We had the good fortune of connecting with Lequawn James and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lequawn, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want my legacy to be that I was the hardest working person they have ever known, that I never cut corners, I did things the right way, that I taught them that anything is possible with hardwork and consistency, as well as believing in yourself. I want people to remember how I went above and beyond for all of my patients, how I strived for excellence, how I worked countless hours to make sure my patients are taken care of, to make my patients feel like a person, not a number. I want people to remember how much I care about them, how much I care about what I do, and how I was indeed their Gentle Giant.
What should our readers know about your business?
I actually didn’t think I was going to be here. Let me tell you why. In March of 2019, I was admitted to the hospital for what was known as bilateral Pneumonia only to find out that it was Covid-19. At the time of my admittance, the media made it clear that patrons 55 and older with comorbidities were the genre of people to acquire the disease. At the time of my admittance, there were no masks worn, and no reports of patients under the age of 30 to be admitted to the hospital. At the time, in Georgia, there were 100 or less positive Covid cases. Before getting sick, I was the picture of health. I have no co-morbidities, I play sports several times a week, as well as workout 6 or 7 days a week, along with a health diet regimen. I’m sure you, like many, wonder how is this even possible. Even today I still wonder the same. From the ER I was admitted to the floor for observation and getting antibiotics, and tylenol around the clock to shake my fever, sweats, and intense migraines. within 24 hours I started develop severe shortness of breath, needed a nasal cannula, then progressed to needing a oxygen Mask. This was still not enough. At that point the staff decided that I was far to sick to stay on the floor. Later I was told that I was going to the ICU so that I could be managed closely.
Once I got to the ICU, the doctors told me that because I was not breathing well on my own, that I had to be intubated. Intubation means you can no longer breath on your own, so a tube is inserted into the esophagus, you’re “supposed to be sedated” and the tube breaths for you. they were basically shutting down my body to help it heal itself.
This was beyond the worse news I could have recieved at the time. As a former ER nurse and having to intubate patients myself, I knew that things took a turn for the worse. Above all else I begin to get teary eyed, scared, not knowing if I would actually wake up, or for how long I would be down. The thought that I could die alone really scared me. I thought, I didn’t deserve this, why me?
So I was then intubated, later to find out I was awake. Awake with a tube down my throat you ask? Well my resting heart rate is so low that any of the medications for sedation brought my heartrate down to critical numbers, so I was awake and intubated for 3 days. I could remember watching what seemed like a million shows of NCIS SVU, and the blade series. To be awake and intubated meant you felt every ounce of pain that the tube caused.
After 3 days the doctors decided they wanted to take out the tube to see how I could breath on my own. I was so ready for this to happen because I couldn’t do it anymore. My throat had been killing me at that point, not to mention the two scares where my tube got clogged and I couldn’t breath for about 20 seconds. Anyway, the tube came out and I was observed for two hours, respiratory checked my lung capacity, and the speech pathologist came to check my gag reflex and swallowing. at this point all i could do was shake my head to respond because the tube damaged my throat it was too painful to talk.
i was then released to an observation unit for several days. At this point I lost all of my strength, needed help walking as well as bathing. It was defintely a humbling experience I would never forget. I will never forget the one nurse who bathed me the entire stay in the hospital. I remember how awful I smelled. The though of not being able to bath yourself, using a walker to get up, or falling down multiple times while trying to get up, I will never forget.
But guess what, I continued to push myself to get stronger, to walk on my own, to bath and feed myself to the point where I was finally able to go home.
Being at home alone was a struggle. I was so weak, it still took multiple attempts to get out of bed, I was still dealing with the damaged throat and not talking, no appetite, and night sweats that caused me to change my sheets multiple times a night. Not only that my breathing was still not good. I had to retrain my lung expansion with the incentive spirometer. I will tell you it took everything I had to work myself back to full strength. It was like the experience of a baby learning how to walk again in my recovery back to full health.
Being completely alone for several weeks taught me that I wanted more out of life. I wanted to be the reason patients are living optimally and preventing catastrophic events in their health from coming about.
Every since i was in high school, I was called the gentle giant. When I won play of the year, they called me gentle giant, when I was named all american they also called me gentle giant. Many of my patients who I had taken care of called me gentle giant. I felt it was only fitting to call my business that.
The toughest thing or me with starting my business is quitting jobs that I loved and betting on myself. Having faith that through my experiences and my care for people that I could build and sustain an awesome practice of my own. Of course there are challenges. Some people hate to see others succeed but you have to remain true to yourself and your beliefs.
In all of this, I just want to leave a message through my actions that tomorrow is not promised, if you have a dream, chase it, make it reality. Anything is possible with hardwork and consistency, as well as belief in oneself.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If someone was visiting the city I would have them check out the Football Museum, African American Museum, the belt line, go to Ponce City market, hit the outlet malls, go to Amicola Falls for a good nature hike, Stone Mountain, and go to the amazing sporting events like the Atlanta Hawks, Dream, Falcons, and United Soccer team.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would say I want to give a shoutout to my number one and close number two fan. Those two people are my mother and twin brother. They have always instilled in me the courage when I didn’t believe in myself. Gave my advice when I needed, a hug when I needed and have always been there. Despite living in different cities, we talk almost daily as if we are a lot closer than 3.5 hours apart. I wouldn’t be here today without their love, support, and gratitude.
Instagram: quawnjames gentlegiantcare
Facebook: quawn james
Taylor Mclendon Nicholas Borth Denise Gray Scott Mitchell Melissa Romero