EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A detective on the Evansville Police Department is thankful to be back at work these days - more importantly, thankful to be healthy.
Like any other day, Evansville Police Detective Keith Whitler sat at his desk doing his part to help fight crime on Wednesday.
“That’s the life of a police officer, every day is different so it makes it fun and enjoyable," said Whitler.
But in late March after testing positive for COVID-19, his fight against crime came to a screeching halt; he was now fighting for his life.
“It just progressed into pneumonia in both lungs. I made two more trips to the COVID clinic to get X-Rays," said Whitler. “I just wasn’t getting any better.”
His wife dropped him off at the ER where he was admitted into the hospital. He would spend the next five days there. At the time, no visitors were allowed.
He could hardly breathe, and things continued to get worse. Doctors were ready to put him on a ventilator.
“I didn’t think I was leaving the hospital. Never had that feeling in my life," said Whitler. “I honestly didn’t think I was leaving the hospital.”
Just when almost all hope was lost, his condition made a 180 degree turn and he was able to go back home to be with the people he loves.
“When I came to my house, a lot of my friends lined the driveway. And I’m wearing a mask and it was, it was over-emotional for me. It was really a good feeling to know that I am blessed with a lot of good friends,” said Whitler.
Now back at work finishing his last year at EPD, Whitler looks forward to his future and the new life he’s been given.
“You definitely don’t take life for granted, you never know, you never know. I’m hoping that I live a long, nice healthy life and I believe that I will," said Whitler. "But, just change your course, you know I have never been afraid like I was then.”
Detective Whitler says he’s enjoying his time back at EPD. He plans to retire next year after more than two decades at the department.