I found Lung Sask's COVID-19 support group on Facebook and it's helped tremendously. Reading the articles and knowing I'm not alone. Reading survivor stories and giving support helps heal me.
"I contracted COVID-19 at work. Someone had come in while infectious; infecting myself, our bartender, and my boss. On March 22nd, I woke up and had a hard time breathing. I called 911 and was rushed to Regina General Hospital. My vitals slowly dropped over a few days and I couldn't walk without assistance. The nurses were incredibly worried and eventually they stopped giving me fluids and food. At this point, I was moved to the intensive care unit (ICU).
The ICU was a living nightmare and I was scared I was going to die. I was put into a medical coma and each day the medical team would wake me to see what functions I had. I believe they were also checking for signs of stroke as I had a blood clot in one of my lungs.
One day a respiratory therapist came to see me. He told me he was confident in my improvement and would pull put the intubation tube out if I was ready. I squeezed his hand to say yes. He pulled the intubation tube out and immediately placed high-flow oxygen in place. He told me to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. When it worked, he cheered!
After a day of monitoring to ensure I would not relapse, I was moved to the COVID ward. The medical team decreased my oxygen slowly over a few days. Eventually I was back on regular nose piece oxygen and I was then able to sleep peacefully. When I was no longer deemed infectious physiotherapy came to work with me.
On April 9th I was discharged and I know the doctors and nurses were shocked at my recovery. I was sent home with an oxygen concentrator, blood thinners, and equipment for bathing and walking. I used the walker for about two weeks, walking around the block with the oxygen concentrator to get my strength and mobility back.
To wean myself off the oxygen, I would turn the oxygen off for a few hours and only use it when I was uncomfortable. One day I forgot to sleep with it on, and I woke up alive! I checked my oximeter and I was fine. At this point, I was only able to walk 1,000 steps a day without oxygen but eventually, I started to take more and more steps, carrying oxygen in my bag in case I got winded. I am now walking 20,000 steps a day.
These days I feel mostly myself, but I have to be extra careful as my lungs are still in rough shape. I also still suffer from brain fog. My doctor said I have the lungs of a 50-year-old now. I got the Prevnar vaccine for pneumonia and will look at the shingles vaccine in February to help protect myself. I hope my lungs get better but I’m learning to live with my condition. As soon as I could, I got the COVID-19 vaccine. I cried with joy when I got my shot. Everyone who can get vaccinated needs to get it as anyone is susceptible to this virus and you never know how you will react."