‘Thought I had a piece of meat, not the throat’: five stories of people who recovered from coronavirus

How it feels to see a month of quarantine doctors and the courier? Not afraid to get infected again? Is it hard to prepare Breakfast after an illness? What to read in the hospital? Why the wife was infected, and mother-in-law no? The writer of the BBC spoke with five people who have had COVID-19 and is discharged from hospitals.

'Казалось, у меня кусок мяса, а не горло': пять историй людей, вылечившихся от коронавируса

Photo: Shutterstock

“I have to, as in 90-e years, in the transition go play”

Like many Russians, to March 2020, sixty-year-old music teacher, a Muscovite Igor P. on the coronavirus knew almost nothing.

“So, I read something in the media, knew common symptoms — fever, cough, nothing more,” he says.

Then, says the man who wrote mostly about the prevention of disease: “Not so vehemently and fiercely, now.”

Himself Igor considered “hopelessly healthy”: four times a week, swam in the pool for three miles and followed the health. However, Smoking.

In early March he has sharply raised the temperature up to 38.5 degrees. Then the thermometer showed 39 degrees, quickly cough, chest tightened, and breathing became difficult Igor. Three days he lay at home, he was treated with “improvised and pasture resources” and drank the antibiotic that he was given a wife.

“Then I decided well, I’m certainly not hurt much, but then full guard, an urgent need to do something. Called in an ambulance. I say, “Put a cold compress on the forehead and lie”.

Again call: “you Know guys, a cold cloth is clearly not enough, let us come.” Arrived. Listen. Say: “you have Bronchitis”. Injected analgin”, — says Igor.

That he may be Covid-19, he then thought: “I had no contact with anyone, who would come from abroad, did not communicate with patients with coronavirus. But the school we have commercial, we have the children doing music in a separate class and with his last strength, with fever and snot to the ground crawling to us because parents paid. I was recently told that two teachers at school with a temperature down — don’t know what they have”.

After the injection of dipyrone that Igor gave the paramedics, the music teacher feel better. “I think twenty years did chest x — rays should be done. Did the charge just in case, although the temperature was normal. And after fluorography said to me, “Hey, dude, so you have pneumonia,” he recalls. With the in the hands of Igor called an ambulance again and he was immediately taken to the hospital.

In the hospital he was amazed that all seven floors in the building were occupied by patients with pneumonia: “I got used to the cardiology Department, urology Department. And then all of the chamber of five men, all with pneumonia. I the person unpretentious, I don’t care how many people in the house, to scare me hard, but such a number of lung diseases — it is strange. I at admission in the emergency Department said, “Bilateral viral pneumonia” and took the first DAB on the coronavirus”.

Six days Igor the drip and injections of penicillin: “I’ve normally felt, when the doctor came and said, “your analysis is negative, but under the new order we let you go can’t have the second swab to take.” And took a second swab.

Until the end of March Igor, by his own description, was in the hospital just like that. Penicillin helped, he began to breathe freely, cough was not temperature — too. Igor slowly began to go from the body to smoke and noticed a strange thing — the hospital square, on which he was first allowed to walk, dragged along the perimeter of the barrier tapes. Sometimes in the hospital died — mostly elderly people.

After a couple of days walking was released only on the porch, then everything is generally forbidden to leave their wards. At the end of March the doctors told Igor that his second analysis of coronavirus is lost, and test Covid-19 need to take over. “Took the third stroke. Think it was on Tuesday. I waited two days, on Thursday, telling the doctor: “Give me, please, under my responsibility home. You’ve got every day new bring, up all night coughing is until the morning, all legochniki”.

“I knew that to tear out it is necessary, though carcass, though juchelka — explains Igor. — It became clear that half of the hospital with coronavirus. And nurses all wore special clothing, like the Martians, in crisp white suits. All day, as lunatici, ran, not sparing himself, like bees. The doctor a young one for all 40 chambers — I don’t know at all did you spend the night, all the time in the hospital. A good woman, attentive — I would say, smiling, but the smile under the mask can not see.”

Smiling, the doctor said Igor home under an obligation to isolate themselves for two weeks. And added that the results of recent studies will tell him on the phone.

“And so I came home, happy, confident that all I have right now. No fever, no cough, I’m healthy as an ox, I can break pyataks. Went to the store — gloves, mask and glasses in the hood”, — says Igor.

Then went for a walk with the dog, and on weekends with my son I went to the country — something had to be pinned. And on Monday called: “Your analysis of the coronavirus-positive”.

Then began the “fun doctors” already home, says the music teacher.

“They’re all around me in suits ran, jumped, took the whole family on the coronavirus. It turned out, my wife caught me, she found. And mother-in-law that lives with us, do not become infected. Although this is very strange,” — says Igor.

His wife suffered a disease easily — a couple of days hurts and throat. But Igor is experiencing, that could because of a trip to the country to infect the son: “I call him every day. I’m terribly ashamed and embarrassed in front of him, although in the country we are in different parts of the site were, and I was trim, that is, in the mask. Tried not to breathe.”

After a positive test Igor began to observe the quarantine to be honest. Food brought him under the door neighbors. Now he has two recent negative test, and on 9 April he can go outside.

Igor says that even though he is already healthy, the second time to get want.

“I don’t know, probably, the second time hvatanut. Then none of the implications from the case does not know. I dog came out, it was very bad. Unfamiliar such as weakness, unsteady gait go”, — says Igor.

Music school in which he worked, closed. The authorities could not decide what to do with students during the quarantine — there was someone for distance learning, some against. He is not, how can you teach music remotely, and so he said to his disciples, “Guys, wait. When you open it, all your debts will give”.

But he even has a plan on what to do if the school is closed.

“I have to, as in 90-e years, in the transition to go play. It’s not so bad: have fun, communicate with people,” jokes Igor.

“Let me go on receipt. Then it’s on my conscience”

37-year-old oncologist Anton Usov is working in a private hospital not far from Moscow.

This clinic is provided for patients: emergency call — 22 thousand rubles ($300), analysis of blood — 3,000 rubles ($40), intensive care unit — 50 thousand per day ($680).

In mid-March, the hospital received a pensioner in serious condition, which once connected to the ventilator, to learn about health, which often came a son, recently returned from France. As I recall colleagues of Anton, the man knew he had to keep the quarantine, but doctors explained: “I have a quarantine store and the hospital.” His wife and mother at this time was home sick with severe flu symptoms. In the hospital he came without a mask, visitors are allowed at any time.

Fines and arrests in violation of the self-isolation had not yet threatened.

“We test everything was clear, — says Anton. — I knew I was sick, it was a matter of time.” He and his wife sent the children to school friends in the village and waited.

One evening the doctor woke up with a fever and cough. March 30, Saturday is rarely ill Anton, fever up to 39.5 degrees subsided. When it became difficult to breathe, he called an ambulance.

On Sunday morning, the oncologist was lying in intensive care infectious diseases hospital on the ventilator. With him was another 10 people — all suspected coronavirus.

Anton says that lie beneath the ventilator is not so scary, though before he had to do.

“Well, I know how it goes, I know that it is not so scary,” says the oncologist.

Anton was diagnosed with pneumonia of viral origin. After four days in intensive care he was transferred to a private room.

“In the blood falls sharply content of oxygen, the lungs can not cope, he explains how the disease. — In the blood of most intoxication, is a severe virus. Constantly aching all of the body, a very unpleasant condition”.

The temperature at the doctor stayed more than a week. Tested positive for the coronavirus came only on the seventh day of the disease.

At the hospital, Anton had read and slept. To leave the room it was impossible, the doctor came once a day.

“It added to the experience. For example, the fact that I have started to clean the lungs, it was clear after repeat CT scan, but I only found out three days later. Two days of nerves,” recalls Anton.

He was released on 7 April under the bill, that he will not communicate with anyone.

“The idea is that for me should be watched. Before discharge had to put on a program for determining the geographic location and photograph to the camera I learned on the streets. Never did. A piece of paper filled out and everything. Slightly formal attitude to work, of course. Then everything on my conscience. Want walk around the city, you want — do not go,” — said the oncologist.

Repeated tests Covid-19, he will do it next week: “the Virus is derived from the body approximately two weeks until you’re positive you can’t be socially active.” The second time, laughs the doctor, to get or possible, or impossible.

“Now in a world of many different strains of coronavirus. Chinese and European biochemically different. Data on re-infection are still lacking. But I’m not afraid, I and the first time was not afraid to hurt. Understood that it was gonna happen either way. This virus is too high infectivity — that is, it is very easily transmitted and we have no immunity. Have been ill, they all, young and old, now or later. The meaning of the quarantine — not all together that all suffering had a ventilator,” explains the oncologist.

The wife of oncologist are also infected but carries the coronavirus is easier to be treated at home. His position in the clinic of a Mustache is not lost, but lost most of wages spent almost a month in hospital. As soon as he receives two negative test, go to the hospital to see patients.

“To be honest, I really want to work,” smiles the doctor.

“I do the cleaning”

February 23, 2020, the husband of the pianist Basinia Shulman flew to Moscow from Bergamo. The same flight with him flying footballer-Amateur David Burow — 2 March, he became the first Russian patient, who was identified coronavirus.

On the same day, in the apartment of Basini included two ambulance doctor in protective suits, masks and glasses.

“I was surprised we were all asleep. We were told that her husband flew with an infected person and we all need to sit in quarantine until March 7 — just two weeks from February 23, after a conditional contact. We signed the papers that I have no right to leave the apartment. My husband, me and my son took the tests for the coronavirus, they were negative. That is, we were healthy smear — negative, so on March 7, the quarantine ended, and we healed, as usual,” says Shulman.

She went back to rehearsals with the orchestra of cinematography, in which is played by 150 people. To play it, she said, went as protected: “My friends laughed at me. I think I’m the most disciplined person I know, which, fortunately, was not ill. I wore gloves, a mask and glasses”.

21 March Busine organized an online concert “Music against coronavirus”.

“There were musicians from five countries — for example, a sax player from Italy, who was sitting by the time a month in isolation. Played a friend of mine from France also under quarantine. You know, all musicians have abruptly lost a job. Almost no one has airbags a few exceptions. Apart from income, people lost the ability to speak creatively, but it is also important. That concert looked 2 thousand people, more than in the Big hall of Conservatory” — boasts Shulman.

Three days later she fell ill with middle East respiratory syndrome.

“I have very abruptly at one point the temperature rose to 38. Then I twisted my whole body. All this happened in 2 hours. No other symptoms — no cough, no runny nose.

Shulman was treated by infectious disease physician of the hospital Madina Andean.

“When I got off, I texted her on WhatsApp. Madina — an amazing doctor, a low bow to her, she pulled us out. On 25 March she sent a therapist, came to us nurses in protective suits, and again, as after Berova, I took the tests for coronavirus, which this time showed a positive result,” — says the pianist.

The panic she had. According to the memoirs Shulman, in that condition she did not have any thoughts: “You’re driving great weakness and sleep. I slept for twenty hours.”

Andian developed Shulman’s individual treatment plan: drink lots of hot water and follow the breath.

“You’re lying and can’t get up, the disease eats all the power. I was lying the first five days alone in a room behind closed doors. Husband and son under the door put a five-liter bottles of water in my bedroom is a thermos with dispenser for five litres. I crawled to the door, somehow was poured into five-liter thermo bottle, and then some were poured herself a Cup of water. Even under my door, put the honey, lemon and ginger — when was power, I added it in the drink,” explains Shulman.

She was watching the breath and quickly realized that it is best to breathe when he sleeps on his stomach. In five days the temperature slept, but this day is ill, her husband and son. Now she’s with a twenty year old son put a five-liter bottle under the door of the room husband. His illness passed under the same scenario — an ache in all muscles and a high temperature. Son, says Basini, has been sick, it is easier some days temperature of 37.3 degrees and superficial cough.

“Thank God, none of us had pneumonia, with breathing problems. We were allowed to be treated at home, because we were considered a relatively minor patients. And we are very lucky that we were light,” she adds.

Re-test at Shulman was negative, but the analysis will not make again, whole family live in quarantine. According to Basini, many years before all the housework was done by her assistant who is now unable to come to them. Food is prepared by her son — a food blogger, debris from the door takes a cleaner who cleans the common guarded entrance. The food under the door once a week puts assistant.

“I do the cleaning, says Basine. I remembered what he did many years ago, I was vacuuming, and dusting, and cleaning. For the full program. This, of course, when the forces came about because ten days had not the strength really.”

Four of the concert in Moscow is postponed for October, foreign tours canceled, plans for the future Shulman builds: “I am absolutely a real person, but I’m sure the universe has something to tell me. You know how it turns out — twice I got under it, it means something. Well, husband was flying the plane, well its not hooked up, although I could, but all of us covered a second time. What’s you plan?!”

“Count once a month. Better stay home, than it’s time in the hospital with a blue butt marks”

On February 27 Vladimir Chernyadeva removed the last wisdom tooth.

While in its place was an open wound, a 34-year-old photographer drank the tablets, from the assigned dentist antibiotics has declined: “When the previous three tooth was removed, without them, well and has now decided once again not to eat them. Maybe if still on antibiotics, and the pneumonia would not have happened… Those pills just to treat use. But since I love self…”

He worked, met with friends recently returned from Italy. He usually traveled around the city: “I’m a photographer, I have all the time, so many meetings for work, I was able with thousands of people to have too much fellowship”. While the tooth hurt, more sat at home. Soon noticed the rapid pulse and a slight fever.

Then came the cough: “Well, cough and coughing, as usual, I often bronchitis was sick and even did not pay attention”. Eventually the cough went on the flooding: “I couldn’t say the phrase to finish does not happen.” But to the doctor Chernyadev still was not: “I do to the doctors trying not to go. I have a system of treatment, as in Britain, where all complaints are advised to take paracetamol”, — laughs Vladimir.

On the night of March 16, when the bad document to the cough was added fever, the photographer has decided on an ambulance. The nurse listened to the patient’s breathing and said, “come on, you suspected pneumonia”.

Vladimir for the first time was in the hospital and in infectious. The photographer recalls a queue of ambulances, stationed that night outside the emergency room, and clean linen in box — fresh, as in a hotel.

The doctors took tests for coronavirus. Positive results no one expected: a declared pandemic was not paying attention, the news showed chaos in Italy, and in Russia Covid-19 was considered a rarity. X-rays showed shadows in the lung Chernyadeva, and the photographer sent to the house for six people, where for the following five days were replaced by 10 patients.

“One had a sore throat, other pneumonia, coughed and temperatures. All were equally infectious, to pick up whatever we could not. In addition to the coronavirus, as it turned out. Well, even scabies, which one guy did not know”, — told the photographer.

Initially treated for mycoplasmal pneumonia: prescribed antibiotics, cough medicine, pulmonary, which does not fit: “As it turned out, in the case of my pneumonia get better not to.”

The first test Covid-19 were negative, and doctors relaxed. The second, taken on the morning after admission, came in 5 days: he was sent to the Novosibirsk laboratory “Vector”.

When they confirmed Covid, was felt almost recovered.

“I’m not scared. For being understood, that will not be worse. On the third day in the hospital all the symptoms of flu are gone. The fever, returned sense of taste and smell,” says Vladimir.

Chernyadeva transferred to a separate box with its own bathroom and toilet.

“The course was easy, no squeezing in the chest, as described, was not. I thought I was going to sit out another three days and go home. And after testing positive left for another week. I was upset, damn, again, to sit here. I lose work orders… Then there was quarantine, and I thought that I have a job,” says the photographer.

Along the way, it turned out that in the General ward it on to anyone else: none of the neighbours the virus is not found, says Vladimir. A wife who lives with him, managed a slight runny nose and a negative test. As friends, who had gone to Italy.

“As I understand it, there is a super-distributors, which during the day can 1000 people to infect, moving around the city, and there are people like me who get sick, but the virus does not pass,” suggests the photographer.

Two weeks Vladimir took antibiotics and did pure oxygen: “Very useful things. With them, as I understand it, all the easier it is, without a ventilator”. Read beloved Mark TWAIN. Meditated: staring at the ceiling. Photographed food. He was surprised by the rumors and fakes about the coronavirus in the Internet: “First recounted horror stories of doctors who go to networking about quartz lamps and so on. They laughed, said, this simply could not be physically. And when I read that Britain began to burn towers 5G, as witches, because I thought that the virus is transmitted through them, finally realized that the Middle ages have returned.”

Before discharge Chernyadev noticed that the situation at the hospital worsens.

“I started shaft heavy patients immediately put on a ventilator. If I pulled one antibiotic, they need two, then a difficult period of recovery from drugs. The doctors constantly told that the only means of prevention is to stay at home”, — says Vladimir.

Like many survivors, Vladimir was amazed at the number of denying the epidemic of people: “If you walk and hope for a mild, count once a month. Better to just stay home than to sit in the hospital with a blue butt from injections. Trust me.”

After three negative tests for the virus and CT photographer was allowed to go home. March 29, arrived home from the hospital on the car-share Vladimir first asked in Facebook: “Dear legislators! I have an urgent question! And what about those who already had Сovid-19? The doctors at my hospital say you can’t be a carrier or re-infected”.

Quarantine him to follow anyway: “I Left before the crisis and the bursting of the mortgage, and came…” Seven of his friends from the fashion industry left the rented apartment and went to his native town in the regions.

Wife-producer has also lost the greater part of the orders. “I was lucky, usually all rented to people, and I take pictures of the items. I have couriers bringing all sorts of things, I quietly begin to take off. Once I said, “Why do you do what everyone does?” Glad I followed this advice”.

“Go slowly from the bedroom to the toilet, and somewhere in between I need to sit”

In October 2019 Maria Mukhina went to Germany to study film at one of the cultural programs of the European Union.

According to her, a group of 18 young professionals she came after a few interviews and became the first in nearly 20 years Russian members of this program.

The group studied at different film schools in Stuttgart, Paris and London, Maria was flying a lot, the courses were supposed to end in September 2020 the film.

But in March, the curators have announced to students that the pandemic coronavirus all the universities are closed, learning is terminated, and the hostel should be released.

“Ride where you will feel safe,” he advised the students. Mukhina began to gather home to Moscow. Things would not fit in two suitcases, she had to go to the city for the third.

It was March 14, was the third day, how in the world declared a pandemic coronavirus. Museums, theaters and universities have closed.

“I was in shock, because in Stuttgart all just hanging out. People sopilka, they were hanging around the shops and sipping Prosecco as usual on the weekends doing. And I’m with the steripod, nervous, grabbed the first seen the suitcase and ran on to meet”, says Maria.

In Moscow Maria went through Stuttgart and Helsinki, twice changing the ticket: “I was nasioulas, and on the 16th day I had a fever, but I decided that this is neurosis.”

March 17 evening, she landed in Moscow and immediately went on duty in the terminal by physicians with the words: “Take, please, I have a test”. Fill out the questionnaire, handed over a smear, went home by taxi and left in isolation.

“Two days I felt wonderful. Was unpacking, start Laundry, and only on the third day I noticed snot and a slight cough. Decided that he had contracted a SARS — I usually always support it.”

The coughing intensified, Maria gargle. From CPS not called, but on March 22, rang the doorbell. Doctors in hazmat suits reported positive result on the Covid-19 and took the widow to Kommunarka.

Who’s into running and yoga, Maria never was in the hospital. Surprising change, she did not have time on Sunday she became much worse on Monday, doctors diagnosed her with double pneumonia and began to treat shock doses of antibiotics.

“It was so bad that all the rest do not care deeply. Of course, I was glad that this was a new, clean hospital and that I’m alone in the house, five times a day eating three times a day with a dropper several times a day to measure the temperature… But the fever and cough were such that it seemed to me that I have a piece of meat, not the throat,” recalls Maria.

Mukhina several times changed the antibiotics she was taking an antifungal medication, and in the second week the doctors have added an antiviral drug.

The symptoms disappeared, she was already preparing to be discharged, as a sudden fever, headache, feel sick, and Mary was almost unconscious. The next day she could neither eat nor drink. It turned out that the toxicity of the antiviral drug.

All medications Mukhina was canceled, putting a dropper of saline and vitamin C. At this time came the first negative tests Covid-19. In the hospital she spent 15 days.

Almost four weeks of quarantine Mukhina had only seen medics and one courier. Parents saw from the window of the chamber have a sick CAT, when they passed the security thing. As she sees it now after discharge: talking on the phone while they stand beneath the window of her apartment on the third floor.

The main effects of the illness — weakness and lethargy for at least a month, Mukhin warned the doctors.

“Today I made Breakfast and already tired, I want to go back to sleep. To get in the shower now feels like to run 10 kilometers. Each morning very difficult. However slowly I stood up, still very strong weakness and blackens the eyes. Slowly go from the bedroom to the toilet, and somewhere in between I need to sit, to black was and the dizziness stopped. Swing for two hours to somehow be like a man,” says Maria.

Despite this, Mukhina returned to training for the European programme for film producers: while she was sick, the school was transferred to the online format. Even Mary gives a lot of interviews and will participate in giving blood for antibodies, which are produced from recover.

“I once leaped citizenship, she explains. — Our people like there’s not enough example of Europe, where everything went brasky. I already decided to do everything to the max and tell you a little bit. However, strength is not enough,” says Maria.

In the hospital Mukhina wrote about his illness in a Facebook and Instagram — and under each post collected dozens of comments about the fashion industry, she’s really not, is it with normal SARS and she is hired by authorities actor.

Blamed for what came to be treated at the expense of the budget of the Russian Federation, and while he was healthy, was sitting at the border.

“It infuriates me, — said Mukhin. — I went to study, because we were able to do because our Russian cinema I want to do better. And I and my parents all the time, paid taxes here, and in a district clinic last time I was about seven years ago. Yes, now I was in the hospital. What is this claim at all?”


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