PHOENIX — The owner of Original Breakfast House in Phoenix has a new perspective on life after spending nearly three weeks in the hospital with COVID-19.
John Stidham brought Original Breakfast House to North Phoenix in 2011. Nearly a decade later, right around Labor Day, Stidham contracted COVID-19.
After waiting it out, Stidham decided to go to the hospital when his breathing became difficult, where he would end up spending 19 days.
"The word in the hospital was “code blue.” Code blue means everybody rush to this room, this guy’s going. I heard it too many times," said Stidham. "People dying around me."
Stidham was on oxygen during his entire stay, including a short time after being discharged. On his fourth day in the hospital, Stidham felt like his time could be nearing an end.
"I thought the grim reaper came down, [asking] me to come with him," said Stidham. "I woke up the next morning and said, 'Ain’t gonna happen.'"
Stidham said from that night forward, he was determined to do whatever he could to make it out alive.
"I stood over the edge of the bed and started doing leg lifts," along with other small physical workouts to build up strength. About a week later, he was able to walk around and eventually was discharged.
Not long after returning home, Stidham was back at work.
The 19 days Stidham spent in the hospital was the longest break he's taken from work in nearly a decade. Stidham said he used to work 7 days a week and only took 5 days off from work all of last year. His stint in the hospital has changed his perspective.
"You have to let people do what they do. My life’s totally changed positively," said Stidham, who said he's only visiting the restaurant on weekends to spend more time with his family.
"There’s hope. There’s hope for change."
Stidham said he is not vaccinated and is still on the fence about whether he will receive the COVID-19 vaccine.