Vitoria (EFE).- Isabelle Delgado and David Rubén Fulguera are two patients with persistent covid who were infected before the confinement of March 14, 2020 and who three years later live with the disease: it hurts every day.
Isabelle, a spell checker from Getxo (Bizkaia), and David, a health worker at the Txagorritxu hospital (Vitoria), are the spokespersons for the Long Covid Euskal Herria Association. Both tell EFE about their fight with the persistent covid, which they estimate affects more than half a million people in Spain.
“On March 8, 2020, I started to feel bad and on March 11, I was already very sick,” says Isabelle. She called an epidemiologist who placed the date of contagion on February 29 because she was with many people that day at an event where there were Italian actors, the country where covid was detected in Europe.
She passed the coronavirus locked up in her home. “I was at home for 53 days, I had pneumonia. They were very distressing moments, every day I was more depleted. I watched the news, there was talk of deaths, images of hospitals, but nobody explained anything, ”she recounts.
Isabelle and David, sick with persistent covis. EFE/L.Rico
“I thought my son was going to see me die”
His only company was his 12-year-old son and all he could do was sit in a chair with his head twisted. “My son used to put wet towels on me to withstand the drill that he had in his head,” Isabelle recalls that she believed that her son was going to have to watch her die there with no one to take care of her.
David worked at the Vitoria hospital in Santiago and his official date of infection was March 13, but a week before he began to have symptoms of weakness. He had to spend 46 days at home, isolated.
“In fact, they did the first PCR on me on the eleventh day, after I contacted them, to tell them if they were going to wait for the smell of death to come out from under the door to contact me,” he explains.
He had some “altragias -pain in the joints- impressive, headaches and tiredness. She was from the sofa to the bed and from the bed to the sofa. Imagine a flu in which you are three days as if a truck had passed over you, well multiplied by 10 ”.
One before and one after
The two have lived a before and after the disease. Isabelle swam every day, she had an intense social life, she knew a lot of people. She had gone to the doctor twice in her life, she had no previous pathologies, “she was very healthy.”
Now, three years later, it is not what he has left, it is what he has added: “There are symptoms that persist from the initial infection and other sequelae, organic damage. I have trigeminal neuralgia (a nerve of the face) that incapacitates me from pain every day, my left leg is very bad and I am already limping, I suffer from dyspnea (difficulty breathing) and fever every afternoon. Before the disease I was a powder and now only a little.
David for his part was an active person, he ran through the mountains, he was a mountaineer. In fact, before the pandemic he was organizing an expedition to go to Ojos del Salado (Andes), almost 7,000. Now the tired days are prolonged, he can’t even climb Gorbea and every now and then he has headaches.
They demand a sanitary protocol
Isabelle calls for a joint, unified protocol for Primary Care doctors. “If they don’t understand what’s happening to us… We don’t just ask for answers, we ask that they accompany us, that they don’t leave us aside. It cannot serve with a ‘I know you are sick, I have no solution and I’ll discharge you’”.
Last summer it was calculated that in Spain there could be half a million people affected by persistent covid, “we believe that now more. There is no accounting of the number of patients, little is said about the chronic, ”she denounces.
They assure that 80 percent of those affected are women, although curiously the patients who went to the ICU with a very severe picture of covid were mostly men. However now women prolong the disease longer.
David details that “every disease has a code. When the chronicity of the covid in Europe was accepted, a code was given, and there they already know which specialist to refer you to and how to deal with the symptoms that may appear. In Badalona a unified protocol is already applied ”, he reveals.
In the rest there is no unified criterion in Primary Care. “Here, those who have digestive symptoms are sent to the Digestive doctor but not as persistent covid. There are also no protocols or a multidisciplinary team to treat us ”.
The response from politicians is that it is a new disease. “New!… It’s already three years old,” criticizes David.
Recognition as occupational disease
Isabelle also points out that patients with persistent covid have problems getting it recognized as an occupational disease. “It is not usual. The toilets have had it a bit easier, but not easy either.
He considers that most of the people in the first wave were infected while working, so “it has to be treated not as a common disease but as a work accident.”
David, for his part, explains that he works because he can still do it, but “in the INSS (Social Security) they judge you as if you have nothing or downplaying what you have, giving up.”
In addition, both ask for prevention. “We are normal people, we don’t like to wear a mask, but the interiors are contaminated,” says Isabelle, who gives the recent international forum in Davos as an example, in which “the most influential people in the world protected themselves with PCR at the entrance, with air purifiers and EPA filters. If that made smart people, let’s all think a little bit, ”she warns. EFE