- Editor’s Note: We’ve been talking for the past week leading up to Easter Sunday and day by day he sounds much better. He was the second person hospitalised in Bermuda on March 25. This Easter Sunday 2020, he’s looking forward to breathing on his own and hopeful he will get out of the hospital by Tuesday. Speaking to Bermuda Real on the condition of anonymity, we’ll call him Corona X, a 67-year-old Bermudian, whose outlook on life has been forever changed by this deadly coronavirus. His message: “This COVID-19 is NO JOKE!”
On March 11, 2020, Corona X left Bermuda bound for Maryland with his wife and one of his daughters, bound for Maryland.
Little did he know that when he returned on a flight out of Atlanta on March 15, he would end up fighting for his life at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
“I felt fine, I went back to work and after that all hell broke loose,” said Mr X.
“I was home for five days totally out of it and I don’t remember most of it. My daughter said I was doing a lot of sleeping and was not eating.
“My other daughter took me to the hospital March 25, I went through the yellow tent and they admitted me right away, gave me all these needles and put me on oxygen to help me breathe.
“I never had a fever or any pain, I was just struggling to breathe and I’m still on oxygen to this day.”
The good news – he’s not on it all day because he’s breathing much better. But he has to reach a certain level before he can be discharged.
“They’re breaking it down now and I have to be off of it for three days before I can go home may go home maybe Monday or Tuesday,” he said.
Asked how he was coping with 19 days in isolation, he said: “The medical staff have been right on point.
“They come in with a space suit on with all kinds of gear and I’m just trying to get well.
“I look out my window and I have a nice view and the staff are always checking on me.
“My only complaint is that my breakfast is cold every morning and the fishcakes on Good Friday were potato cakes.”
Other than that, he said: “I’m quite fortunate, they got me up here just in time and if it wasn’t for my daughters and my wife, I wouldn’t be here.
“I didn’t want to go and I was being belligerent but they stood up to me and sent me up here – the hospital knew I was coming because they called and arranged it.
“I was the third patient to be admitted with this virus, now there’s a few more,” he added.
“I never thought I was not going to make it because I was well taken care of and I didn’t know I had the coronavirus but I’m in good hands.”
But he said: “They haven’t tested my family.
“We were all in quarantine together, nobody else got the symptoms and I don’t know where I got it from.”
The daughter who took him to the hospital insisted that she should be tested. Thankfully the test results came back negative.
Asked for his thoughts on people not taking this global pandemic seriously, he replied: “They’re foolish, you have got to pay attention – this virus is no joke!
“When I started watching TV I realised my condition was nowhere near as bad as some of the people who have this virus.
“I’m thankful that I didn’t go through all that – my thing was mostly respiratory and I’m grateful it wasn’t worse.
“But I was really in denial – I was all messed up and my mind was totally out of it.
“This is a serious thing when you look at what’s happening in the US.
“You just can’t no chances, we’re a small island and I still don’t know how I got it.
“I was home for almost five days out in left field, just sleeping, I wasn’t eating and it was very hard just to breathe.
“I have a sense of humour and take life as it comes but I have got to pay attention.”
“I really don’t remember most of it once it started,” he added.
Based on what one of his daughter’s said – that’s a good thing.
Anyone who knows this man, like his wife and children do, would know that belligerent is more like bull-headed.
The good news – bull-headed may just be genetic because as much as he fought against going to the hospital, his wife and daughters fought harder and they were not having it.
When contacted by Bermuda Real, one of his daughter’s said: “Yes he’s a joker but we were not joking around with because this was about saving his life.”
“When we left the hotel in the US he wasn’t feeling too sharp, he wasn’t feeling too sharp,” she said.
“He was coughing and I told him he couldn’t be coughing on the plane, so he got some medicine and slept the whole time.
“Things took a turn for the worse around March 18 or 19,” she added.
“He was sleeping all day and would get up to use bathroom then go right back to sleep and he wasn’t eating.
“By March 23 he was getting worse so I called the COVID hotline, they asked if he had been away.
“I said yes and told them that he’s diabetic, not allergic to anything and that his temperature was 101.9.
“They said he had to have a fever of 104 to come in and to contact his GP.
“The next day a nurse called me back and called every two hours to check on his temperature, she even called two hours after her shift ended.
“He was delerious, talking about people dressed in black want to shoot him and he didn’t have a clue as to what was going on.
“I kept telling them this is not my daddy, so on March 25 my sister called his doctor early in the morning and they said to just keep monitoring him.
“So I was like what the hell! He had no clue what day it was when asked.
“My sister said we need to get him up out of bed and we took him outside.
“His head was down, he was mumbling and he wasn’t breathing too good.
“The nurse who called asked me to count his breaths in a certain amount of time and when I told her she was like ‘oh boy’.
“Around 11am that morning I said he’s getting worse and we called the hospital to say he’s on his way so they could be ready for him.
“We got his mask on, got him dressed and in the back seat. He kept saying he’s alright and that he didn’t want to go to the hospital.
“My sister took him in anyway, he got there around 12 noon and he was admitted right away.
“They said at the time he had heart failure, pneumonia in both lungs, they placed him on a cardiac monitor, his oxygen levels were low and he wasn’t coherent for the first two days.
“The doctor let him know that he would have died if he didn’t come in when he did and I knew that – I just knew because we had seen him deteriorate and he didn’t know what day it was.
“I know he’s diabetic, overweight and always has some type of chest congestion, but I know my daddy and this was not like him.
“Had I listened to the COVID people he may not be here today,” she said.
“The Tylenol they recommended helped bring his temperature down, but he was so out of it.”
Nineteen days later she said: “We are all relieved because he is doing much better – it’s a miracle and he knows it’s a miracle.
“And he knows he is going to have to make some changes when he gets out of the hospital.
“I know I will be on his case, we all will be including all of his mates.
As for her dad, he said: “The fact that my family forced me to come here is why I’m still here and I’m thankful to the medical staff at KEMH.
“How I caught this virus is still a mystery, maybe I will never know – nobody else in my family got sick – everybody’s okay.
“This thing attacks your respiratory system and if you’ve got high blood pressure you should beware.
“If you’re a weak person this virus will knock you out, your lungs could collapse real quick.
“Right now I’m trying to stay off the oxygen to breathe on my own but I still use it at night and I’m making steady progress.
“I’m just glad that I’m recovering.”
Asked for his advice on limiting the spread of this deadly virus, he urged Bermudians to “pay attention”.
“This thing has shut the whole island down, people’s are out of work and look at what’s happening in the US – they’re dying.”
“I think the Premier is doing a fantastic job and I know people are suffering financially,” he said.
“I don’t know whether or not this tourism season will kick in because there’s no way to check all those people on a tiny island like Bermuda.
“We just got to pray that’s all and people have just got to pay attention.
“We need to buckle down and get ready for a serious year dealing with something we cannot control.
“We have no control over this thing, it’s going be heartbreaking for people living from pay cheque to pay cheque.”
On unemployment relief of up to $500 a week, he said: “We don’t know how long this is going go for.
“This is a serious situation and it’s affecting everybody, black, white, blue and green.”
Right now he says he’s feeling much better and is looking forward to getting out of the hospital.
“The hospital staff are doing an excellent job because this is all new to them too.
“It’s serious when people start dying you have got to pay attention.
“I’m just thankful and feel for everyone who has lost loved ones.
“We don’t know where this thing is – if you’re not in good health this thing will kill you. This is serious.
“If you haven’t been working you don’t have nothing.”
If this goes on for a long time he fears that people “are going to start looting.
“If things don’t change you’re going find martial law down here because people have got to survive.
“There’s a lot of people who were suffering already due to unemployment are suffering even more now,” said Mr X.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better because if you don’t get no tourists here – that’s it.”
As it stands now, he said: “We’re not even sure if Cup Match is going happen this year.
“But if you don’t pay attention you’re going find people looting and stealing round here just to survive.
“When you can’t get an unemployment cheque with a family at home and nobody’s working there is no money coming in.
“So this is a very serious situation and I feel for the Premier.
“David Burt has gone from black hair to gray hair but he’s doing pretty good.
“I just wish the merchants will get on board and stop price gouging,” he said.
“We’re all in this together and things are going to get tight round here.”