Welcome to the ward of a disease that doesn't exist
Hi, this time Wojtek here - Aga's husband. I will share with you the story that happened to our family in December 2020 - not that we were not expecting, because it is impossible not to think about the possibility of coronavirus infection in the era of the prevailing pandemic, but somehow it is different to plan / think / suppose than be on the front lines that is, in the very epicenter of events.
Now take it please deep breath. But it's really solid, like when you go outside in the morning in spring… Nice feeling when you do it and feel the freshness of the air flowing in through your nose and filling your lungs completely. Now imagine that you cannot do this because something internally is preventing you. Pain, discomfort, cough - blockage. You try a second time - similar. Yes: some people whose bodies have been infected by the coronavirus that mainly affects the respiratory tract feel this. In some people (as you can see, fortunately, the vast majority of cases) the infection is asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, but there are also cases - such as mine - that are "highly symptomatic". I would like to add that I am 36 years old, I do not smoke, I eat healthy as much as possible, I do not have diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart disease, coronary heart disease, asthma, oncological burden ... and I did not have a selected primary care physician. Yes. There are also such cases. But let's start at the beginning.
I don't know where or when I caught the coronavirus. We have 3 hypotheses, but I cannot confirm which one is the most likely. In the course of talking to the family, we came to the conclusion that it did not matter much. The milk has spilled and the investigation only deprives us of the much-needed energy to act for tomorrow. What may be important, however, is that you know there's enough we were serious about the epidemic and we took the available precautions while trying to live a normal life. Disinfection liquids always after entering the car, mainly disposable masks, disinfection of door handles and switches at home and in the office, disinfection of keyboards and mice, and meetings limited to practically zero.
Everyone has probably heard about the millions of symptoms that can occur after coronavirus infection. These are in a series of very obvious ones, resulting from the virus attacking nerve cells, such as loss or alteration of taste or smell. Nevertheless, after reading hundreds of reviews, you may already experience any symptom, from headache to diarrhea. My advice is this: a disturbing symptom there is something you haven't experienced before during infection. For me it was dizziness. I don't have anything like that. Later (1-2 days) there was such a burning / dry feeling in the nose around the sinuses. And there was no runny nose or sinus headache. I had a taste and smell too, maybe I had a slight feeling of unsalted dishes? I don't know how much self-suggestion and how much truth there was.
The symptoms weren't severe enough to make me think it was more than a cold. Nevertheless, feeling responsible and willing to make the best decisions, I want to make an appointment with a GP. Here is a small digression: if, like me, you do not have a chosen GP, do it when you are healthy. It turned out that I can choose a doctor online, but the declaration will take 2-3 days (sic!). The best method is to go to the facility and complete the declaration manually. Healthy people are admitted to the facility (temperature measurement), so if you have a fever, you will not see a doctor for 2-3 days, so a slight paradox. Anyway - an absurd situation, maybe it's my fault, because it's worth having a chosen GP.
The newly elected health care physician was very kind and ordered a COVID-19 smear. Right away, we also arranged a test for Aga, who was feeling worse and worse.
How does it look in practice?
You get a number with the order and make an appointment at any point. Note, here it is worth calling a few to find the fastest date. They ranged from 1 day to 5 days - and the sooner you find out, the faster you will react and the sooner the isolation / quarantine that started when you received your referral for the test (you can only leave for the test) lasts at least 10 days from the date of the positive result. After this time, it is said that most people have no trace of the virus left in the body. There is a devastation that we heal, but more on that.
The text message came in the morning informing about the smear result. You can log in either to the laboratory system or to patient.gov.pl: POSITIVE result. It tells you how long you've been insulated. An important aspect here - currently, even if you do the test privately, this information will still go to the system, so in fact it is not possible to get the result without informing the world about it.
Mamy pulse oximeterwhich we bought earlier as part of the "preparation". We have approx. 1 month supply including water, toilet paper and a full freezer. We have drugs and supplements, so full of hope We stay in isolation with our 3 and 6 year old, hoping for a nice family time together.
But wait a minute, Agnieszka's result is here and it's ... NEGATIVE. Error? Perhaps. Maybe not? In fact, my condition has worsened, Agnieszka is feeling weaker and weaker, and the children are kicking as usual.
The decision was made: I need to isolate myself, but how to do it in one house? We do not have a "spare" free apartment. You can't (1 bathroom, 1 kitchen - Mission Impossible). We google because we're pretty good at it. There is an idea: isolator. Everything makes sense, the topic only requires a referral from a primary care physician, which I get with the second teleportation. People who do not have the conditions to isolate themselves from a healthy family, and whose symptoms do not require hospitalization, can spend the infection time in a place such as an isolation room. NFZ pays and some establishments look nice and provide basic hotel conditions, including room service 3 times a day.
A good option for us, even though there was an isolation room in Mielno, which is 3-4 hours from our home. We joke that I'm going to have a vacation by the sea with Netflix. I can see that Aga is even a bit jealous of this potential relaxation, but well - if you have to, we are reasonable. Tomorrow I'm packing my bag and going. The problem is that in the morning I don't feel in my best shape. Maybe coffee, maybe ibuprofen and vitamin C? It is different, the fever begins to appear more and more intensely. I'm putting off my trip for the afternoon.
I pick up a phone call from the isolation room that was expecting my arrival: "Good morning, I have no good news We just got a letter from the Ministry of Health that they are closing us and we cannot accept the Lord". Fortunately, I was not 2 hours away from home after hearing this information.
Decision: I am staying at home for the time being because my condition is getting worse. Fever, fatigue and ... saturation, that is, the blood oxygen saturation measured by a pulse oximeter, sometimes worries. The more worrying that I bought a "better model with a medical certificate", so the level of confidence in the number it shows is high. A pulse oximeter is a relatively cheap device (about 100-300 PLN) that shows how well your blood is oxygenated. You can buy it on your own or get it "from the state" on request. Elderly people with a positive result pulse oximeters are sent automatically. According to the regulation of the Ministry of Health, referred to by medical workers, the saturation level which determined whether a patient requires hospitalization was lower than 90%. A healthy non-smoker has a saturation level of 97-99%, which we confirmed when we played with a new toy in "healthy times". Measurements for me: 91-92% ... in the morning 88% ... it gets weird. And it should be like this:
112. "Hello? We'd like to call an ambulance, dyspnoea, oxygen saturation level 88, COVID result: positive". The dispatcher gives the doctor's phone number to consult a quick teleport with Christmas care for the sick. We call, the doctor says that we need to call 112 again and call an ambulance, because there could be a bacterial infection and maybe an antibiotic is needed, and certainly tests and diagnostics.
The dispatcher, whom we call back, is disgusted with this turn of events and orders the ambulance with grace, but is unable to determine when the ambulance will arrive (sic!). 1 hour? 5 hours? He claims "it will be today". Strange, but what are our options? They arrived after about an hour. Saturation measurements lasted a few seconds, the result was "on the verge of the law", the question is whether I want to go to the hospital or not. Absurd question. Of course not, but I'm not supposed to know. Sure I don't want to. "Cheers" added the suggestions of rescuers: "Because there are no places, so I don't know how many hours we will bounce from hospital to hospital in this ambulance, maybe we will go to Słupsk or maybe Hel".
Yyyyy that where?
“You are over 39 degrees, hence dizzy and short of breath. Not from COVID-19. It's plain and simple. "
An injection of 2.5 g of Pyralgina and "it will be better". The lifeguard convinces us how lucky we have met him - so good, he didn't take us to the hospital, and people are dying there. If you say so, that's ok. I'm not getting into that it was the worst intramuscular injection (in the buttock), which you can imagine - Aga is a witness, and many have had one made. She was terrified, I was in pain for a long time after the injection, which lasted 2 seconds. Boom, trick.
Under pressure from paramedics, I stayed home. The persuasion was really strong. In my opinion, it is too strong and wrong, because as you read in a moment, the assessment of my health by the ambulance crew was incorrect - they didn't even listen to me. Unfortunately, we cannot leave it like that, because it can cost you many lives.
It's bad. Saturation in the morning 87-88% and somehow I do not want to be more. After consulting the results, we know that we need to go to the hospital quickly. But… we can't, because we have isolation and quarantine. Fortunately in misfortune our friend is a healer. In the morning he picks me up from home and we go to the hospital. 120 km / h through the city, I say slightly unaware that I took 1000 zlotys from my home, so if necessary, I will pay the fine - it should be enough. He says he thanks for the offer, but to tell you the truth, when the police are standing ... they won't stop anyway. Later she will come back to explain. Dear.
SOR right away, without bands and unnecessary crap, he took care of me super professionally, including helping me carry the bag, which I usually tear without problem. It's going somehow worse today. Computer, parameters, couch. Every now and then I hear the question if I am nervous. I don't know why they ask about it - it's not that bad, because I'm already in the hospital.
It turns out that apart from the saturation 88%, the pulse that I have ignored so far is also important. 120-125 beats per minute lying down is supposedly a lot. And another parameter: the number of breaths per minute. We don't usually measure this. Nothing. The doctor auscultates with a stethoscope and states that about 50% of the lungs, and I quote: "destroyed by COVID". WTF? How damaged? "You know, now we're going to have a tomo-computer (CT) scan to confirm. The changes are regressing, but adhesions, scars ...". What ??
Ok, a quick CT scan, which, contrary to appearances, was difficult, because how to hold your breath for 10 seconds? I almost held it, the radiologist says it was enough. CT score: 50-60% of changes. The doctor made a little mistake in auscultation, and let's remember that the paramedics did NOT listen to me completely the day before.
I was given an oxygen mask, my eyes opened and my mind lit up like three Red Bulls. I'm being admitted to the ward. Oxygen is so fun that I don't want to part with it anymore. We're going to the ward on a couch, with a huge bottle on the bed.
On site, the staff greets me with words that I will remember for the rest of my life: "Welcome to the ward of a disease that doesn't exist."
3 COVID floors, approx. 60 patients.
The first night in the hospital was a completely first night for me because I had never been to a hospital before. For the first time in my life I had a cannula. But it didn't matter anyway, because I had a clear mind and I was breathing reasonably normally thanks to the oxygen. Even so, I just couldn't imagine what will happen when they disconnect me. Now it's irrational, but somehow back then my mind revolved around the vision of walking everywhere with a cylinder. Because if the changes don't go back, what? Because young people also die? My roommate also turned out to be a problem. Nice old man, but unfortunately he was resigned and the expressions falling from his mouth: "terrible disease","it's time to die" whether "you'd better die already”- let's say delicately, they didn't fill me with optimism.
The changes in the lungs are large. The doctor has already informed me about the treatment plan: oxygen, steroids, healer's plasma (maybe 2 units). I don't think the Ebola drug (Remdesiwir) is anymore, because I got there quite late. This drug is said to inhibit viral multiplication in the early stages. It also has side effects. It's good to know what's going to happen.
The doctor also explained what happens in the hypoxic body: it is not that I will suffocate as if under water in 3 minutes. No, but long-term hypoxic organism (several days) there is acidified, For example, the kidneys and the heart are heavily burdened. In the first phase, I get a lot of oxygen (9 l / min) and a drip of electrolytes and potassium. A total of about 2 liters of drips on the first day. And you still want to drink, so 2 liters still orally. The color of the urine is far from straw yellow, which makes me realize the scale of the problem. You can see that my body has already worked badly.
To order plasma, the hospital must be sure of the blood group. It was too important that the declaration of an anoxic patient had any meaning, although I knew my blood type, of course. The test must additionally be done twice. Such a procedure, and fun. The ordered plasma from the blood donation center in Gdańsk arrived on the following day. Here is also a curiosity, because they have not seen the plasma of the ZERO blood group that I have in the ward yet. This group rarely finds its way to COVID wards, and not because it is not very popular - 37% of the population has one. Oh, RH + or RH- in the case of plasma does not matter. ZERO alone was enough. However, I do not feel well at night after taking plasma. Fever again, and she had been gone for several days. Probably the body's reaction and "something's going on."
Feel the improvement. A significant improvement. This includes being moved to a different room, suggested by the doctor who saw that a colleague in the room was not giving the waves I did, in short. From that moment on, staying in the hospital means improving efficiency and well-being every day. Toilet without oxygen, then shower without oxygen. You can also talk to the tenant about something other than death. Is beautifully.
Day 12 - Christmas Eve
I feel great. I don't know what the merit is anymore, because there are many components: I live, breathe without oxygen and have 95% saturation, my mother also recovers in the second hospital, Aga is able to cope alone at home with the children and despite her illness, she feels well ( I think I forgot to write earlier that she got sick and during my stay in the hospital she had a positive test result in another smear). I walk down the hall. I am brewing coffee for my roommate, which is not too much of an issue yet. I train with a bottle and a straw, I sleep on my stomach (the doctor suggested so).
I bought an oxygen concentrator for my home. The doctor suggested that it is good to have breathlessness. And here is an interesting topic: wards release patients when they are sure that… the patient at home will be fine. Because there is no return to the ward. They are not for negative test convalescents. And the pulmonary (pulmonary) units that have served such cases are most often converted into COVIDs. So if you are short of breath as a convalescent or negative person, help is harder to find.
W On Christmas Eve a decision is made - I have an oxygen concentrator at home, I can continue my oxygen therapy at home. They write me off, which we are all very happy about, because it is a chance for at least a bit of normality. Of course, Christmas Eve and so without extended family as usual, but in the group of three closest to me.
I have no experience with hospitals but the staff deserve a medal or two. I spent almost 2 weeks there, and the staff never let other patients complain about each other. At night people were screaming, delirious, tearing out cannulas, mistaking the bed for a toilet, forgetting where they were… The staff in overalls, FFP2 masks, helmets and two pairs of gloves took over everything, approaching patients with a sincere smile and empathy. Shock. No embarrassment, nervousness, or lecture.
Jokes, conversation, cleaning, new puncture, new drip. If the patient complained: "What is this woman yelling so much ?!", The nurses replied:"It's the poor lady, she doesn't know where she is, but I assure you that she's COVID is gone and she's going home tomorrow". It is worth adding that soldiers are also sent to COVID units. They do not puncture because they cannot, but they provide help with diapers, meals and deaths. Yes, there was this situation with me, interestingly enough, the person did not die of COVID. It had 98% saturation. The hospital cured COVID and restored lung function, but a host of other comorbidities made her go away.
Drugs and Supplements
Below I present what I took before, during and after my illness. I am deliberately not writing the dosage because I do not want to suggest it to you:
- Prevention against disease: Vitamin C, Vitamin D (separately because it reacts with C), garlic capsules, electrolytes, magnesium.
- Treatment at home: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, honey, ibuprofen, paracetamol, pyralgine.
- Treatment in the hospital: Oxygen therapy, electrolyte drips, potassium drips, convalescent plasma, steroids, Clexane (heparin), Vitamin D, zinc, Vitamixx probiotic, Dicoflor probiotic.
- Treatment recommended after leaving the hospital: Acard, IPP40, Dexamethazon.
Meals in the COVID ward
The first days I ate absolutely nothing, because the appetite with COVID is zero. What they brought was huge and I was wasting every meal. When my appetite returned (it turned out to be a matter of steroids), I was really shocked, how can you prepare 3 full meals for such a low price.
There was fresh bread, butter, ham, cheese, milk soup, porridge, jelly, jelly with fruit, hot sausage, cucumber soup, tomato soup, natural yoghurt, tea. The fact that my diet was general, diabetics had slightly poorer sets. Food is served in disposable containers, which was something new for me, because I still had a vision of distributing uncovered plates and cups, which in the hospital setting was not very appetizing for me.
Help for loved ones
I know without the help of family and friends we wouldn't be able to cope. Not that I would have died, but I can't imagine it at this point. I don't know what it would be like. My mother in the hospital, Agnieszka's mother at home, positive and very sick, our Nanny put away so as not to risk it, because she had not been ill before. Seemingly trivial matters, such as previously ordered parcels to parcel machines or water delivery to the hospital, when everyone is in isolation and quarantine. How? We did not even dare to ask healthy people to take something to the COVID ward, but there were friends who could do it and offered their help at the most difficult moment (endless THANK YOU). This always carries some risks, and the FFP1 disposable mask you wear, does not protect you but it protects others somewhat from getting more viral if you were sick and you didn't know it.
What to pack in a hospital for a COVID-19 patient?
Visiting the wards is of course prohibited, but purchases can be made through nurses. Below are a few things that were most important to me:
- water - you are very thirsty when you are sick. Breathing oxygen intensifies this effect. Buy 0.7 l water with a spout for easy drinking while lying down. There are at least 2-3 such bottles a day;
- mousses - fruit mousses for adults or those for babies worked well for me. You can eat lying down and it goes well;
- after a few days, when it was better, I was delighted with the fresh bread roll and the pickled cucumber that my generous wife had packed for me;
- toilet paper - in my hospital it was so gray and sharp - I did not even know that they still produce one, but still. There is nothing like white household paper;
- disinfectant liquid - self-disinfected hospital table, this is it;
- spirit - the disinfectant tastes poorly, and if you disinfect the cutlery with it, you eat it, spirit works much better;
- wet wipes soaked in clean water - I recommend WaterWipes;
- dry wipes.
One piece of advice for you
From the perspective of the whole situation, I believe that the biggest problem is the patient's awareness or the lack of it - when the condition is considered serious, and when it is not.
So far, I have called an ambulance three times in my life. They were always sudden, obvious situations. With COVID, without experience as a doctor (possibility of auscultation of the lungs) and access to quick tests, e.g. CRP, CT / X-ray (after all, you are isolated, you cannot go out), you will not be able to tell. The saturation test is definitely one of the most important things you can do. When calling for help, you have a specific number up your sleeve, which will tell the dispatcher whether you are "entitled" to an ambulance at all or in 5 hours.
You have that too, that you recognize the call to the emergency room as "the end of the world"? That gosh, you will cause so many problems, because what if they come and find out that we are exaggerating a bit? It's HARD, it's their job, it's your life, and you have one. It is your contributions in the ambulance that is the fuel that the contract with the paramedic is signed and he receives remuneration for it. Never hesitate to call for helpwhich you deserve, "because you may be exaggerating". What if not?
Currently, we are writing this postunfortunate enough to have places in hospitals and free ambulances, and in my opinion this is the most important thing at the moment - get help on time.
As a "healer", I have a reflection: I can see how much fear we have been living in for almost a year. We are all used to constantly informing everywhere about new infections, deaths and new restrictions, but in my opinion, the stress that accompanied us every day was slowly devastating us like a chronic disease. Some were more afraid for their health, others for their relatives, and still others for their businesses or jobs, which are now hardly certain in which industry.
You never know when you might get sick. It is impossible to predict how you will get sick. It is impossible to predict how you will react to the vaccination. Nobody can guarantee 100%. But it is certain that sooner or later the world as a population will deal with this virus, because people have not dealt with such diseases and problems. Nevertheless, each "number" published from the Ministry of Health is a daily personal tragedy of people who have families, children and responsibilities. I will not tell you how to proceed. Whether or not you are to obey the restrictions.
This post is more of a story for you if you don't know anyone who has met this disease and are curious about its course. Perhaps it will help you pay attention to disturbing symptoms, which, noticed early, will make you able to react faster and in an appropriate way if they appear in you or your loved ones. Maybe you will know how to help yourself, what devices are worth having at home. However, I wish you that this would not happen to you.
PS. If you have any questions, leave a comment below - I'll tell you about them all.
PPS. Continue posting if you feel that posting might help someone.