Advertisement

B.C. woman says she’s ‘living proof’ of surviving COVID-19 after waking up from coma

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Kelowna woman shares her experience with COVID-19' Coronavirus: Kelowna woman shares her experience with COVID-19
Coronavirus: Kelowna woman shares her experience with COVID-19 – May 15, 2020

An Okanagan woman who survived COVID-19, but only after going into a medically-induced coma, called it a harrowing ordeal.

Irene Spicer of Kelowna believes she caught the virus while travelling overseas two months ago.

“The 15th March was the last day they were flying out [of the Philippines],” Spicer told Global News.

“So the airport was packed. It was absolutely packed, inside and out. There had to be thousands there.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: ‘We’re the pioneers’: Survivors of COVID-19 share their stories

Spicer said they were very careful while travelling, but they still somehow got sick. And when she returned to Canada, she felt tired at first.

“When you come back from a trip like that, you’re jet-lagged,” said Spicer. “I was tired, but that’s normal.”

She said one morning, she went to the washroom, where she passed out after feeling “a bit off.”

Spicer said she suffered a broken vertebrae from the fall, and that a neighbour wound up calling paramedics.

Click to play video: 'Extended interview with Kelowna resident who survived COVID-19' Extended interview with Kelowna resident who survived COVID-19
Extended interview with Kelowna resident who survived COVID-19 – May 15, 2020

“It wasn’t until they did testing afterwards, I think the next day for COVID, that it was discovered that I had it,” said Spicer. “And by then, I was totally out of it. I don’t remember nothing.”

Story continues below advertisement

Spicer said she was admitted on March 21 and was placed into rehabilitation during the last week of April. In between, Spicer said she was in a coma for three weeks.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“I still don’t remember anything after that when I woke up,” said Spicer. “They were telling me all kinds of stuff, and I’m like ‘OK!’

“I remember them coming into my room and saying ‘OK, you’re COVID free. You’ve had the three tests, you’re COVID free.’ And I was like ‘Oh, perfect!’ Now I’m awake!”

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: New York survivor of COVID-19 feels the guilt of possibly infecting others' Coronavirus outbreak: New York survivor of COVID-19 feels the guilt of possibly infecting others
Coronavirus outbreak: New York survivor of COVID-19 feels the guilt of possibly infecting others – Apr 11, 2020

After being moved, Spicer said everyone at the hospital was “absolutely fabulous,” stating “they were all coming down and they marveled at how well I was doing.”

During rehab, Spicer said she did hand exercises and practiced walking.

Story continues below advertisement

She also said that family members and neighbours came to visit her in the hospital, albeit with contact through a window and not face to face.

“They would come outside the window and we would phone each other and put it on speaker,” said Spicer. “So we were able to talk that way, so I was very lucky that way. I really was.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 survivors answer viewers’ questions' COVID-19 survivors answer viewers’ questions
COVID-19 survivors answer viewers’ questions – Apr 2, 2020

Spicer said those visits “lift the spirit immeasurably and it takes the pain away. It takes the loneliness away of being there in a room, because I was in a room by myself.”

Now with family, Spicer said she’s returning to normal.

“I know there’s been a lot of deaths, there has, and I feel so bad for all those people who have lost loved ones,” said Spicer.

Story continues below advertisement

“But they need to know that, yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and, yes, people can survive it. I’m living proof that you can survive.”

Click to play video: 'How COVID-19 survivors’ blood may help save lives' How COVID-19 survivors’ blood may help save lives
How COVID-19 survivors’ blood may help save lives – Apr 7, 2020

Sponsored content