"I'm still having COVID-19 symptoms weeks after I left hospital!"
Published 26 Jan 2021 • Updated 27 Jan 2021 • By Candice Salomé
Polaris, a member of Carenity France, was hospitalised, placed on a ventilator and put into an artificial coma because of COVID-19. Several weeks after his discharge from hospital, he is still experiencing symptoms that prevent him from returning to his normal life.
He shares his story with us on Carenity!
Hello Polaris, thank you for agreeing to share your story with us on Carenity!
First of all, could you tell us more about yourself?
I am a 72 year old man from Quebec, Canada, I have been married for 50 years and have three children and three grandchildren. Family life is no longer like it was before the pandemic, but I visit my children from time to time and they also visit us when the opportunity arises. My hobby is working with computers, I often help out neighbours, friends and my children when they have a technical problem. I am now retired but have worked all my life as a recreational vehicle mechanic: I've worked on ATVs, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, outboard motors, lawnmowers, chainsaws, etc...
You contracted COVID-19 and were hospitalised. Could you tell us about the symptoms you experienced and the reasons for your hospitalisation?
Getting COVID-19 was a very difficult experience for me. You think you have a nasty flu, but a flu is nothing compared to COVID-19. You have a high fever, extreme fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, headache, loss of taste and smell, but the worst thing is difficulty breathing - just talking was causing shortness of breath! I had chest pains and also some loss of motor skills. I was hospitalised for 28 days, put on a ventilator and placed in an artificial coma.
How was your stay in hospital? What kind of care did you receive? What were the "conditions" in the ward in which you were admitted?
I had to go to hospital by ambulance and I was taken care of as soon as I arrived at the hospital centre. I was immediately quarantined in a room by myself. I was given a COVID-19 test and as my condition continued to deteriorate I was put on a respirator and put into a coma. I don't know what happened during the days I was in the coma and I can't even tell you how many days I was kept in this artificial coma. When I came out of the coma I was a little lost. One thing is for sure, I was lucky to get through it.
You say you have been experiencing COVID-19 symptoms for several weeks after leaving hospital. Could you tell us a bit more about this?
It's been over a month since I got home and I still have COVID symptoms. I still can't smell or taste the way I used to. I still feel tired and have headaches, breathing problems, concentration and memory problems, shortness of breath and joint pain.
What do the doctors say? Were you told about Long-haul COVID?
My doctor says that with time all these long-haul COVID symptoms will eventually go away, but he doesn't know how long it can take: 2 months, 6 months, maybe more, he can't say for sure!
Are these persistent symptoms having an impact on your daily life? If so, in what way?
My life has completely changed! The smallest effort feels like an 8-hour working day without interruption! Climbing stairs has become almost impossible. Before, I used to regularly walk 5 kilometres. Today, after walking for 5 minutes, I have to stop and rest.
Do you have any other chronic conditions? Has COVID-19 had an impact on your care for this/these other condition(s)?
I have end-stage kidney failure and am on dialysis. COVID-19 has not had an impact on my illness. Even in a coma, I was on peritoneal dialysis every night.
Before contracting COVID-19, had you been following the barrier measures (wearing a mask, washing your hands, social distancing, etc.)? Has this changed since?
I wondered how and where I could get COVID-19 because I have always respected the barrier gestures.
Have you been or will you be vaccinated against COVID-19? What would you like to tell people who are against the vaccine?
I will definitely get vaccinated when it is my turn. I often tell people who are against the vaccine, that the day they catch this virus, they will want to get vaccinated. And those who think there is a chip in the vaccine to spy on them watch too many spy films! Getting vaccinated is both a responsibility and a way to protect us and our loved ones. I think vaccination should be compulsory!
Finally, what would you like to say to the Carenity members reading?
I would just like to say that COVID-19 should not be taken lightly. In Quebec, it is killing between 40 and 60 people a day! And getting vaccinated is the best way to ensure that one day COVID-19 will be eliminated and we can get back to normal life.
Any final words?
I hope that my answers will make Carenity members see that COVID-19 is dangerous and that the long-haul symptoms of this virus are unbearable, painful and difficult for the morale.
Answering this short questionnaire was a pleasure for me! I hope to change the opinion of many people who think that COVID-19 is nothing more than a bad flu. We just have to look at the results from the USA, they have done very little and they are seeing almost 4000 deaths a day.
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