Posted 22 июня 2021,, 15:29

Published 22 июня 2021,, 15:29

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37

"Everyone had their brain burst":  how the coronavirus affects the psyche of seriously ill people

"Everyone had their brain burst": how the coronavirus affects the psyche of seriously ill people

22 июня 2021, 15:29
Here is a copy-and-paste of the text about how a resident of Omsk (user denbrough) was ill with covid. Today it is one of the most popular texts, links to which many send to their friends and family.

In our opinion, the value of the material is that it describes in detail the state of mind of a seriously ill patient with coronavirus.

Last December, I got sick. A week later it turned out that it was a coronavirus. Then there were three months of hell. More or less I regained consciousness only in mid-March, when I could already walk normally, breathe tolerably and lift something heavier than a plastic spoon. It seems to me that what happened to me happened (and is still happening) with thousands of other people, just some cannot describe it coherently, while others don’t want to remember. I hope this post will help someone cope with the nasty covidla and its consequences, and it will force someone, finally, to be grafted.

I spent almost the entire twentieth year remotely and never left my home. My best friend is the head of one of the city's largest private ambulances, a service that often helps the city's substations. When the epidemic began, he immediately told me that the sore was very difficult, it was difficult to treat and it was highly desirable to observe all the precautions as much as possible. Like many doctors, he works not only in a private clinic - he also takes shifts in ordinary city hospitals. There he fell ill, he did not even have to go anywhere: only yesterday he was a doctor in this hospital, and today he became a patient. Forty percent of lung damage, moderate course, three weeks in bed. The doctors were the first to get sick. Those who later came to me bragged about how many lungs they had not yet recovered. One way or another, I only got sick at the beginning of December. Just one day the temperature rose sharply - up to 39 - and somehow I immediately realized that this was it, although there was no cough, and I could smell the smells. It's funny, but that day we were just watching the last episode of "Dyatlov Pass": I remember how chills beat me, and I thought - it must be, how cool it was, it goes right to the bone!

The next day he called a doctor from the clinic and phoned Zhenya (the same doctor friend). Paid medicine is a great thing, and just a few hours later gallant guys arrived in a carriage with a red cross, they touched and listened to me in every possible way, they said that so far they did not see anything terrible and dexamethasone began to drip. Took a smear and left. In the evening, the result came to the mail - it is. Despite the bad news, I felt fine. After dexa, the temperature dropped, even some vigor appeared (before that I walked like in a fog for a couple of days). Did a CT scan, which showed bilateral pneumonia affecting 12% of the lungs. Zhenya said that it was very good and that everything should be over soon. I was very happy with his words, because all this time there was a wife, and I did not want to infect her. Just in case, she also passed a smear - negative.

But the very next day, some kind of nonsense began. The temperature was stable around 37.5 and practically did not go astray, shortness of breath gradually began to increase, tachycardia appeared. I always wanted to sleep. Doctors came every day and put on their magic cocktails, but I did not feel a special effect from them. I did the CT scan on Thursday, it got worse on Friday, and by Sunday it didn't feel better. Saturation dropped to 96. On the night of Sunday to Monday, the temperature rose again to 38.5, and in the morning I was taken for a second CT scan. It turned out that the lung damage had already reached 27%, and I was urgently taken to the hospital.

There they were promptly assigned to the ward, stuck diphenhydramine with analginum and ordered to sleep (it was already in the evening). Well, sleep like that, you didn't have to persuade me for a long time. A few words about the hospital. It was an urgently created hospital on the basis of a regional clinical hospital, several floors of which were converted into a covid hospital. Everything is like on TV: the red zone, doctors wrapped in several layers - a complete feeling of a plague quarter. There were a lot of patients, but there were enough places for everyone (and I later found out why). Most of them are men from 30 to 60. I can't say anything bad about the sanitary condition and general equipment, everything was quite acceptable. They were fed four times a day, and fed well. It was possible to receive parcels, and almost everything was allowed, except for very perishable food, cigarettes and alcohol. In short - a depressing atmosphere, but overall not bad.

What made me happy - almost everyone in the ward talked, walked, ate delicious homemade food (which means that programs are possible!). When I was sitting in the emergency room, a grandfather was brought in from the street on a gurney in an absolutely comatose state - then I tensed a little, but still thought that my case was much simpler and would never come to that. Just a doctor I know, I just helped with the hospital, others generally stay in their apartments - in short, I'll lie down for a week under the supervision of doctors and go on to play a new playstation. So the general situation in the ward even encouraged me. The only thing that bothered me was that the fog in my head did not pass, but became thicker and thicker.

I took a book with me from home, but the thought of reading hurt. I didn't even want to take the phone in my hands, what kind of book is there. The first night in the hospital I was so distressed that I slept with some kind of machine-gun bursts: I sleep for five minutes - I breathe for five minutes like after a kilometer run. I was terribly shivering. I slept in a long-sleeved shirt (it was in winter, and the blankets barely warmed up), and at half past five in the morning, when they came to take the temperature, the shirt was soaked through. During the night the temperature did not abate. It became even harder to breathe. When they came a little later to measure the saturation, they did not tell me the result - but after ten minutes I was transferred to another ward and put under oxygen.

There were three bunks, two bedside tables, a chair and a table in the ward. There were two oxygen "glasses" on the wall, a plastic tube with a mask leading from each to the bed. They gave me the same one, connected it to one of the glasses through a fitting and told me to breathe. By that time, I did not understand anything at all. The tests turned out to be bad, and the saturation without the mask was 84. Well, that is, very, very bad saturation. The temperature was kept. When the next morning I had another CT scan, it turned out that the lung damage was already 60 percent.

After that, a cheerful dude entered the ward, told me that he was an intensive care physician, ordered me to go to the toilet and strip naked. At the same time I was forced to hand over all my things, make an inventory and sign them. And then I lay down on the gurney, they covered me with a white sheet and drove to the intensive care unit.

Separately, it is worth mentioning this: if you decide to be hospitalized with covid in Omsk at the end of two thousand and twenty, be prepared for the fact that you will have to look for and obtain all the medicines yourself (I can not say anything about other cities and dates, so I cannot generalize will). The first thing I heard in the hospital from the attending doctors was “you need dexamethasone, call, let them bring it tomorrow”. This concerned, in principle, everything that is more complicated than eliquis (such an anticoagulant). My friends rushed all over the city, looking for this dexamethasone, and it was really very difficult to find it - it hurt too much and too many needed it in the same way.

Before the trip to the intensive care unit, I was injected (as I later found out) olokizumab, an immunomodulator worth 50 thousand rubles per ampoule. It turned out that Zhenya (the best friend, the head of the ambulance, remember?) Had been in contact with the attending doctors all this time, and at some point they told him that I was developing the same cytokine storm and for the usual treatment I do not react. Zhenya contacted my employer and together they found, bought and brought to the hospital this drug, two packs of "clexane" (direct anticoagulant), and other little things.

As the doctors later told me, if not for this injection, it is likely that I would not have left the hospital. There were no windows in the intensive care unit - this was the first thing that caught my eye. In principle, I have nothing more to say about her: firstly, almost all the time I lay there without glasses (and my eyesight is -8), and secondly - all this time I lay on my stomach. This was strictly monitored and literally did not allow to move, so I remember the resuscitation mainly by the sounds. They immediately stuck some kind of enhanced oxygen into my hand, put a butterfly catheter in my hand, and put something on my finger connected to the monitor. The monitor constantly beeped and showed the values of the pulse and saturation. I could see the numbers only when I turned my head to the left, and that was very vague, so I stopped doing it pretty soon.

Once every few hours, doctors came up to me, took tests, installed systems, asked something. The next day, I somehow suddenly realized that everything was very serious. Firstly, I listened to what was happening around (the doctors did not hesitate to discuss my roommates, and what they said - and how they spoke - just dumbfounded me; I ended up in a dying room, and I had no chance of getting out of there no more than the others). Secondly, my closest neighbor was an insane (literally) woman of immense size with schizophasia. She talked all the time, even when she was turned from side to side or on her back. I don’t know if you had to be a whole week side by side with a mentally ill person, but this experience traumatized me not weakly - given the fact that (thirdly) I began to notice troubles with my head and myself.

Oh, troubles with the head! If I knew this was just the beginning. But at that moment I could still think critically and note all sorts of oddities: running patterns on a pillowcase, sharp gaps in memory, a strange flow of time (a day could drag on endlessly, but could collapse in a few hours), sudden attacks of the most real animal dullness, when not you can add two and two in your mind, or you are trying to remember what kind of cutlery they eat soup - with a spoon or a fork. Along with this came weakness and apathy, and to an absolute degree: I could not raise my hand, and did not want to. And vice versa - periodically there were bursts of cheerfulness and good mood, for example, I could smile for an hour at an empty wall with a stuck extract from a medical history.

At the same time, for the first time, I felt an acute envy of the nurses discussing their everyday problems: my daughter got a three-year loan at school, paid off the loan, went to Tyumen with her husband on the weekend, but I have to work (later it will turn into a real idiot fix). And in the intensive care unit, I learned that my wife was also ill, also seriously ill, and she was also admitted to the hospital. The same one, on the same floor with me. I spent a week in intensive care, which I remember very vaguely - but I well remember my joy when they said that I was being transferred to the general ward. It means everything is OK!

The joy quickly passed when I was put on a gurney and taken along long corridors. I realized with horror that I could hardly breathe without an oxygen mask. This feeling cannot be described in words. The closest analogy I can think of is imagine that you have a very stuffy nose, but you cannot blow your nose. Instead of nostrils, you have a thin hole through which air passes with incredible difficulty - and then if you inhale with all your might, and each breath is barely enough to take the next. You just can't think about anything else, and at first the brain refuses to understand what is happening at all. You try to breathe with your mouth and nose, but it feels like the air has been changed: you seem to have inhaled something, but there is no sense in it.

Worst of all, at some point you realize that you cannot take a normal deep breath, your chest seems to have been pulled together with steel hoops, and here comes the panic. It seems as if you are about to lose consciousness, your head is throbbing wildly (and at the same time spinning), every movement brings a nagging pain - and I'm just lying on the gurney.

In short, when I was brought to the ward, the first thing I did was grab an oxygen mask and almost dived into it with my head. God, how good it was. We talked to my wife - she was a little better than me. She came to my room, brought tea and sweets, encouraged me in every possible way and called me home. I tried to cheer up, but I felt as bad as I had never felt in my life. Without a mask I could not breathe at all, I only had enough strength to sit down and take something with both hands. The trip to the toilet (and there was a toilet in our room) seemed like an expedition to another planet with a difficult landing. After each such expedition, I waited five minutes to get out of the toilet - gaining strength and courage. A couple of times I fell down the wall with my pants down. The worst thing is that the weakness only intensified, and every day it became only harder to walk.

Contrary to my expectations, the general condition worsened - while the tests, according to the doctors, only got better. Terrible things were happening to my head - I could not read, listen to music, or blunt on the phone, my brain simply refused to work like a burned-out light bulb.

Maintain a simple conversation? Build an elementary logical connection? Ha ha. The maximum I was capable of was repeating aloud some obvious things several times: it was snowing. Systems will come soon. It was cold at night. The whole thought process focused on the few things that were around my bunk: an oxygen mask, a phone charger, a pillow.

I could adjust the elastic band on the mask for half an hour, then remember whether I adjusted it or not, and adjust it again. One night at night three beautiful nurses came to our ward, examined me and said: listen, everything is fine with you, why do you need this vazokan (butterfly catheter in hand), take it off nafig! It's good that I woke up before I could pull it out.

Reality and glitches finally intertwined into a single whole: I assured the doctors that I was talking to them just a minute ago (in fact, no), did not recognize my face in the mirror, wrote a text message to my friend so that he would call his friends in Moscow and take me to the hospital Burdenko.

With such a floating cuckoo, it is not surprising that at some point I decided that I was finished, so the news that in a day I was being discharged with my wife was a real shock for me. But everything turned out to be very simple: they are discharged from the covid hospital after the first negative test for covid (and if the temperature is normal). Actually, therefore, there are always places in it.

Many have heard that covid hits the psyche, but few realize how strong this blow is.

One evening a man was brought to our floor. He called all the nurses, complained of poor health, choked, screamed ... and then disappeared from the ward. At night they came to measure the temperature, but he is not. They began to search. It turned out that the dude got so bad that he decided to jump out of the window. But he, of course, was not the first such person, so all the handles from the windows on the floor were removed, and the windows themselves were hammered in with nails (yes, the chambers were not ventilated). We were on the ninth, top floor, so he flopped into the attic in December. For several hours he rummaged through the attic in search of an exit to the roof, until he was struck by a stroke. There, in the attic, they found him in the morning - paralyzed, but alive. They took him to the intensive care unit, what happened to him next - I don't know.

Such stories happened all the time: another dude, who was quite adequate before, accidentally broke the thermometer during the morning temperature measurement, carefully collected the fragments and mercury in his palm and, giggling, carried it all to the post. The third complained every morning that his legs ached at night, and every evening he wound in circles along the corridor - every morning, every evening.

Everyone's had their brain burst - someone less, someone more - but the feeling that you were in a psychiatric hospital was very clear.

My wife and I were discharged on December 31st. I hardly remember that day, in fits and starts. I remember going up to the fifth floor, like climbing Everest (it took two oxygen tanks). I remember how the cat shied away from me. I remember watching something New Year's on TV. I remember putting oxygen concentrator tubes up my nose. I was just as bad as it was - I was suffocating, I could not walk and speak normally, my head just turned off. The next day it got even worse, in the evening it was so hot that I had to call an ambulance again. At night I was taken to the hospital again. The same one. And here I was covered in full. It was absolute, uncompromising .... (obscene word in the original - ed.). I was sure that I would die. It was not even certainty, but some kind of absolute knowledge. I listened to my every cell, and every cell answered me - yes, man, you will die. Your lungs don't work. You are so weak that you cannot hold a plastic spoon in your hand. Your brain is failing. And all this will remain with you - in two weeks you will be discharged, and you will slowly die, every day you will become more and more like a vegetable, until you turn into a decrepit heap of bones that are spoon-fed.

In addition to this persistent psychosis, there were objectively unpleasant things. My pulse was constantly kept at one hundred and twenty beats per minute. I stopped sleeping altogether. From the constant injections, my veins rotted, the elbows turned into non-healing wounds - they refused to bandage them, they offered to handle them myself. Fungus has appeared on the legs, fingers and face. Either because of the general sanitary condition of the hospital, or because of my own carelessness, I caught a urinary tract infection. My legs began to grow numb and my teeth were rapidly deteriorating. My food stopped digesting - literally, exactly the pieces that I ate several hours earlier fell into the toilet. Every day some new rubbish came out, like a sharp jump in blood sugar or partial loss of vision.

But worst of all, I convinced myself one hundred percent that I was still a Covid carrier. I was discharged on December 31st, with a negative covid test. They were again admitted to the hospital on January 2, a new test was made in the admission department, and he gave a positive result. Output? The first test was false. I am still ill. Despite treatment, the virus has not gone anywhere.

All this emotional and informational cocktail led to the following result: I decided that I had no right to return home to my wife. If I come back, I will again infect her with covid, and in the load with more fungus and infections. Her weakened body will not stand this, and she will die. There is only one way out: to commit suicide ... Every time I fell asleep, I imagined: if only tomorrow I would simply not wake up! In short, I was serious, you know.

I remember the day of the second discharge very well.

Until the very last moment, I was working out in my head the options to lean back - and when my wife came to pick me up, and I was still alive, there came such a panic that I had never experienced in my life. I felt like a walking corpse, a biological bomb, the last shit and a weak-willed bastard at the same time.

I put all the things in two bags, dragged them myself to the car and put them in the trunk. I did not allow my wife to touch anything that was with me in the ward (including myself). When we reached the threshold of our apartment, she yelled at me and pushed me into the apartment with a drag, and I resisted and said that I did not want to kill her. She literally forcibly undressed me and shoved me into the bathtub - fortunately, it was not difficult: by the time of the second discharge, I weighed 53 kilograms. She rubbed me with a washcloth, and I wondered if I could get out of the apartment in the morning unnoticed, go to the Irtysh and drown myself in some hole.

In fact, the first month at home was even worse than the time spent in the hospital. My wife did not leave me a step, and every second in my head I either died myself, or killed her (not literally, but infecting with fungi, infections, etc.). In the same way, I did not have the strength (I could not lift a cup of tea), I could not sleep, I did not want to eat, everything hurt me. I didn't want anything at all: no books, no films, no internet, no games, no communication. All I needed was to just lie there.

The first trips to doctors showed that I do not have a fungus (of course, I did not believe it), but I have problems with the stomach, liver, genitourinary system, blood and spleen, plus - a general inflammatory process of unclear etymology (and this I believed with joy) ... It was hard for me to breathe. Something happened in the head that was scary to remember. And all this lasted, lasted, lasted (and something lasts to this day) ... I can't imagine how my wife endured all this. Remembering myself then, I wonder how she did not kill me herself - I was absolutely inadequate, helpless and impenetrably stupid. Remember this post? I wrote it just at that time. I was sure that there was only a little left to live.

The acute phase ended abruptly. Literally one day I woke up as a different person. Just yesterday, I examined my fingers under a magnifying glass, trying to determine the type of fungus that had settled on them - and today it is absolutely indifferent to me, why not look at the YouTube? I suddenly felt a sense of vitality (a feeling I hadn't experienced in a very long time), a healthy appetite and a desire to go to the gym again. I began to communicate with colleagues at work, carry out some small errands, even went to the store a couple of times. As if someone had clicked a switch.

Since then, every day I got better. The more I walked, did something, generally moved, the better I felt. And it's not even a matter of physical condition (although this too), this monstrous fog in my head began to dissipate.

Now I look at the person who was from December to February, and I perceive him as an absolute stranger. I don’t know him and don’t want to know him. It wasn't me. Thank God this creature left me.

It is now June, which means that almost six months have passed since the illness. It’s not that I’ve completely recovered — I think this is no longer possible — but I remember those winter days with a shudder. I am almost forty years old, over the years I have been in hospitals many times, underwent several difficult operations - but I have never been so sick in my life. It was like… I don’t know, as if someone had thrust two skewers into me — one in my chest, the other in my head — and slowly rotated them for three months. I have never felt such emptiness, such despair and such doom. I have never felt this eerie sensation, as if someone is inexorably drawing life out of you, and I am happy that I managed to overcome it. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who helped me with this - my wife, sister, relatives, friends and colleagues, doctors and nurses, roommates and bystanders under the windows of the hospital (sometimes I looked at them and imagined that I was them, and lived in their head today). I implore everyone who has read this far - believe me, you will not want to go through this, give the vaccine if you have not done it yet. This is a really terrible disease that will grind you to dust and not choke. Think about yourself and those who are dear to you. Please don't get sick.