'This wasn't your everyday flu’: N.S. man recovering from near-fatal bout of COVID-19 grateful for support

The family of a Glace Bay, N.S. man, who spent 31 days in an Edmonton hospital with COVID-19, says they weren't sure if he'd ever get out.

Daniel Gonneville, 35, was on a ventilator for more than two weeks after contracting COVID-19 while working in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Gonneville's sister, Guylaine Ouellette, flew from Nova Scotia to be by her brother's side. For weeks she waited and wondered if her brother was ever going to wake up.

"They had this pole next to the bed with literally eight different medications that are being delivered simultaneously through a central line in his neck," said Ouellette. "He was like a science experiment. It was a lot to process."

Ouellette -- who was by her brother's bedside through it all -- says she was scared he wasn't going to come out alive.

"To see him like that is when it kind of hit me," Ouellette said. "This wasn't your everyday flu. This is like a monster."

Gonneville says he doesn't remember muchof his time in hospital.

"I went to sleep in Fort Mac and woke up in Edmonton," he said. "It was definitely scary."

He says he never thought the virus would affect him this way.

"They tell you that you have it and everyone is suppose to survive it," Gonneville said. "They say it's mostly older people and really sick that has to worry. I was otherwise healthy."

Ouellette kept her visitor tags as a way of remembering her brother wasn't alone through his fight. She says there's one day in particular when she finally realized things were taking a turn for the better.

"He just looked up at me and squeezed my hand and I was like 'Oh my goodness, you're alive,'" Ouellette said.

Gonneville's still being treated for a blood clot in his lung, but he says what helped him pull through was support from people right across the country.

"People you barely know or met once, but they would say 'I'm praying for you,'" Gonneville said.

A favourable outcome from a deadly virus, that Gonneville says is no joke.