New York :
Last september, Brazilian dentist Raquel Trevisi, 38, was hospitalized with COVID-19.
As he practiced physical exercises and did not have any pre-existing conditions, He believed that his illness would not get worse.
However, it got worse and worse.
“No one would have ever imagined that they would have some kind of complication with COVID, because they led a healthy life, but each organism reacts differently to the virus. The disease is very complex, ”he tells BBC News Brasil, the BBC’s Portuguese service.
The woman’s lungs were severely affected by the coronavirus.
Admitted to a private Presidente Prudente hospital in São Paulo, where she lives, she needed to be referred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and was intubated.
On the second day in the ICU, she was placed in position prone position (face down), a technique used to improve lung oxygenation.
She spent 18 hours like this and the moment was photographed by the team of health professionals that accompanied her.
The long way
After 20 days in the ICU, 16 of them intubated, Raquel improved.
After discharge from hospital, he began an intense routine to recover from the complications left by Sars-Cov-2 (official name of the new coronavirus).
At her home, Raquel received images taken during her hospitalization. A picture What caught your attention It was the moment when they placed her on her stomach.
On her stomach, it was connected to electrodes that monitored her heart rate, while she breathed with the help of devices.
“There in the photo you can see a totally vulnerable body. That position is like a hope that the body will react. For me, it’s a very strong image, ”he says.
Despite the suffering, the dentist believes that the image also has a sign of hope: the tattoo of a phoenix on her back.
“In Greek mythology, the phoenix rises from the ashes. It means rebirth. This tattoo has never made so much sense, “he says.
Considering that the images show a very intimate situation, I was afraid to share them.
“When I received (the photos), I didn’t even let my son see them,” he says.
Last week, however, Raquel decided to post the photo on your Instagram profile.
In the same post, she also included an image of the moment when health professionals were preparing to turn her face down.
The reason for sharing the images, says the dentist, was the way many people behave in the face of the covid-19 pandemic.
“I almost felt compelled to post these photos on Instagram, so that maybe people have a little more awareness. It is disgusting to see many people die, while others do not care about the pain of others and keep piling up, ”says Raquel.
The struggle for life
Since the start of the pandemic last March, Raquel has continued working.
He claims that he followed all protocols and left the house only in necessary situations, so he says he does not know how he got sick.
“I always took extra care of myself. I have no idea how I got infected. The virus is circulating. So I may have been infected by some contact, like at a gas station or something like that, ”he says.
The first symptoms were body aches and fever.
On September 9, the day after the first signs, she began to feel short of breath and sought medical help.
An exam confirmed that he had covid-19. A CT scan showed that the 5% of your lungs they were engaged.
“As I was short of breath, they decided to intern me. In the hospital, even with the possible care, the situation ended up getting worse. There was a very large viral replication ”, says the dentist.
One week after hospitalization he had the 85% of your lungs compromised by the virus.
With increasing difficulty breathing, she was taken to the ICU and intubated. The next day, the doctors decided to turn her face down.
“My (oxygen) saturation was very low. When they placed me in the prone position, which does not have pulmonary compression, I had an improvement in oxygenation ”, says the dentist.
The position represented only the beginning of Raquel’s period at ICU. She spent two more weeks intubated.
In all, he stayed in the hospital for 30 days. When she was discharged, she was extremely fragile. When leaving the health unit, in a wheelchair, she could not even hug her two children, ages 15 and 8.
“The only part of my body that I could move was my head,” he says.
Raquel lost 25 pounds while in the hospital.
“Although I had an athlete’s life, the disease almost finished me ”, points out.
“I saw myself in a body that was not my own when I left the hospital. It was very scary, no matter how much I had a lot of faith and I had accepted very well all the difficulties I faced due to COVID, ”he recalls.
When he returned home, he began to dedicate himself intensely to rehabilitation.
“I had to relearn all basic movements“, He says.
He did physical therapy twice a day. In addition, she was also accompanied by a nutritionist and began to undergo therapy to, according to her, “help cope with all this.”
For Raquel, the faith and support of her family were essential in her recovery. Little by little, with the help of professionals, he learned to walk again.
Today, months later, he has little difficulty moving around and has already gained 15 kilos. “The rest was pure muscle and I can only gain it again if I train a lot,” says the dentist.
Don’t believe that return to vigorous exercises like the ones he did before his illness.
“Now I think of sport as a quality of life, that it helps me in my rehabilitation. Today I cannot consider myself a person who practices sports normally, because I have several difficulties due to the disease ”.
Among Raquel’s steps toward recovery, one of the most important occurred last week: She saw some patients again in her office.
“I’m starting over,” he says.
In addition to work, another action that Raquel has taken is a project she created to help people who also had serious complications from covid-19.
“I was in a private hospital, with medical insurance and in a privileged situation. But I thought a lot about my neighbor. I wondered: how do these people go home without even having money to eat? They are discharged and do not know the conditions in which they will arrive home, ”he says.
One month after her discharge, Raquel started the project, called “Com Vida”, Created in partnership with the head of nursing Renata Cazuza, who accompanied her during her hospitalization.
According to the dentist, the initiative has volunteers such as physiotherapists, doctors, psychologists and nurses.
“These professionals welcome a word of friendship, donations, therapy …”, says Raquel. “We have already helped nine families and we are going to support more,” he says.
The project has been instrumental in helping Raquel deal with another difficult situation she has recently experienced: her father, 72-year-old orthodontist Hugo Trevisi, died of COVID-19 January 11.
He spent more than a month in the hospital, after becoming infected in mid-November.
The loss of her father and everything she has lived through since September made Raquel increasingly disgusted by the fact that many people have ignored fundamental measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, such as social isolation.
The outrage generated the desire to share the most shocking photos during the period that she was hospitalized in the ICU: the one that is face down and the one that shows the medical team preparing to leave her in the prone position.
Raquel received the photos shortly after she was released from the hospital last October.
The images were shared with her by a friend she made while she was in the hospital: Renata Cazuza, ICU chief of nursing.
“The images are part of a protocol to record the procedures. They keep these records. When I became friends with Renata, she gave me the images, ”she says.
On February 10, Raquel decided to share the two photos on his Instagram profile.
“Until then, I figured I didn’t need to expose myself like this. But I saw that the hospitals are full again. So, I decided to post this photo. It is disgusting to see that there are people who do not understand what is happening. They are watching people die, but they don’t care, ”he says.
“Sometimes they even say they care about the pain of others, but they are jumping for the carnival … I posted these photos to scare these people,” he adds.
In the post, he wrote that he shared the photos for “jerk”To those who do not care about the care to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
“How far does the lack of awareness of many go? What else needs to happen for people to start showing compassion for the pain of others? Until a member of your family dies? Or going through what I went through? ”He wrote in the post.
Its publication caused repercussions in the networks.
“A lot of people shared it,” he says.
“If I changed the way of thinking of a person (about the need to maintain attention against the coronavirus), this photo has already played its role,” he says.
In the publication on Instagram, Raquel remembers that the two images record one “near death experience“- and that the memories related to the coronavirus will accompany her forever, because of the hard memories of the days of fighting for life and the longing she feels for her father.