Recovered from COVID-19, 74-year-old DJ talks about hope, healing and gratitude

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 18:22:09-04

SOUTHFIELD (WXYZ) — Arlis "Skip" Swaker, 74, is a DJ and an active senior citizen, and even after he became weak and out of breath, he was stunned when doctors diagnosed him with COVID-19.

"I'm here because of God's grace and your prayers," Skip said on a video he made before being discharged from Pioneer Specialty Hospital in Pontiac.

Skip was on a ventilator for weeks, and said he doesn't remember anything after being admitted to a Farmington Hills hospital in mid-March.

Skip was in an induced coma and he remembers waking up in Pioneer on May 7. Skip calls the time in between his "adventures with God."

"I didn't see bright lights or anyone standing in the corner with wings and all that, but I did see God," he said. "It was unbelievable to be up and looking down at yourself with God talking to you."

And when it comes to surviving COVID-19, the deck was stacked against Skip.

The grandfather has hypertension, sarcoidosis, and has survived cancer and a heart attack.

"My doctors are calling me a miracle man," Skip said. "I'm sure at one point during my during my adventure, I was clinically dead. They just didn't pronounce me dead."

The nurses at Pioneer kept in close contact with Skip's children who gave them pictures of him and the family and details about his life so they could talk to him even when he was sedated about his life, loved ones, and his favorite movie, Tombstone.

"He's a miracle," said Megan Henson, Pioneer's Director of Nursing, as she sat near Skip. "There is hope sitting right here."

Megan and Skip's daughter, Julie, still talk often.

"She's adopted," Skip said. "She's in the family. She can come to the barbecue and she ain't got to bring nothing. Just come and have a seat."