There are still many unknown questions about Coronavirus. Especially about the remedy for the patients. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 80 per cent of Covid-19 patients experience mild symptoms. How about the rest? What are other patients experiencing? How do they fight back COVID-19?
I interviewed a patient who recently recovered from COVID-19, a 49-year-old living in the Netherlands, talked about how he experienced the coronavirus.
1. Where do you think you got infected?
Along with 15 other men, I went on a ski-trip to Ischgl in Austria (7-14 March). That is where all of us got the symptoms.
2. What was the first sign of the disease?
Within 3 days, 6 men got the first symptoms: fever, dry cough and lack of taste and smell.
3. When did you decide to go to the hospital?
We stayed until Friday the 13rd in Ischgl and drove home that day. We decided and arranged with our families that 6 of us would go in quarantine in my house to avoid contamination of others. My wife could temporarily move into the house of one of the other ladies. That weekend symptoms got worse for everybody, but from Tuesday onwards, 5 men got better and stayed till the next Sunday before going back to their families. However in my case, it got even worse, the fever went above 39 degrees and really short of breath. Thursday evening I called the local family doctor (‘huisarts’) and after a short examination, he immediately sent me to the hospital.
4. How was the hospitalization process?
We hear that is challenging to get admitted to hospital, How did it go for you, can you tell me a little bit?
As long as people go via the family doctor then acceptance by the hospital should not be an issue. Only when you try to go there yourselves based on your own diagnose they will not accept you easily. This to avoid everybody showing up at the emergency posts.
5. Has anyone else in the family caught coronavirus from you?
No, I stayed in the hospital for 10 days, no visitors and after I was discharged, I needed to go into strict isolation in my own attic for another 2 weeks. Family only delivering food and drinks keeping a safe distance. When I used the bathroom everything that I touched would be carefully cleaned afterwards.
6. What did you experience emotionally during this process? (Being alone in the hospital etc. Ups and downs).
The first 3 days were terrible as the virus kept on making things worse. I was depressed and could/would not eat. Around the 5th day, I got better, most likely due to the antibiotics for the bacterial lung pneumonia and the experimental Chloroquine medicine for the coronavirus. Indeed I was alone in my room, strictly separated from other COVID patients. A couple of times per day healthcare personnel in fully protected clothing came in to check my status, bring food and disinfect the room. There was always time for a quick chat. Thanks to social media and WhatsApp video, I kept contact with my family, many friends and colleagues. I really appreciated that!
7. Has there been an emotional and/or physical change in your life after the illness?
Unfortunately, I also saw ‘old’ people in other rooms that had little to no chance of getting better. At least two were visited for a few hours by relatives to say goodbye/farewell….
Even experienced nurses burst into tears, as this is not what they have been trained for. They cannot actively cure people, there is no medicine yet, it’s just “sit and wait”…
So I came close to all the misery and saw the ugly side of this pandemic. Luckily most people only see the daily numbers on the news or hear stories from others and in many cases, it’s just a mild to heavy kind of flu.
Physical change…I lost over 7 kg again, which is good. Now every day I walk at least 5 km and keep track of my nutrition. More physical exercise is currently not possible yet as my lungs are still recovering. According to the doctors, the lungs affected by pneumonia will take 8 to 10 weeks to regain capacity again.
But I’m very glad to be in this shape again, going another 50 years 😉
Interview by Ayşenur Kuran, freelance social media specialist and blogger @beyimgocu.com