I could hardly breath

Photo: Amira Ruslan

My lungs were severely affected, says former patient

By Nurhafizah Tan

KUALA LUMPUR: Due to Covid-19, half of her lungs are now not functioning properly and the condition is expected to last forever as it is almost impossible for her to recover fully.

This is the health problem faced by administrative executive Amira Ruslan, 29, a former Covid-19 stage five patient, who had to fight for her life for 33 days, including going through induced coma for nine days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sungai Buloh Hospital, after she was confirmed positive on Jan 7.

“My lungs were severely affected and are now functioning at about 48 per cent capacity. According to doctors, my lungs will not be able to perform normally and I will no longer be able to be as active as before.

“This long Covid syndrome is affecting my daily routine, talking makes me tired and I get easily exhausted when doing simple tasks like hanging out clothes to dry,” she told Bernama recently.

Amira, who has never suffered from any serious illness said, she did not expect the virus which has been taken lightly by certain quarters, can have a lasting impact on patients like her, who now has to travel to and fro hospital for respiratory physiotherapy treatment.

On top of that, she could still feel the pain from the intubation procedure where a tube was inserted through the mouth down into the trachea, apart from feeling mentally slow and fuzzy from the medication side effects.

“I can still remember the unbearable pain I had to endure when a health worker had to move me to another bed while the tube was inserted through the trachea into the lungs,” she said.

“Recalling the time before she was put into induced coma, Amira, the second of three siblings said, she was given the opportunity to talk to her mother via video call.

“The doctor told me, if anything happens to me, this is my final conversation with my mother. When I asked my mother for her forgiveness, she kept wailing and sobbing pleading me to remain strong and that she will be outside there waiting for me.

“At that time, there were two things on my mind, first my mother, the second was when I wake up, will I still be here or in another world,” she said adding that she woke up from coma on Jan 28.

The nine days in coma was a lesson for her as she realised how lucky it was for her to be alive after going through a critical phase.

“Being in coma is like going through a long and intense dream, where you are in a foreign place and there is darkness all around and you keep walking and running to find a way out,” she said.

According to her family, while in a coma, her blood oxygen level dropped to 60 per cent and the doctor treating her immediately called her mother to inform of the situation and to pray for a miracle.

Thanks to family members’ prayers, the Johor lass was given a second chance to live and be with her loved ones again, despite having to adjust to the post-Covid health conditions.

She used to be active, busily moving about and was able to lift heavy loads before this, but now her movements are limited, she gets tired very quickly and still suffers pain, especially in the chest.

Amira’s advice to the public after her harrowing experience is to always be vigilant to prevent from getting infected by the virus that has now claimed millions of lives around the world.

“Covid-19 is real and from what I see, its effects on each individual varies and you just won’t know what is going to happen,” she said while urging everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible to enable the country to be free from the pandemic. – Bernama