‘Vaccination saved my life’ – Egbert Field relives trauma after surviving COVID-19

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By Isanella Patoir

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Director-General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Egbert Field has survived Prostate Cancer and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma but when the Coronavirus attacked him, he said it was the worst disease he ever experienced.

After being hospitalised for some five days at the ‘COVID’ hospital, the former army man is now on the road to recovery but he believes that being fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine saved his life.

Mr Field, during an exclusive interview with the News Room on Monday, recalled the trauma of battling the disease. He revealed that at one point he was scared to fall asleep because he thought he would die after seeing several bodies being rolled out of the Infectious Diseases Hospital at Lilendaal, Greater Georgetown better known as the ‘COVID hospital’.

Prior to contracting the virus three weeks ago, Mr Field was your average healthy man; as a matter of fact, he exercised daily, went for walks in the park and he set up a mini-gym at his house.

Mr Field decided to get tested on September 20 after one of his employees at the Civil Aviation Authority tested positive.

“At the time, I really wasn’t getting any symptoms; maybe by the next day I started to feel a sense of fatigue, a tired feeling from top to bottom especially in my calves,” Mr Field recalled to the News Room.

This feeling worsened the next day and by the end of the week, Mr Field could not walk more than six feet without wanting to sit or lie down.

“…when I tell you the tiredness, it is a feeling that is unexplainable.”

SYMPTOMS WORSENED

On September 24, his symptoms took a turn for the worse and “I guess I had more or less fallen into a state of what I called the twilight zone.”

Mr Field had collapsed and had to be rushed to the Infectious Diseases Hospital (COVID hospital) at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown where he was immediately placed on oxygen and medication.

“I can’t remember but I ended up in the hospital; that evening I really didn’t know where I was, I couldn’t differentiate ceiling and wall, I don’t know if I was in a state of being delirious but nothing made any sense to me.

“It’s a feeling I don’t ever want to experience again,” Mr Field explained.

VACCINATION SAVED HIS LIFE

Mr Field received his first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in April and got his second shot a month later. As the former military officer described it, the vaccine helped his body to develop “little soldiers” to fight off the virus.

“What I want to say is this virus hit me with such a punch that I went under. I don’t believe I would have been able to bounce back if I didn’t have the vaccine. I strongly believe that having had the vaccination fully covered, that is what helped me to come back as quickly as I am coming back,” Mr Field stated.

He is urging everyone to get vaccinated against this dreaded virus so that they can stand a chance if they ever contract the virus.

CARE AT THE HOSPITAL

Mr Field spent five days at the COVID hospital. He said the doctors and nurses there treated him with compassion and care, and this, he explained, helped in nurturing him back to health.

“I strongly believe what they did for me helped me to pull through, my meals were on time, even though I didn’t have an appetite, I know that if I am to get well I will have to eat.

Mr Field is borderline for hypertension but this did not affect him when he tested positive, instead his blood sugar level increased between 400 to 600 mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre.) A blood sugar level below 140 mg/dl is considered normal.

“I can’t say that I am diabetic but in the hospital, my sugar level went all the way up, sometimes I guess if you have a borderline, this virus kinda takes hold of the inside of your body and turns it upside down,” Mr Field said.

Mr Field recounted that one night he could not sleep because he was afraid he would not wake up the next morning.

“I did not sleep because you know one and two times you see a gurney pass wrapped up in plastic in which a body was on and you could hear some of the shouts from the patients in there.

“I guess the pains that they were feeling, so one night I didn’t sleep because I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up the next morning but thanks to the Almighty, thanks to God I was able to recover and I don’t wish this on anybody.”

For every time he needed them, the doctors and nurses were always there.

“As a matter of fact, afterwards I had to send them a thank you card… I had to send them a very good token after I left just to show my appreciation for what they did for me.”

Mr Field also thanked the family and friends who prayed for his recovery.

His daughter, who is a doctor at the University of the West Indies Hospital in Jamaica, flew in to care for him.

“She even brought an oxygen bottle, so to my daughter, I want to say a big thank you. Now you, as a parent, when you spend your money on a kid, what results you could get,” Mr Field said with a chuckle.

Now he is recovering at home and according to him he is bouncing back “tremendously.”

As of October 11, Guyana has recorded a total of 842 COVID-19 deaths since March 2020, while 33, 748 persons have tested positive for the virus. September 2021 is recorded as the deadliest month yet with a total of 179 deaths.

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