ReportageIf most patients hospitalized in intensive care recover after a long rehabilitation, some have neurological or psychological sequelae which are difficult to detect.
In their living room with its shelves cluttered with encyclopedias, art books and trinkets brought back from travel, Claude and his wife Evelyne are finally getting ready “To turn the page”. The Covid-19 fell on them by surprise, in August 2020. For her, it was only a bad cold, for him, the beginning of an obstacle course that only ends. Of his five weeks in intensive care at Bichat hospital, he has no memory, and little more of what happened before the arrival of help. “I went to fill up with gas, and I had a flat tire as I stepped onto the sidewalk. I must have already sounded good ”, smiles this septuagenarian who has grown since our last meeting in April.
When he wakes up, he is transferred to the Forcilles hospital (Seine-et-Marne), where he gradually learns to breathe again and regains a semblance of autonomy. The first few days pass in an agonizing fog. “Once I got there, and he said, ‘You know I had the Covid?’ He was rambling a lot “, testifies Evelyne, moved by thinking back to these moments. “He wasn’t sitting down, but kept saying he wanted to get out of here.” “ Little by little, Claude comes back to life, healing his blues shots with crosswords and football matches. The hardest ? “Being completely dependent on people for all daily activities”blows this former automotive engineer.
In the clinic where he is completing his convalescence, a physiotherapist promises him: “I’ll get you back on your feet.” “ “And he did! “ he emphasizes gratefully. The walker, the crutch, the first steps alone. When he finally got home, Evelyne hardly believed it. “I had a period when I was very stressed, I was always afraid that something happens to him “, she confides, emaciated in her long emerald green mesh dress. A little over a year after his first hospitalization, he’s almost recovered. A slight imbalance and some difficulty concentrating are the only scars of this obstacle course.
Leïla, she is still only at the beginning of the path. After a month in intensive care at Cochin hospital during the summer, she was transferred to the post-resuscitation rehabilitation service (SRPR) of Bligny hospital (Essonne), to relearn the basics of everyday life: drink, eat, talk, walk. When she arrived, she was still breathing with the help of a ventilator, which sent air into her lungs through a small opening created in the trachea (a procedure called “tracheostomy” in medical jargon). She can do without it now, but her lungs have not yet fully recovered. “And the voice is a little broken”, underlines the sixty-year-old, pointing to her throat.
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Life after the sheave for Covid-19: “What’s the worst that can happen to me?” Now it’s only gain ”