SA Covid-19 patient recovers after 3 months in hospital: I lost 34kg, everyday 6 people were dying


“I will always remember your fighting spirit and use it to encourage other patients,” wrote a nursing sister after a Covid-19 patient finally went home after 88 days in hospital.

Last Friday Dashen Perumal, 33, received a guard of honour by staff at Mediclinic in Pietermaritzburg when he was finally wheeled out.

Perumal tested positive with the coronavirus and when his oxyen levels dropped he was admitted on December 29.

“My blood pressure and heart rate went up and oxygen dropped. Breathing was a problem,” said Perumal, a sales rep from Newholmes in Pietermaritzburg.

He said when he left home he had packed clothes for five days, but ended up staying 88 days. “I spent 24 days on a ventilator and 72 days in the intensive care unit. It was a traumatic and emotional time in hospital. On a daily basis I saw five to six people dying and wondered will that be me, especially the day I went on the ventilator,” he said.

In the 88 days Perumal lost 34kg. He said in all that time only his dad got to visit him once a week.

“My phone was taken away from me and only returned when I was moved to the general ward after 72 days. It is good to be home.

“While I was in hospital my mum and sister also contracted the virus and were hospitalised and I lost an aunt. It was a trying time for the family. I thank God I am alive and well. It’s a second chance at life.”

He is still on a wheelchair and doing physio to learn to stand and walk. He said the staff at the hospital took really great care of him.

“One of the nurses, Nicole Govender, was instrumental in saving my life.“I still call her my angel because she pulled me through. The day I went on the ventilator she held my hand and encouraged me until the doctors got there. She also updated my family on my progress,” said Perumal.

In a message on Facebook, Govender wrote: “You are such an inspiration to us all in the ICU at Mediclinic and also to other families out there. There were so many days where we all thought it would be your last but you kept fighting. Your family have been amazing during your hospitalisation, their faithfulness, fasting and prayer never stopped. God heard each cry and he healed you.”

Jackie Slabberts, unit manager of general ICU at Mediclinic, said Perumal, who had the longest stay, was their most critical patient to survive Covid.“He's our miracle patient. His recovery is as a result of team effort. He has given us hope and inspiration that we can do it and to never give up,” said Slabberts.

– Sunday Tribune

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