Health & WellnessLifestyles

‘On the brink of death’

COVID-19 survivor shares story

Two weeks ago, Adrianne Scott, 43, was in the fight of her life.

Lying on a hospital bed, under a tent at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), Scott, a clinical nurse, recalled that she had never felt such terror.

Scott was admitted to hospital on August 29, suffering from COVID-19-related pneumonia. She would spend the next 11 days paralyzed with fear, facing a battle that she did not think she could win.

“I was on the brink of death,” Scott told The Nassau Guardian.

“I could feel my life force leaving me. The scary part about it was, no medication worked.”

Scott, who works in the Accident and Emergency Department of PMH, said having to be admitted to hospital was her “worst nightmare”.

“I already know what going to the hospital entailed,” she said.

“The hospital is very short staffed and short on resources. We were always that way.

“When we knew COVID was coming, we didn’t know how we would make it because we knew that the social impact of COVID would be even worse on top of everything else.”

“When I called my boss and she told me to come in, I cried like a baby because I already knew what the process would be. I work in the emergency room.

“I didn’t want to feel ostracized. I didn’t want to see people running from me or scorning me.

“But I knew I had to go. I couldn’t say home and die.”

Scott said when she got to the hospital, it would be hours before a medical doctor examined her.

“By the time they gave me the medication the next morning, it made no difference,” she said.

“They gave me IV (intravenous) medication, it made no difference. Then I had projectile diarrhea, I was scared. I got weaker and weaker. It was scary to be getting medication and not getting better.”

She said staff eventually gave her medication to stop the diarrhea, but by then she was struggling with another common symptom of COVID-19, shortness of breath.

“I was struggling to breathe,” she said. “I couldn’t move. I had no strength.

“The next morning, they came and gave me IV medication. About a half hour later, I vomited, projectile green vomit, all over the floor. When that [happened], my heart left my body, I knew that was it. I knew that I wouldn’t make it.”

Scott said a colleague informed her that they were moving her to the private ward, however, when her colleague returned and saw her worsening condition, a decision was made to take her outside to a hospital tent, where high-flow oxygen was available.

“That decision saved my life,” Scott said, adding that her complexion was gray at the time.

“I was deathly afraid,” she said. “I had never worked underneath the tent.”

Scott said only the most ill patients are taken to the tent.

“They put me on 60 liters of oxygen,” she said. “Sixty liters was being pumped into my body. It was scary.”

Scott said she didn’t think it could get any worse until she watched six of the nine patients who were in the tent with her die.

“It was a terrorizing ordeal,” she said. “PMH is like a revolving door.”

She said after she watched the first two patients die, hospital staff brought in another patient and placed her on the bed that was adjacent to Scott.

“She was talking, she was on the phone, asking people to pray for her,” Scott said.

“I told her to conserve her energy. She said, ‘I have to talk to Jesus, I have to talk to my Lord.’

“After she came in, about four or five hours later, another person came in across from me. I worked with her for many years. She was on the phone texting. She has three kids… I tried to encourage her.

“I didn’t want to watch anyone else die. I had to believe that people could walk out of there.”

Scott said within 24 hours, the woman who was adjacent to her died.

“They put her in the body bag,” Scott said. “…I wondered who would be next.

“After that woman died, the next day, the woman across from me, her heart started to give out.

“I watched her go down. They intubated her. She died right in front of me. I cried like a baby. They put her in the blue body bag. I couldn’t believe it. As she lay in the blue body bag, her phone started ringing. I thought about her children and I thought about how they were probably trying to reach her.

“When you are under the Good Samaritan tent, everyone is fighting for their lives.

“I was at the end of the tent, so I was able to see everything. Six people died in eight days.

“I was fighting for my life.”

Scott said she drew strength from one of the women who recovered and left in the tent to go home. She said she also listened to gospel and inspirational music. A favorite of hers was “When I’m Back on My Feet Again” by Michael Bolton.

She added that days before her release, she got a vision from God that He would send her something to make her better.

Scott said she fell asleep and woke up confused, but feeling slightly better.

As the days went on, Scott’s condition improved and she was weaned off oxygen.

On September 9, the one thing that Scott didn’t think could happen, actually happened, and she was released from hospital.

“I was scared to leave the hospital,” she added. “I was unsure if I would have a relapse. I didn’t know if I would come home to die. When I came home, I was weak like a baby.”

Scott said she is staying in her family home temporarily as she is not strong enough to live on her own just yet.

“I still don’t sleep at night. I am haunted by what happened up there,” she said. “It has changed me forever.”

Scott said she is unsure how long her recovery process will be, but is happy to be on the mend. She said God brought her out of it.

After having lost her faith in God a while ago, Scott said her ordeal has brought her closer to Him.

“When I was in there, I found Him. I called on His name and He answered me. I had a spiritual calling in there,” she said.

As for when she will return to work, Scott said it will happen eventually. However, she admitted that it may be difficult as it now holds so many memories that she’d rather forget.

The nurse encouraged Bahamians to follow the health protocols.

She said she is also encouraging her family and friends to take the vaccine.

Scott shared her story of survival on her Facebook page in an effort to encourage people to take COVID seriously.

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Krystel Brown

Krystel covers breaking news for The Nassau Guardian. Krystel also manages The Guardian’s social media pages. She joined The Nassau Guardian in 2007 as a staff reporter, covering national news. She was promoted to online editor in May 2017. Education: Benedict College, BA in Mass Communications

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