September 24, 2022

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Lucille caught Covid lung: 'They kept sending me home saying 'Nothing is wrong'

Lucille caught Covid lung: ‘They kept sending me home saying ‘Nothing is wrong’

Lucel ten Have (53) lives in Varsseveld (Gelderland) with her husband Jürgen, and they have three adult children. The older two are studying and have left home. She previously worked 25 hours a week as a travel consultant, but after contracting coronavirus she had to deal with COVID-19. She wrote a book about her experiences and misunderstandings and

“When I woke up in the ICU, it felt like ninety-one instead of fifty-one”

Before I got sick in March 2020, I did a lot of sports: running and mountain biking. I had a busy work and an active life. When I woke up in the ICU in early May of that year, I felt ninety-one instead of fifty-one. I had to learn everything all over again, including breathing, swallowing, and talking. I used to go the extreme, now I have to learn to go the half.

I didn’t think about corona at all when I got sick. For me, this included concepts such as old suffering, weight gain, and latent suffering. Up to three times I went to the Corona Center – you can’t go to the GP. They sent me home twice, like, sick but get out, you’ll get over it.

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“The third time I was so sick I couldn’t even sit on a chair in the waiting room”

There were no tests at the time, and we weren’t sure if it was Corona. The third time I was so ill that I could not sit on a chair in the antechamber; I lay on the ground. The measurements showed how bad my condition was. That was on April 6. What happened next has greatly missed me.

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Fortunately, my husband Jürgen kept a detailed diary, in which he also described everyday life at home and how he and his children were doing. On April 10, she went to the intensive care unit and fell into a coma. On May 5 they woke me up again.

“When they first put me on, it crumbled like plum candy”

Then I spent a month in a rehab center working on my primary recovery. I couldn’t do anything anymore. If you don’t use your muscles for a month, you’ll lose about 75 percent of them. I lost 10 kilos, all muscle mass. When they first put me on, it crumbled like plum candy; What a strange feeling.

“I can do no more than move my hand and gently nod my head.”

After I regained consciousness, I became delirious. Reality and illusion alternate. Those hallucinations were real to me. For example, I was at a village festival and was stuck. I had to free myself by answering questions. That took about five days. It was scary and lonely. I didn’t understand what was happening and couldn’t ask about anything. All I can do is move my hand a little and gently nod my head.

During a coma, I had to fight physically, but from waking up I also had to fight mentally. When people ask me what’s the worst of it, that was it.

It doesn’t bother me anymore, I’ve learned how to put it into perspective. It is well organized in the Netherlands: there was a whole team to help me, including a psychologist. I am well directed. Writing my book also helped me with processing.

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With the help of Jürgen’s wonderful diary, I incorporated everything step by step and piece by piece. At first for myself. Later I thought: maybe it could be useful for people in a similar situation.

“At first they said six months to recover, and then it became two years.”

Nobody knows how it will last. At first they said that they would recover six months, and then it became two years. Running became walking and mountain biking became cycling on my e-bike.

still. I’m physically fine, but my mind stops working if I exercise too much. Then I have to rest first. I used to be a fanatic, now I’m more comfortable. Sometimes I wonder if I still want the speed of my old life at all. I enjoy it more intensely than before.

‘Accepting that having coronavirus is just bad luck has been hard for me’

But the valleys I went through before I thought were deep. It was hard for me to accept that being infected with the coronavirus was just bad luck. But I can do it. I used to lock the door. I have become more patient.

I had to say goodbye to my job because I had been on sick leave for over two years. My goal is to find a job in healthcare or somewhere else where I can do something for others. I will also give lectures about my experience with Corona, based on my book.

“When I see where I come from, I am so excited and happy that I have come this far.”

I worked hard on rehabilitation. My athletic mindset was an advantage. I keep working to improve, and if it doesn’t get better, so be it. When I see where I come from, I am so excited and happy that I made it this far.

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