A Covid-19 survivor whose lungs, heart, kidney and pancreas were damaged due to the virus has joined the call for citizens to be vaccinated to avoid serious Covid-19 complications.
During yesterday’s Covid-19 news conference, businessman Brent Teixeira gave an account of the severe symptoms he suffered after contracting the virus.
One of the worst experiences of the ordeal, he said, was the death of a patient on a bed next to him, with whom he had developed a very good friendship.
“Sadly, he was his mother’s only child and she was a single mother. So we now have a mother that’s left alone. There is no one to take care of her and this is something that’s playing out in our country. Everyday we hear of ten people dying or 15 or eight or even one, but it’s one family or eight families or ten families and this snowballs into hundreds of people that are affected by this dreadful disease,” he lamented.
Teixeira said he contracted Covid-19 in October last year and had to be hospitalised at the Couva Hospital and Multi-training Facility due to severe breathing problems.
“I couldn’t walk five steps without feeling like I ran around the savannah at full hilt. Not being able to breathe is something we take for granted and I certainly did,” he said, lauding the doctors and nurses who cared for him.
Teixeira said he was on oxygen for 13 or the 16 days he was at the hospital.
He said after being discharged he was then sent to the Arima General Hospital for post Covid-19 clinic, which took care of his multiple organ problems brought on by the virus.
“I now have to live with a lot of these medical problems that I didn’t have before. I still get brain fog. I still have to live with my energy running out after lunch. But I’m alive. If it wasn’t for the doctors and that parallel healthcare system I wouldn’t be here today to let you know my experience,” he said.
Fighting chance ► sub head ◄
Teixeira said he now lives with a heart problem which may require him to get a pacemaker.
“I require two insulin injections every single day and I also have anxiety over breathing and sometimes I catch myself having problems to breathe, but it’s really a mental thing,” he said.
“Covid is going to affect my life forever. If there was somehow I can avoid one person…for this not to happen to them…I would have done a good deed. I want to ask everyone in Trinidad to please, the earliest you can, go and get vaccinated. It doesn’t matter which vaccine it is, don’t think one is better than the other. They are all the same and they work,” he stressed.
Teixeira said after testing negative for Covid-19, his doctors gave him the green light to take the Covid-19 vaccine, which he did, along with his entire family.
He said neither he nor his family experienced side effects from taking the vaccine.
“This (vaccine) gives us a fighting chance of this disease invading our homes. It’s like putting on a bulletproof vest. If I were getting into a gunfight I would rather have a bulletproof vest on than none at all. It doesn’t mean I won’t get Covid again but it probably won’t kill me and I won’t end up in Couva Hospital anymore,” he pointed out.
Covid affects organs
Responding to questions from the media, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds explained that Covid-19 can cause side effects on multiple organs.
“So Mr Teixeira pointed out that he has since been made aware of different organ systems that aren’t functioning as they were previously because they (Arima Hospital) do a full check-up and check to see if everything is as it was…pancreas function, etcetera,” he said.
He noted the pancreas helps keep blood sugar in check so any disruption of pancreatic function can disrupt the blood sugar, lung function and liver function.
“What you have is the organ function not being as it was, so if it’s lung function you’d have shortness of breath. With liver function, the liver is relatively resilient so you tend not to have too many disruptions. But you may find that the liver function tests are a bit deranged, showing that there is some damage to the actual liver tissue, even if it’s not affecting the actual overall function of the liver. So too with the kidneys,” Hinds emphasised.
He went on to encourage the public to get regular medical check-ups, even in the absence of disease, so that problems that are not yet manifesting can be picked up by doctors a little earlier.
Teixeira admitted that prior to his Covid-19 infections he never did regular check-ups as he felt good every morning and went to work.
“I had no pre-existing conditions that I know of. I do take high blood pressure medication but my blood pressure is never high because I take medication and I never thought of it as being a contributor to my severe disease. I know it’s not normal that everybody who gets Covid gets it severe but it’s not worth the risk,” he said.