JJ Smith started feeling sick in January, and the last word he said to his parents on the phone was, “Hey I can’t breathe, I’m being placed on a ventilator, and I love you.”
“I figured it would be like a bad sinus infection, I would take a couple over the counter medicines and within a couple of days, I’d be perfectly fine. One day later, I woke up with a 104 fever and I was diagnosed with double covid and pneumonia,” said Smith.
While at the hospital, his condition got worse.
JJ asked to be intubated. He breathed about 42 times a minute and had an oxygen saturation of 85%. He was maxed out on non-invasive ventilation.
He said even the doctor lost hope.
“Dr. Keith pretty much told my parents that I may or may not make it because of how fast I was deteriorating, and my body just couldn’t handle it,” said Smith.
But with an outpour of prayers from friends and family and the amazing care of the nurses made a miracle happen.
Currently, the 23-year-old is now a nursing technician in the intensive care unit at Lexington Medical Center. Works with the same nurse who took care of him.
“I was blessed to still be here today, because of the amazing critical care staff that I can now call co-workers,” Smith added.
“The friendships, the companionships that were spent through that time made me personally change my decision to go back to nursing school because the care I received while I have covid was incomparable to anything else. And that’s something that I want to give back to help others on their absolute worst day whether its covid or not.”
Patients and staff say that he is the smiling face they need to get through those tough days.
“Knowing that I’m able to be there to comfort them and to tell them that I personally went through what they’re about to go through, they feel more at ease, more relaxed knowing that I had the same doctor they did, knowing I was in the same room as the. It’s almost a personal connection. It kind of gives you the warm fuzzy feelings almost, knowing that you were here at one time receiving the care that you’re about to give to others.”