A nursing assistant who has lost the use of her voice in addition to having speech problems since her infection is now followed in speech therapy, where she is still learning to speak again, seven months later.
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“My head is all there, I would like to say certain words and sounds, but it doesn’t come out like it used to. It destabilizes me enormously, ”says Marie-Isabelle Marchand.
Laval’s nursing assistant contracted the coronavirus at her workplace in mid-April. Devastated, the 53-year-old woman was bedridden for more than three months.
She saw her muscle mass melt away, in addition to losing ten pounds.
Her symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain continued well beyond the acute phase.
On May 29, weeks after her positive test, she was even hospitalized for half a day.
” I did not feel well. I was out of breath and my oxygen saturation was decreasing. It finally took 14 hours to stabilize with respiratory therapy treatments, ”she explains.
But the next day, she woke up and was no longer speaking.
“No sound was coming out of my mouth. I panicked, ”she recalls.
The nursing assistant in neurology did a test that she knows well: she tried to extinguish a candle by blowing on it, in vain since it lacked strength.
“I passed a variety of tests [médicaux]. At the respiratory level, my diaphragm was so weak that the sound could no longer be propelled, ”reports the one who suffered from asthma before contracting the virus.
A hot potato
She has therefore been followed since August by a speech therapist. She needs to do one hour of exercise every day.
“When I speak, it sounds like I have a hot potato in my mouth. I do phonetics to relearn certain sounds, like “ch”, “r” and “s”. These days I read aloud a lot, ”she describes in a slightly choppy voice.
As his way of expressing himself is altered, the speech therapist must rely on the message from his telephone answering machine to help him find his voice and the same speech as before his infection with the coronavirus.
Tying your shoes …
Mme Marchand is also followed three times a week in occupational therapy to stimulate his cognitive capacities as well as in physiotherapy to readjust his body to his daily work as a nursing assistant.
“At first, I was no longer able to tie my shoes or climb stairs. Now I can take my dog for a walk, ”she hisses.
Before she got sick, she used to train a few times a week and go jogging.
Marie-Isabelle Marchand is also grappling with “excruciating” problems of concentration and memory.
She, who had never had a smartphone, recently got one to help her in this new reality.
“To remind me of my appointments, I set alarms. I use the Notes app to make to-do lists. But that’s not me, ”she says, adding that she can’t do two things at the same time.
Despite all these consequences, she insisted on returning to work for 12 hours a week. His tasks have obviously been adapted to his condition.
“With these three mornings [au travail] and my rehabilitation, I push myself to the maximum of my abilities with the hope of getting back to my normal daily life, ”says the lady, who has been suffering from sequelae for seven months now.
She rejoices over every little victory, even though there are days when she finds her recovery is not going fast enough.
“I have waves sometimes, but I put my focus on my evolution. At least people understand me when I speak, which they didn’t at first, ”she blurted out optimistically.