Vini Silva describes being back home after nearly four months in Humber River Hospital battling COVID-19 like coming back from a long flight or journey.
“You just have to appreciate that you were able to make it through that flight or journey. Every day is a miracle. Every day is a victory,” he told Global News through a Portuguese interpreter.
The 48-year-old carpenter, who now speaks with a raspy and hoarse voice after being on an intubation tube for months to help him breathe, said he would never have imagined he could get so sick from catching the virus.
It was on Nov. 22 when Silva, who had been working as a subcontractor framing houses in Newmarket, went to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing on his own after testing positive for coronavirus.
“I was in the hospital for two days. After that, I was transferred to the ICU and I was in the ICU for 60 days and I practically don’t remember anything,” he said.
Silva said he suffered cardiac arrest and a stroke and spent the entire two months in a coma.
His wife, Daniele Fernandes, said she also got COVID-19, but had only mild symptoms of losing her sense of smell.
“It was a complete shock. He is super healthy, is in good shape. He works in heavy labour,” she said.
“For 20 days, I could only see him through a glass window. I wasn’t able to go into the room. He was intubated and he was in a coma as well.”
Fernandes said doctors told her that her husband didn’t even have a 50 per cent chance of survival because the virus had attacked both of Silva’s lungs.
The couple said they still don’t know how they caught COVID-19. Silva said no one else he worked with got sick and only went out to the grocery store or for gas, and always wore a mask.
With Ontario now in the third wave of the virus, they are warning other people their age to be careful.
“Those people who think that this is a joke, I can say it is not,” said Fernandes.
“I wish people could see what he went through. He was healthy. The doctor asked me if he was immunocompromised or if he drank. He wasn’t and didn’t.”
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Dr. Lisa Salamon, an emergency room physician at the Scarborough Hospital Network, told Global News staff are noticing more young people getting very ill.
“Really what we’re feeling right now is patients in their 40s to 60s who are sick with COVID, whose oxygen saturations are low, who need to be admitted, and some who need to be admitted to the ICU,” she explained.
Silva, who lost more than thirty pounds while in hospital, said he knows he’s got a long road to recovery.
“I’m doing a lot of physiotherapy and seeing a speech therapist. When I was intubated, I was rushed to be intubated so that I wouldn’t die,” he said.
“Unfortunately for me, I lost my voice. I have difficulty speaking, but with time my voice should return to normal.”
Meanwhile, Silva said he has nothing but praise for the staff at Humber River Hospital, who he credited with saving his life. He said he’s left wondering if he would have survived if he was in his native country.
“In Brazil, there are over 300,000 people who have died and didn’t get to survive this,” Silva said.
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