVID-19 diagnosis.

Saturday was the first day she was able to walk a little on her own.

At 42, with no pre-existing conditions, she has a message for those who don’t think it can happen to them.

“Take it serious, stop going out, quarantine yourself,” Dunlap said. “I’m going to continue to trust God that one day this thing will clear up, but right now it’s really real and it’s out here.”

Illinois topped 10,000 cases in the state on Saturday.


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