NEW YORK - From his living room, inside his home in West Orange, New Jersey, Bill Squires, 66, describes what life is like back at home, after beating COVID-19.
"I've lost 35 pounds. I have to relearn how to walk and learn again, how to swallow, I'm on a feeding tube.” His voice fades, a little from emotion, as well as taking an extra gasp of air, yet another side effect from the coronavirus.
But Bill Squires is alive.
As someone who worked for George Steinbrenner, and mapped out operations for a new Met Life Stadium, when Squires was on a ventilator for 32 days due to COVID-19 taking him away from his family for 70 days ... something within him helped him survive.
Squires credits his college days, as a midshipman in the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. “I went to the Naval Academy and … there's nothing that we say ‘we can't’, we ‘just do’”.
Squires was hospitalized at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey on March 26th and almost immediately put on a ventilator. On May 2nd, doctors removed the vent.
“A ventilator for 32 days is an extremely long time, to be honest with you. I didn't know what a ventilator was until I checked into Kessler Institute for my rehab and I Googled it,” Squires recalls. “And what I saw was not pleasant. It doesn't look like a whole lot of fun.”
After 23 days at the Kessler Rehabilitation Center, Squires returned to his home in West Orange, New Jersey on June 5th. Reunited with His wife Jodi and children Sean, Ashley and Sydney, as well as his son-in-law and grandson.
Standing outside of his West Orange home with his youngest daughter Sydney and wife Jodi, Squires tells Tina Cervasio, with a socially distanced wave, he had the best Father's Day ever, at home.
Sydney is taking the summer off from college classes to help take of her dad, along with her mom Jodi.
“He's been terrific, it's really great to have him home,” says his wife Jodi.
Sydney adds, “It's been so surreal, it was very scary for a long time, so having him here, home and healthy on the road to recovery is amazing.”
Squires is long time executive in sports facilities. Managing the old Yankee Stadium in the 80's and Giants Stadium in the 90's, He now runs his own consulting firm with the New York Giants as a client.
When you ask Squires how he found the will to beat COVID-19, he deflects and credits the healthcare workers. From X-Ray technicians to those who changed his bed sheets.
“I can remember one doctor is coming to me and see me, regularly, he would ask me to squeeze his fingers… if I heard him,” Squires explains as he becomes emotional. “It was just the attention to detail. And the caring I felt, I felt that … they basically loved me. And it was special, very special.”
Squires is also grateful for the prayers from family, friends and colleagues, acknowledging there was also help from above saying, “there's some promises made with my Lord and Savior because not many people get a second chance on life.”
And with his "second chance" Squires says his purpose is to create awareness.
“This disease is not a joke. It kind of appalls me when I hear some people thinking it's politics and it's a hoax and it's not real. It's real. I'm living proof that it's real. … And there’s 122,000 people who have died from this disease in this country. Over 12,800 have died in the state of New Jersey. And my heart goes out to them … and their families.”