KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Boon Hoe is all smiles as he continues to do cycling and hand exercises at home in Petaling Jaya to regain muscle use.
Tan, 60, a company director, survived 53 gruelling days in the intensive care unit (ICU) after he was diagnosed with Covid-19.
Possibly the longest staying ICU patient at the Sungai Buloh Hospital, he was in a coma for 16 days and on ventilator support for 17 days.
“I have lost a lot of muscles during hospitalisation. At the time of discharge on May 9, I could only move around with a walker. Now, I can climb up and down the stairs, ” he said in an email interview.
This is a far cry from the time he was in a coma and awoke with severe pain in his throat due to the use of the life-saving ventilator support. He was weak, had bed sores and needed dialysis.
Tan started having symptoms around March 9 and went to a clinic on March 11 and 17 and was treated for fever, influenza and cough.
But by March 17 evening, breathing became difficult. The following day, he struggled to drive himself to a private hospital and was given oxygen in time.
He tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital on the same day.
“My condition was so bad that I lost consciousness in the ambulance after speaking briefly to my wife over the phone, ” he said.
“I cannot remember anything until I woke up 16 days later. The ventilator tube was still in my throat. It was very painful, ” he said.
In a video depicting Tan and his wife’s spiritual experience, “How I survived Covid-19” which was released on YouTube on Sunday, he said the following day after the ventilator tube was removed, one of the doctors at his bedside said to him: “You are a miracle.”
Saw Siew Lan, 54, who is in the video, said her husband was wheeled into the Sungai Buloh Hospital with septic shock on March 18 and had to be put on a ventilator.
“I was advised to be prepared for the worst, ” she said.
Septic shock is an infection that affects the whole body, causing low blood pressure and organ failure.
“The next two weeks were the most difficult. I did not know what update I’d get from the doctor daily. I cried many times, ” she said.
Tan’s condition worsened on March 31 – not enough oxygen was entering his lungs and a tracheostomy was being considered, she said.
“April 1 was the worst day. He had a risk of heart failure, his lungs were hazier and his kidneys were not functioning. He also needed blood transfusion. We nearly lost him, ” said Saw.
But the following morning, Tan made a miraculous turn-around and woke up and could respond to commands, she said.
Source: The Star