By the end of March I started to feel wrong with what seemed a sinusitis with a lot of mocus and fever. My doctor prescribed antibiotics, and I spent a whole week taking them. I took April 1st and 2nd off from work because I still wasn’t feeling totally OK…
On Monday April 4th I decided to go to the doctor (after an urgent telephone appointment) because the thing wasn’t improving, but it was going clearly downwards. Along that weekend the situation went worse, and on Monday I couldn’t stay focused on work: I was feeling ill and I only wanted to lay on the bed or on the sofa. The doctor immediately sent me to the hospital in an ambulance. It seemed to be a pneumonia caused by COVID.
The dyagnosis was confirmed in the hospital. I got the bug. At it was hitting hard.
The first week, until April 9th, started to be more and more confusing. I know all the ER places and boxes they got me into, then I was transferred to conventional ward, then pneumology, and there I totally lost track of time.
I asked for a priest assistance, and the corresponding anointing of the sick. I wasn’t afraid or in dispair, but I think it was what must be done in these cases. We cannot know when the Boss has our call time scheduled, and the best thing is to be always ready and prepared.
Those days and nights I had recurring nightmares in which they couldn’t give me a proper treatment because certain computer systems in the hospital didn’t work, and I was the only one that could fix them… It was mandatory to have deep GIT knowledge. Not sure about the requested experience in this job offer… I just know that the high fever and hipoxia are not good, and mixing them makes weird things in the brain…
I went from using oxygen nassal canula to using breathers. First, soft and kind ones. Then, hard and strong ones.
I think that it was on April 9th when I was finally transferred to the ICU (precisely, to the PACU, that in the Infanta Sofia Hospital is working as an additional ICU ward for COVID). I only remember that I was having a bit of milk and biscuits for afternoon stack and then I started coughing again and again trying to extract some oxygen from the air. And, after an endless transfer in stretcher throughout the hospital, I ended up having the whole ICU personnel over me “Don’t worry, don’t worry” while they took collars and rings from me, placed additional IVs and a urine catheter and set a breather which, fortunately, allowed me to take some oxygen into my blood.
From the April 10th morning, my birthday, I just remember a few isolated moments when the nurses from the ICU congratulated me and asked me about my family and kids. In the afternoon, they used a tablet to make a videocall with the family.
And thank God, and the intercession of hundreds of people who praid for me (and whom I won’t ever thank enough for those signs of affection), after that moment my body defences finally beated the flipping bug, and the slow but steady improvement started. No intubation nor sedation was needed, so the rehabilitation is going to be much quicker.
Step by step, thanks to CPAPs and high-flow breathers, I started again to be aware of reality, and established in the hard daily routine inside a COVID ICU. I cannot stop thank all the doctors, nurses and health visitors that strenously work for the good of the patients. According their personalities, they give patients not only the medical care that they need, but also the cuddles and gentle affections that need the awake patients to not fall into dispair, keep the hope and go forward bit by bit. Thank you all from here.
On April 20th, after keeping on with the positive evolution in my blood oxygen levels, I was transferred back to pneumology ward. The overall ICU situation was worse than the one I found ten days before, with more intubated and sedated patients than awaken ones. Please, take care from the bug: when it hits hard it’s no joke.
The biggest liberation when I went out from ICU was the silence. Only hearing your monitor, and knowing that if something beeps is your blood saturation level, or your pulse, or one your different machines… Not any of the ones from your neighbour, and being able to telling them apart and then feeling relaxed because that dizziness would be probably caused by your cervicals and not because your oxygen levels have went down.
Life in an hospital in COVID times is veeeery boring. No visits are allowed. So reading and mobile phone are the only possible entertainments.
In my case, pneumonia was improving a little bit every day. Activities that caused a great fatigue one day, weren’t that tiring two days later, and four days later could be performed with no much effort. On Monday April 26th they took the permanent monitorization away. I still required oxygen, but not a high flow breather.
On next day, I took my first shower (still seated) and I could go to the toilet by my own, connected to oxygen with a nassal canula, and fighting against the fatigue. And then, I was transferred to a shared room: first with outgoing partners that were ending their hospital stay, and then with incoming ones to which I desired the best luck in their battle against this bloody illness.
And then, patiently, day by day, with my daily corticoid shots, I was recovering strength and breath according the pneumonia was going away. Fortunately, it seemed that, according the CT scan, the COVID didn’t leave any clot behind.
Finally, on May 2nd, after removing oxygen little by little, the pneumology team discharged me from the hospital, without needing additional oxygen from home. I still needed to recover a bit longer from home, but that was definitely a different thing.
I only wish to reiterate my appreciation to the whole medical team that treated me and carried me through this long way, and all of you that have intercessed for my healing (I know that you’ve been quite a lot).
I have a pending pilgrimage.