ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Last week, Harold Jenkins, who tested positive for COVID-19, left the hospital in Albany to go home and recover.
He said after all he's been through, he is still working to get his strength back.
But, he's appreciative to be where he is today.
“Haven’t made it all the way back yet, but I’m feeling a heck of a lot better than I was,” Jenkins said.
Phoebe staff recorded video of Jenkins leaving his hospital room — surrounded by staff members cheering him on.
It would mark the end of 10 days in the hospital, including three days on a ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit at Phoebe Main in Albany.
In an interview with Phoebe this week, the military veteran and retired cabinet maker and school bus driver talked about why his wife, Sylvana Jenkins, took him to the emergency center in the first place.
“I got the hiccups, couldn’t get rid of them. My wife said that was when I started to get sick. They took me from the emergency room upstairs,” he said. “After that, I don’t remember a thing.”
Jenkins had COVID-19 and eventually got sick enough to go on a ventilator.
"I could hear the stress in his voice, the doctor's voice. He said, 'your husband is a very sick man.' He said, 'pray.' He said, 'pray for your husband and pray for us as the doctors who are treating him, that we figure out what to do,'" Sylvana said.
After much prayer from family near and far, his wife got a phone call.
"He said 'he's breathing on his own, and he's asking for something to eat.' I said 'what?'" his wife said.
“That’s one way you know ain’t nothing wrong with me,” Harold said. “If I got an appetite, I’m doing alright.”
A few days later, Sylvana got an even better call.
He would become the second COVID-19 patient at Phoebe Main in Albany to get well enough to come off of a ventilator, out of the ICU and go home.
"When they wheeled me out into that hallway, man, that was the best feeling in the world," Jenkins said.
In recent days, he has drawn on both a piece of advice from his father and his own faith in God.
“I used to ask my father about different things, and he’d say, ‘son, just keep living, and you’ll find the answer to things,’” he said. “The only person gonna stop me is the man above. When He tells me, ‘Harold it’s time to sit down and go home,’ I ain’t gonna complain.”
Harold said he still has some recovering to do, including continuing breathing treatments to prevent pneumonia and monitoring his oxygen levels.
For now, he said he is encouraging everyone to follow health officials’ guidelines to help get this outbreak contained.