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Dana Hindman shares a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with her boyfriend Jeff Harvey.
“We love it,” said Hindman. “It’s a great location. It’s in the heart of South Boston.”
But when Hindman tested positive for COVID-19 in late March, the couple’s living arrangements presented some challenges. If you’re sick with the coronavirus or think you might be, the CDC recommends that you remain home, “stay in a specific room” and “separate yourself from other people.”
Still, Hindman and Harvey stayed together in their 900-square foot apartment. They didn’t really have an alternative. Besides, Harvey never thought of going anywhere else or even trying to somehow separate from Hindman.
“I don't think it would've made sense with the way our apartment is,” said Harvey. “And I wouldn't want to leave her alone here when she's going through that.”
Living with Hindman, Harvey had prolonged exposure to the virus. He figures he was probably positive, but asymptomatic.
But Hindman struggled with many of the familiar COVID-19 symptoms—shortness of breath, body aches, and more.
“It was really scary. It felt like nothing I'd ever felt before."Dana Hindman
“I had pretty severe chest pain that was pretty debilitating,” said Hindman. “It was really scary. It felt like nothing I'd ever felt before. And then this nasty cough that was really debilitating and uncomfortable.”
Hindman described her symptoms as “mild.” But then she mentioned that the chest pain wrapped around her body from back to front and felt like a constant weight on her lungs. There were too many sleepless nights to count and long days filled with fatigue. And the emotional ups and downs of the virus proved equally tough to handle.
Through it all, Harvey was her caretaker, doing whatever he could to help.
“There would be times where there was some hope, where she felt like she was getting better,” he said. “Then all of a sudden it was just like back to square one, like the coronavirus was just as bad as it had been day one. And so that kind of that emotional rollercoaster got to me as well.”
Most days, Hindman would lie on the living room couch while Harvey sat nearby and worked from home at his job in finance.
And even though they spent all day together, it wasn’t always easy to know what Hindman needed.
“Jeff may not have a lot of medical knowledge, but he's been a support system in my life for 4-plus years,” said Hindman. “And I can't imagine going through this alone. So I think that's been the biggest thing for me.”
“Jeff may not have a lot of medical knowledge, but he's been a support system in my life for 4-plus years."Dana Hindman
Harvey added: “[There were] a lot of extra hugs, a lot of hugs, a lot with her on the couch. You know, we’d cuddle for a minute or two. I think that helped hopefully."
Did riding out the coronavirus together in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment make them closer? Make them a stronger couple?
“Everything like this, you know, makes people stronger,” said Hindman. "But I feel like we were pretty strong going into this anyway. So I don't know. I guess we'll see when we come out of it. Right?”
To that, Harvey simply replied, “Yeah.”
Hindman still has a lingering cough, but she's come through the worst of it.
Last week, she returned to work as a physical therapist. She’s out of the apartment and treating COVID-19 patients now, helping some of those with the most severe cases regain mobility.
She knows what her patients have experienced. And she has a good idea of what it’s been like for their caretakers, too.
Meanwhile, Harvey credited Hindman for being a good patient.
“At night, when we’d be on the couch together watching tv, no matter how bad a day she had, I knew I could joke around with her and lift her spirits,” he said. “She was always in the mood for that. And that helped me through all of this. Even though Dana was going though such a hard time, she always had a positive attitude about it.”
This article was originally published on May 03, 2020.
This segment aired on May 5, 2020.
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