Q&A with Hannah Churms

Hannah Churms (‘21), a sports business major with minors in marketing and sales, was ready to return and finish the rest of her semester after spring break. When Churms started experiencing symptoms attributed to the coronavirus, she quickly realized this wouldn’t be the case.  After testing positive for COVID-19 and spending 17 days in the hospital, Churms is now recovering and sharing her experience.


Our conversation has been condensed and edited for grammar and clarity. 


Hatter Network: My first question would be: How would you describe your experience?


Hannah Churms: “It was the scariest experience of my entire life because I was so alone and couldn’t see my parents. I was afraid of the unknown.”


HN: Did the hospital staff help you with feeling comforted and support you? If so, in what ways?


HC: “Oh, absolutely. Every day a new nurse became like my new best friend. One nurse even offered to shave my legs for me once I was out of the ICU to help me feel like a normal person again. When I went back to the ICU for seizures, the nurse offered to get me my favorite candy, because it was Easter Sunday, so she got me Skittles. They were always there for me when I needed them.” 


HN: It’s so incredible that they were there for you when you needed them the most! Taking it back to the beginning, when did you first start feeling symptoms and how did you feel at that point?


HC: “My only symptom was vomiting and it started on March 6. I thought that I had food poisoning until it started getting worse every day. 5 days before I went into the hospital was when I got a cough and shortness of breath.” 


HN: How long were you at the hospital? Which hospital did you stay at? Have your family and closed loved ones [been] supportive of you throughout your journey?


HC:I arrived at the DeLand hospital on Monday, March 30 and was immediately taken to the ICU. On Tuesday they called my parents and told them I tested positive for COVID-19 and I was airlifted to Advent Health Orlando where I stayed ‘til April 16. It was really hard not being able to see my family, but I got to FaceTime them and talk to them on the phone and they were supportive of me the entire time. My parents also both tested negative for the virus.”


HN: What were your initial thoughts going into both DeLand hospital and Advent Health Orlando? Also, was Stetson health services contacted? If so were they supportive as well?


HC: “Going into the DeLand hospital I was freaking out because I had to go alone and they immediately told me they thought I had COVID. I don’t remember much because they sedated me and I was put on a ventilator. I was unconscious on heavy, heavy drugs. When I was airlifted I was still sedated and taken to the ICU in Orlando where I remained unconscious ‘til Friday. My parents contacted Stetson and Stetson then sent out an email to the community (it was very obvious that it was me they were describing). They were very supportive and they have given me extra time to do my school work.”


HN: On the topic of academics and life, what was considered (and still is) considered as “normal?”


HC: “My normal everyday life as a Stetson student was going to class and work – I work for Stetson’s athletic department – and I would have still considered all of that a normal thing to do before we switched to online classes. Now normal for me is waking up and taking medication every day to try and fully recover. Once I start to get settled at home I know I will start to get back into the normal swing of things, finishing my online semester, and working however hard I need to to get my course work completed.”


HN: How has your family been supportive of [you academically and helpful with settling] down? Has the Stetson community, especially the athletic department, been supportive?


HC: “My parents have been helping me and brought my bed downstairs so it’s easier for me to walk and stuff. Academically they told me to take my time and whatever I need help with they will be supportive in getting the help I need whether tutoring or extra time. The athletic department has been extremely supportive, my boss included, [by] giving me extra time to work on projects and they have all reached out saying if I need anything [to] not hesitate to text them.”


HN: Is there anything else you would like Hatters to know or anything else you would like to share?


HC: “Stay home, stay safe, wash your hands, have faith, and stay strong.”