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Ivan Neville recalls battle with COVID-19

“I knew within those first few days something was wrong, and I didn’t think it was a regular flu,” said Neville.

Well known New Orleans musician Ivan Neville is no stranger to a spotlight, but the one shinning on him now, because of coronavirus, is one he never wants to play out again.

‘I’ve had the flu, the cold and I’ve had pneumonia and all of that,” said Neville. “This is not that. You don’t want this.”

It all started after a work trip to New York in mid-March. After he got back to Louisiana, he had a fever.

“I knew within those first few days something was wrong, and I didn’t think it was a regular flu,” said Neville.

He was diagnosed with coronavirus in early April, a medical battle that also included pneumonia. It was a combination that would lead to a month-long isolation with ups and downs.

“I didn’t really have the breathing problems early on. I had the fever and the low oxygen levels. The breathing came later, when I thought I was starting to feel better,” said Neville.

At 60-years-old, with a past of addiction, now 21 years clean and sober, Neville says there were times he got worried, especially being part of a demographic hit harder than others.

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“I’ve been through a lot in my life. I’ve been through some serious trials and tribulations and now, this thing is going to come and get me. I’m like ‘no, I don’t want to do that.’ I was scared,” Neville.

Neville says he was fortunate to not have to spend time in the hospital. Thanks to a connection, an oxygen machine was delivered to his home. It’s a luxury he knows not everyone gets.

“I knew someone, a friend of a friend hooked me up and it was a hook up. I got an oxygen machine brought to my house rather than having to lie in the hospital hooked up to something,” said Neville.

Using spirituality and his six-year-old son as inspiration to fight through the darker times, Neville also turned to what he knows best, live streaming solo concerts online through his band Dumstaphunk’s Facebook page.

“Unbeknownst to me, it was helping my lungs because I had learned also during this process to do some breathing exercises,” said Neville.

Small exercises to get back to the music.

“I feel blessed and grateful that I’ve come out on the other side of this,” said Neville.

Neville’s girlfriend also contracted coronavirus and has since recovered. His message to others who are recovering, is if you have the strength, get up, walk around and try some breathing exercises.