On October 6, singer Neisha Julia Guy woke up at the St James Medical Complex with blurry figures of nurses across the ward.
Attached to Guy’s arms were several tubes. A ventilator covered her nose and mouth. Weak and writhing in pain she noticed other patients were also hooked up to life support machines.
As she tried to remember how she got to this point, Guy heard a nurse shouting “Allyuh, Bed Ten wake up!”
They were referring to Guy.
Instantly health care professionals surrounded Guy’s bed to check her vitals.
Guy, 38, who suffers from comorbidities had been unresponsive for three days at the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.
She was finally awake, bringing an end to the fear and uneasy feeling that had gripped her family and friends for 72 gruelling hours.
Though she had regained consciousness, Guy was not out of the woods just yet, as she had to spend two additional weeks at the health institution fighting for her life.
Having miraculously survived COVID-19, Guy, the 2014 Digicel Rising Star winner is now counting her blessings.
“I really thought I was going to die….that I would not make it,” a tearful Guy said, during a recent telephone interview with Guardian Media, as she recounted her harrowing experiences.
“I have to thank the nurses, doctors, family members and Facebook prayer warriors who stood by my side.”
Guy also shared her darkest moments of being placed in a COVID suite filled with patients many of who did not make it out alive.
On September 29, Guy began to feel lightheaded while shopping in a supermarket.
“When I got home the symptoms started to kick in…..the fever, headaches, diarrhoea, vomiting and severe body pains.”
Contracting COVID was the last thing on Guy’s mind.
On October 3, Guy said she started to blackout and had to be rushed to the St James Medical Complex where she tested positive for COVID.
Due to the COVID ward being filled, she had to spend the first night under a tent pitched on the compound.
“That night there was a mini-storm so the tent began to move and all kind of bacchanal. I am there. I can’t breathe but I am holding on,” she recalled.
The next morning another test had to be taken.
While awaiting the results, Guy became unresponsive and had to be immediately warded.
Though Guy was not placed in the Intensive Care Unit, she was 80 per cent oxygen dependent.
After she revived, in the days to follow, Guy said what she witnessed on the ward brought her to tears.
“I remember a frail 69-year-old woman being rushed into the ward and hastily placed on a bed opposite me. The nurses were hooking her up to some machines. The woman’s eyes were fixed on me. My eyes were also locked on her as the nurses fought to administer oxygen.”
Guy said one nurse had the woman’s daughter on speakerphone so she overheard the conversation between them.
“I heard the woman’s daughter crying on the phone…. telling her mother not to give up. I can still remember her saying… Mom…mommy…you would get better and come home soon, okay. Don’t worry. I felt the daughter’s pain knowing that she could not have been there to comfort or hold her mother’s hands. I told myself this could have been me.”
At that point, Guy said, the woman knew she was dying.
In a deep voice, the woman told her daughter “You know your mother done dead and gone, right.”
Guy said her statement made everyone freeze in fear.
The next morning, Guy said the elderly woman was gone from the bed and a male attendant came to collect her belongings.
“The attendant looked at me and said that is not your fate… just trust God and you will be okay. It then struck me that the woman had died during the night. I was already in tears and my whole body kept shaking.”
Guy wondered if she would be next.
To this day, Guy said she can’t erase this incident from her mind.
“I see this woman’s face every day. It keeps haunting me.”
It was now her eighth day in hospital and Guy was still unable to breathe on her own.
“I was so weak I couldn’t even move my legs or hands,” she said bursting into tears.
“Many days I felt as if a cow was sitting on my chest and someone was constantly squeezing my nose with their fingers. I was on the brink of death. One day I would feel okay and then the next day my health would decline. It takes a lot to care for someone suffering from COVID and comorbidities.”
Realising it was a touch and go situation, the vocalist asked God to safely guide her through this challenging period.
Guy determined to live
Upon her return to St James, Guy enquired from the nurses what it would take for her to walk again.
“They told me I can start by making a few steps around my bed.”
The next day, Guy held onto the iron railings of her bed and began forcing her legs to move.
“The pains were unbearable. Each step I took I had to stop and catch my breath. But I was determined to beat COVID and get out of the hospital. I had to push myself to the limit. There were only two ways to leave the hospital ….in a body bag or being discharged.”
Two days later, she had built up enough courage and strength to walk a longer distance.
“When I started walking up I noticed two corpses being placed in body bags.”
Twice after that, Guy also witnessed the same thing.
“Then I noticed a female patient was missing from our ward. When I enquired I was told she had passed away. There was also another woman who constantly cried out in pain. She too didn’t make it.”
Every day, she said death stalked the ward.
“I couldn’t sleep.”
On October 20, Guy was discharged.
“I finally made it out alive. I was one of the fortunate patients.”
Now on the road to recovery, Guy has faced another blow. Last Monday she was served an eviction notice by her landlord for owing $17,000 in rent.
Guy has to vacate the one-bedroom apartment on December 5.
Since the advent of COVID, Guy admitted that she has been struggling to stay afloat.
“When our country locked down its borders all my gigs were cancelled.”
Guy had to utilise her little savings to keep her going.
Guy also thanked her landlady for her patience and understanding.
“ I can’t say anything bad about this woman. When I was in hospital she called me every single day to see how I was going. She is really a lovely person. There were days when I had nothing to eat and she would show up with a plate of food.”
Guy who has a diploma in business management/administration said she has searched every nook and cranny for work has but come up empty-handed.
On November 2, unemployed Guy took to social media asking the public to help save her from being evicted by establishing a FUNDMETT page.
Anyone willing to help Guy can also deposit funds into her FCB account #2539469.