Marta Castanys, the first woman to be discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU) of the 12 de Octubre hospital and who was on the verge of death from covid-19, speaks slowly and thinks a lot about what she says before responding. “The truth is that I am very sad because it seems that we have not learned anything from this pandemic. Adequate measures are not being taken to solve all this, ”he says with a mixture of dissatisfaction and helplessness.
Castanys is 42 years old and has worked as a nursing and administrative assistant, among many other occupations. On February 25, she was admitted to the October 12 hospital to give birth to her daughter Yaiza. What in principle was going to be a happy event turned into one of the worst nightmares. After delivery, she began to worsen until they discovered that she was one of the first people to be infected with the coronavirus, a disease that still sounded very rare at that time in early March. The woman’s situation worsened until they had to sedate her, perform a tracheostomy and apply all possible treatments to stop an almost certain death.
His daughter also tested positive for coronavirus, but had an excellent evolution. At the end of 20 days of pure uncertainty, the patient was able to leave the ICU and be transferred to the ward. Of course, he couldn’t even speak. “Now I start to remember things. The first thing the doctors and nurses did was put the TV on me. Then I found out what was happening. It seemed to me that I was in a science fiction movie and that the world was invaded by zombies. I received a lot of information at once ”, he recalls. Since he couldn’t speak, he asked for a sheet of paper and a pen. He wrote an alphabet as best he could, after leaning on a glove box, along with the words yes, no, good, bad, the days of the week and the numbers from 1 to 31. He did not even know what day he was, what it caused him even more anguish.
He also remembers “the isolation” he suffered in those days and the lack of communication with other people. “It was very anguish. When I called because something happened to me, the nurses would ask me for the intercom. But it was of no use. If I couldn’t speak! ”, He complains.
She slowly recovered until she was discharged and spent the rest of her convalescence at her mother’s home, away from her daughter and her husband. “I’m trying to recover little by little, but I have sequels that come and go, depending on the day,” Castanys describes. These include inflammation of the hips and joints, small calcifications in the thighs, shortening of the tendons from being in bed for so long, and breathing difficulties. “It depends on the days I am better or worse. Some days my head hurts and others don’t. Other times I get a dry cough and I can’t stop coughing. When you go on the subway, people get very scared ”, he adds.
One of the things that is costing him the most is regaining his passion for hiking and mountain routes: “In summer I would suffocate. I am not an Olympian, but I no longer have the ability to do what I used to do. I have lost quality of life ”.
The disease has also had important employment consequences for her. She was previously on the Community of Madrid job bank, but when she was called and did not answer while she was in the UCI, she was unfairly punished. Now it’s up to him a whole bureaucratic and administrative journey to get that penalty lifted. But it is not being easy for him, since everything is done by appointment and these take time. “Now I can only wait, because I can’t do much more,” he says. You also have to go to the hospital often for checkups and see specialists, such as the orthopedic surgeon. Not only her, but also with her daughter. These controls include blood tests to see if you still have antibodies or to do spirometry and see the lung capacity you have.
Castanys attends the development of the disease with disbelief and the measures that are being put in place to alleviate its incidence: “We are going to continue like this for a long time and of course this is not solved with a hospital that we have invented. And then, what is it going to do? If he has not even been given an operating room, at least urgently ”. “This pandemic has arrived now, but another covid may arrive. Or another virus or other bacteria. We have made the same mistakes again. The flu continues to kill thousands of people and nobody talks about it ”, he adds with some anger.
His greatest criticism is directed at the “neglect that healthcare has suffered in recent years.” “I knew the healing was wrong. We were, we continue and we are going to continue in the limits. The residences were abandoned. If an auxiliary charges 900 euros in a nursing home and 1,200 in a hospital, this means that many have gone to health care and that the residences are left without staff, “he adds. Castanys now uses his time to continue training “as he has always done.” She is studying to be a dining room and free time monitor, a different branch of health. It does online and with some face-to-face classes. “It also works for my daughter. Learning never hurts ”, she concludes, while waiting to be called to work as a nursing assistant, administrative or pharmacy technician.
Information about the coronavirus
– Here you can follow the last hour on the evolution of the pandemic
– Restrictions search engine: What can I do in my municipality?
– This is how the coronavirus curve evolves in the world
– Download the tracking application for Spain
– Guide to action against the disease
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.