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'I'm just blessed to be here': Texas man leaves hospital after 15 days on a ventilator

'What a special weekend to come back to Earth, I guess you could say.'

ROCKWALL, Texas — Perhaps you’ve seen and even shared the uplifting video moments in recent weeks of COVID-19 patients leaving the hospital, well enough to go home.

Saturday, the team at Texas Health Hospital Rockwall took its turn with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Bonacquisti offering encouragement to a recovered coronavirus patient.

“Thank you so much for letting us share this moment with you,” Bonacquisti said.

It is one of the first moments Shawn Cook told WFAA he could recall in weeks.

“Today I feel probably the best I’ve felt in 16 days,” Cook said. “I don’t even remember day one.”

Last month, the otherwise healthy 49-year-old went from a clear chest to double pneumonia in three days. 

“I knew that I was going downhill fast,” Cook said.

Fifteen days on a ventilator followed, some of them spent facing upside down to relieve the pressure on his chest, allowing him to breathe and improve. 

All of those days were spent away from his two sons and his wife Traci, who revealed being able to see him occasionally via FaceTime doesn’t scratch the surface of her appreciation for the effort of her husband’s medical team.

Credit: Traci Cook
Shawn Cook, 49, left Texas Health Hospital Rockwall after spending 15 days on a ventilator recovering from covid-19 on Saturday April 11, 2020.

“I would get focused on one part of his healing, but they were looking at 20 to 50 different things and putting plans into place,” Traci Cook said. “They just did an exceptional job.” 

Traci and Shawn were reunited in person early Saturday and as the couple left to cheers from the team that helped saved his life. 

Shawn wants anyone reading his story to do their part to help save others.

“We’ve got to listen to what we’re being told,” Cook said. “Everybody needs to take this serious.” 

Tonight, the Cook’s are together again, with Shawn relishing the chance to be stuck at home. 

“I’m just blessed to be here," Cook said. “There’s no ifs ands or buts about it. What a special weekend to come back to Earth, I guess you could say.”

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