A nurse from Montérégie who is still suffering from serious after-effects four months after contracting COVID-19 is urging Quebecers to take the threat of coronavirus seriously.
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“I should move around with a cane, but I lack the strength to hold it. The ten steps to go from the living room to the bathroom, it is painful. Getting up and sitting down is difficult. This has been my daily life since June, ”breathes Marie-France Lemay, exasperated.
The 54-year-old nursing assistant contracted the disease almost four months ago. Since then, pain in the muscles and joints tugged on her constantly. She experiences intense fatigue, often forcing her to sleep 14 hours a day. Sometimes she has so much no strength that her spouse has to cut his steak for her so that she can eat it.
Not a flu
Stubborn after-effects that plague his quality of life and his morale. This is why she calls on Quebeckers to follow health instructions and protect themselves from the virus, because for her, the coronavirus “is not a flu”.
From the start of the pandemic, Ms. Lemay found herself treating patients with the disease in a unit at the Suroît Hospital in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.
She was at the bedside of 21 hospital patients at the same time, suffocating under protective equipment and no longer counting overtime.
“Seeing the coronavirus and hearing about it is not the same thing […] people are unaware of the risks, ”she said.
Because despite all her precautions, she was also infected after months of being in close contact with the virus.
Not hospitalized but …
The 50-year-old went through the days of fever, she was breathing hard, but she did not need to be hospitalized. She was counting the days, telling herself that after two weeks she would have passed through the infection.
But the fatigue, aches and pains, and even shortness of breath persisted, even when she recovered her taste and smell.
She likens COVID-19 to Russian roulette. She has seen colleagues experience no symptoms. Some were hit even harder than she did, but recovered later.
Marie-France Lemay emphasizes that she was active and in perfect health before being infected.
Today, she has to choose between taking a short walk outside or taking a shower, as she lacks energy for both.
Doctors are prescribing her to rest, not knowing how to cure her and when the aftereffects might go away.
“It’s starting to take a long time,” she exasperates, adding that she and her partner have decided to isolate themselves in their chalet in the Laurentians.
As she is physically unable to return to work, she thinks of her colleagues who must face the second wave. She fears that if the slackening continues and too many Quebecers contract the virus, the health system will collapse.
Last week, the Department of Health and Social Services counted more than 6,000 network workers absent because of the coronavirus. However, he was not able to specify how many have been missing for several months.
But the number of employees who are absent for illness or for administrative segregation has increased since September.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 16,583 confirmed cases among healthcare workers, including 13 deaths.