After spending 65 days in the hospital, Luling resident Nichelle Richard-Ingram said she is finally feeling like herself.
“I’m feeling fine,” she said this week. “I couldn’t be doing better.”
Her glowing report ushers in a huge sigh of relief for her friends and family, who she said have been praying for her and supporting her during her lengthy coronavirus battle.
“I was in Slidell Memorial Hospital,” Ingram said of her hospital stay. “I was there for 65 days and intubated … it was hard to not have visitors because I needed to see my family members.”
Ingram’s mother, whom she lives with, also fought the virus.
“My mom wasn’t as severe,” Ingram said. “I believe I got it from work. I was scared, but I didn’t think I was going to die.”
While her COVID battle began with a mild fever and coughing, the fight for her life has left her with lingering physical handicaps. Even so, she is optimistic about a full recovery.
“I am currently walking with a walker and in physical therapy,” she said. “Everyone really needs to wear masks and be very careful, because this is not a joke.”
A benefit meal was planned Saturday for Ingram, something she said she was very thankful for.
“It means a lot,” she said. “I was surprised because I wasn’t expecting anyone to do that.”
The event took place at Jae Flem Catering & Event Planners LLC. Chicken and fish plates were sold, and nearly $10,000 was raised.
Ronjae Mott, who along with Terry Fleming owns and operates Jae Flem, said Ingram is part of a special group at his restaurant.
“We have a group of customers and I call them the Jae Flem Corner Queens,” he said. “They come in to eat every week and like to sit in the corner.”
Ingram’s lengthy and serious battle with coronavirus has meant she has been out of work for the past couple of months. She said because of health complications, as well as frequent doctor’s visits, it may be a few more months until she is able to return to work.
“We wanted to help her out financially, being she had a job prior to being hospitalized, and mostly we just love her,” Mott said. “Also, if the tables were turned, she would be on board helping out in some type of way.”
Mott said the successful benefit was made possible due to a committee, as well as the other Jae Flem Corner Queens, who all helped him plan and execute the event.
“This benefit turned into a major production,” he said. “The people showed up and showed out.”
Ingram’s childhood and elementary school friend Yaquelin Figueroa even flew in from New York to surprise Ingram and be a part of the special occasion.
“To God be the glory,” Mott said. “Thanks to everyone for helping me to fulfill this vision for our friend … it was a success and a blessing.”