'It wasn't a nice feeling,' COVID-19 patient recalls seeing his friend die beside him in hospitalThursday, October 21, 2021
BY CANDICE HAUGHTON
KINGSTON, Jamaica — “I wake up and see my friend dead beside me.” Those were the words of grief-stricken 47-year-old Mathew Leslie, after being in intensive care at the National Chest Hospital after contracting the COVID-19 virus.
The father of two told OBSERVER ONLINE that after feeling a slight tickle in his throat and tightness in his chest about a month ago, he went for a medical examination and was given a prescription without doing a COVID-19 test.
He added that after taking the medication over the weekend he noticed he was not recovering and as a result, he ended up at the hospital where he was diagnosed with COVID-19. He had also developed pneumonia.
“When you have the COVID it's a terrible thing, it's not easy,” Leslie said.
He said he was immediately placed in the COVID-19 ward in intensive care.
However, he said he progressively got worse and his only company was his friend, identified only as Mr Blackwood, who was on the bed next to him.
“We would talk and keep each other company when we not sleeping. He died beside me in the hours of the night. Everybody was quiet and I was there resting, and by resting I felt drowsy and I fell asleep. When I woke up in the hours and I look, I saw [when] they were just wrapping him up. So, it's then I realised him passed off...It wasn't a nice feeling,” Leslie said recalling the night he saw his friend being carried away by the hospital staff.
This incident, he said, had a significant impact on his psychological state. Seeing more patients succumb to the virus daily only made it worse.
“I started to break down and I started to pray to ask God for help [so] I can come out successfully. It's terrible, it's not a nice experience. In the hours again somebody crossway from me, that person passed off as well. A lot of people [died]. But you, yourself wanted to come out, you know, just seeing things like that make you break down more,” he said.
“Even the other day when I went up there [Chest Hospital] I see them still carrying out dead bodies,” he continued, adding that since he was released from the hospital he is unable to sleep with the lights off.
“In the nights, what I find myself doing, I don't turn off the light. I normally sleep in the darkness but now I don't do that, I have to sleep in the light. I actually went to the doctor and after I was talking to her she say it's normal for me to feel that way, but she say after a period of time I would actually overcome it.”
Leslie said that after his two-week stay in the hospital, his family was overjoyed when he was finally able to go home.
“Everybody was happy because they cried when I was in hospital because it was scary...I cried, I must tell you I cried,” Leslie shared.
Expressing his gratitude to his wife of 20-years, the Padmore, St Andrew resident said, “The relationship is closer because ever since that, we communicate and enjoy each other. We actually became closer because she jumped 'round and any little thing me want she jump 'round and help. Me have to keep her tight because she was praying and everything for me.”