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Doctor says daily life becomes challenge with COVID-19

Even eating or turning in bed is impossible to do alone, says doctor returning job after coronavirus treatment

Elif Ozlem Celikler   | 25.01.2021
Doctor says daily life becomes challenge with COVID-19

BURSA, Turkey 

Infection with coronavirus turns daily life into a challenge, said a doctor in Turkey who recovered from the disease with severe symptoms experienced.

Dursun Topal, the chief physician of the Bursa City Hospital in northwestern Turkey, told Anadolu Agency that he first had serious backache and headache when the disease started.

He tested negative for COVID-19 despite his symptoms, but the physician developed weakness and aches in the following days. Topal was tested again, with the PCR and blood test results showing no implications of the disease.

Based on his previous medical experiences, he knew negative results did not necessarily mean that he was not infected. So, he started to take medications.

With days passing, there was still not much relief of Topal’s symptoms. When he felt that his ability to move was restricted, he was tested again -- this time positive.

“When I came to hospital for computed tomography scan, we saw that very little effort to do anything caused a very serious dizziness. In half an hour, we saw that simple acts that we take for granted in our daily lives worsen the illness to a great extent,” he said.

“In a few hours, I even started to select every word carefully. Obviously, it is not possible to talk without pausing a bit to take a breath,” Topal added.

COVID-19 has two phases, the physician said, the first is the replication phase where the virus enters the body and splits in the cells and cause the symptoms. Then comes the second phase which is “not seen in everybody, nor we want to see,” he said, it is the “hyper inflammation” phase in which the body responds to the virus.

“Unfortunately, the deterioration can be rapid after that. It happened to me as well. It is only in hours that you cannot turn from left to right and you cannot believe it.”

His doctor told Topal that the lung involvement he had was one of the worst of its kind, but they stopped the further deterioration expected with treatment.

“Even if you are a physician yourself, you can fail to see things without experiencing them in person,” he said.

He faced great difficulties and challenges when he was infected, Topal said, explaining that simple acts like taking a few steps towards the bathroom, eating little food, and turning in bed turn out to be acts that a person cannot do by oneself.

Drawing attention to the importance of helping the healthcare personnel, the doctor back on his duty remarked: “As they know more about the illness, they fear more. But this fear does not hold them back from doing their jobs. We need to thank all of them again and again, and try to make things easier for them."

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca called Topal to be informed about his health and the course of his treatment.

“It is important for us to feel this support as healthcare professionals. Our minister presented a really fatherly attitude and won the hearts of healthcare staff.”

*Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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