Lingo with his extempo rival Gypsy.

Having undergone treatment after contracting Covid-19, extempo champion the Mighty Lingo (Joseph Vautor-La Placeliere) was discharged from Arima Hospital, on November 2. Yesterday, he told the Kitch aree he continues to have problems breathing and needs to rest if he is to fully recuperate. He remains quarantined and continues therapy.

Last Friday Lingo, 50, who is visually impaired, also said he had made two attempts to take the vaccine but was unsuccessful. He is prepared to take the Pfizer vaccine within three months time. He was said he was “upset” that President of the Blind Welfare Association, Kenneth Suratt refuses to apologise and retract his “insensitive comment about him not wanting to take the vaccine.

Lingo was discharged from the Arima General Hospital, in time for his second wedding anniversary that he and his wife Chanelle Watch celebrated with a simple “quarantine dinner” at their Arima home.

He also said he is unable to consume dairy products and his diet must consist of hearty servings of fruits, vegetables and water.

‘I’m doing better’

In a brief phone interview, Lingo said: “I am doing better although I still have problems breathing, but it’s nothing that requires hospitalisation. I just have to take the therapy, rest and recuperate.”

Last Tuesday, Lingo said: “I don’t have a problem taking the vaccine. I never refused to take the vaccine. That’s a lie. I am prepared to take the Pfizer vaccine within three months time. I think Suratt should apologise.”

Lingo also said he was aware of the Delta encroachment. “Right now I am home, not going to work,” he added. “But I will be worried, when I have to go out and return to work.”

Two attempts to get vaccinated

Lingo, said he made a first attempt to take the vaccine at Sangre Grande. His second attempt was around October 25, which coincidentally was the same day he fell ill, after contracting Covid-19. “I made two attempts to get the vaccine,” he said. “When I went to Sangre Grande, I was snubbed. The woman refused to hold my hand. I told her I am blind and need help to see where I am going. I did not get any assistance. Darian Marcelle (of the National Carnival Commission [NCC]) tried to help me. It was nice of him to try and help but it did not work out. Afterward, they called and apologised and did arrange for me to return to get the vaccine.”

Lingo added: “ I was preparing to return for the second time around October 25. I got dressed to go for the vaccine. It was the same day I fell ill. Now, I have to wait about three months to take the vaccine. I would prefer the Pfizer.”

Lingo also said he felt he had contracted Covid-19 at the Blind Welfare Association. He said: “In all honesty, we were working on rotation. I have strong reason to believe I contracted Covid-19 there. During the week, we were there, one of the workers who was not on rotation came out. We have reason to believe we got it at the Association because they were not observing proper protocols. They were no using the temperature gauges nor ensuring people sanistised before going upstairs.”

Lingo also said he was never sent to a step-down facility. He thanked the doctors and nurses Arima hospital who cared for him during his bout of illness.

“I never went to a step-down facility. I just want to say thanks to everyone...all the doctors and nurses at Arima. I thank the artistes and calypsonians who sent me get-well wishes. I thank my wife who stood by me. I was praying in the hospital. I am always praying. Now that I am out, I am still praying,” said Lingo.

Battling for my life

Reflecting upon his medical condition, Mighty Lingo said: “I was battling for my life. It was a bad day. I had difficulty breathing. Inhaling and exhaling was tough. I had to keep the oxygen mask on at all times. Not even my wife knew how ill I was. I did not want to scare her.”

Asked about his recuperation, Lingo added: “It’s a slow process. I am still wobbly. I am eating. Getting better. I had a hearty breakfast with eggs, lettuce and cucumber. I can’t have any dairy products. It might be a good thing. I might lose some weight. I have to be selective and add more fruits and vegetables.

“ When I came home, I could have had a sandwich for my second anniversary. I was just glad to be discharged. Just happy to be back home. But my wife was extra nice and cooked a delicious “quarantine dinner” for me. I thought given the time she had to do it, it was elaborate. She insisted I eat something of substance. It was the latest I ever ate dinner, around 11 p.m. but I thank her for her “sweet han”.

Chanelle said: “The anniversary passed nicely. I’m glad he’s home. I will make some lentil soup. He’s moving around. He’s walking. He will start coughing if he gets excited. But he’s getting there.”

Welfare Officer Carlston Kerr said he will continue to check in on Lingo and assist wherever possible. NCC Chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters said: “I am extremely happy he’s out. I will do my best to help him. He’s a strong soldier.”

About 1,000 in the blind community offered vaccines

When contacted last Tuesday, Suratt said: “I said he was not vaccinated. Blind Welfare offered the opportunity to about 1,000 people and some refused. It’s their right to refuse. We gave them time off and provided transport. We obeyed all the protocols and provided all employees with $2,100 to get PPE (personal protecive equipemnt) and uniform allowance, including Lingo.

“It’s good news he’s out. I wish him a speedy recovery. I hope he can return to work as soon as possible. We can have a drink for Christmas,” added Suratt.


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