'I won't be a widow': Wisconsin family reflects after man's 45-day COVID battle

2021 03 25 MSchubart Discharge Ascension mercy.jpg
Posted at 10:12 AM, Mar 31, 2021

NEENAH, Wis. (NBC 26) -- Before leaving for the hospital last month, Renee Schubart wrapped her husband Mark in blankets and rolled the car windows down in the middle of a negative 10-degree day because she says she was afraid to be in the same vehicle with him.

The couple feared Mark contracted COVID-19.

"I was thinking this might be the last time I see him," Renee said. "And I just looked him in the eye and said 'you fight this now.'"

On Feb. 7, Renee says she dropped her husband off at Ascension Mercy's ICU in Oshkosh, where Mark Schubart would battle the Coronavirus for 47 days. He was finally released last week and the Schubart family says its now fighting to get back to normal.

"I didn't know if I'd wake up the next morning as a widow or not," Renee said. "The kids didn't know if they'd get their dad back or not."

Just two days after Mark was hospitalized, put on a ventilator and in a coma, the family says Renee and one of their sons got the virus too.

"I just kept saying, I can't be like Mark," Renee said. "These kids can't have both parents so down and out."

But March 5, Mark says things started to look up. His 103-degree fever went away and the family got to visit him after beating COVID themselves.

"There was a point where I actually texted a friend at work and I said 'Lisa, I can honestly say that I won't be a widow in 2021,'" Renee said.

And on March 11, Mark says he hit a turning point when he ate food again for the first time, a key sign of recovery he says wouldn't be possible without the weeks-long work of his doctors.

"Thank you's not a strong enough word," Mark said. "I don't have a word that can express how much I appreciate everything that they did for me."

So after 47 long days, Mark is getting stronger. The family says life won't be the same, but nothing beats being alive together again.

"If I look around, there's a lot of things that could've been worse," Mark said. "And my new normal is pretty darn good and I'm heading towards that."

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Latest news and headlines here.