The Covid-19 outbreak centred on the Chinese province of Hubei has already killed more than a thousand people and infected tens of thousands of others.
One of those affected was Feng Chuncui, a gynaecologist from Xiaogan, a city 60km (37 miles) from Wuhan, where the disease first appeared.
The 53-year-old was diagnosed over the Lunar New Year holiday and left fearing for her life, but after just over two weeks of quarantine and treatment she made a full recovery and was discharged from hospital on Wednesday.
This is her story in her own words.
Around January 10, I met a patient who had a fever and told her to go to the fever clinic. I am not sure whether the very limited contact with this person infected me.
I work in Xiaogan Central Hospital and I learned that one of my colleagues was confirmed as a coronavirus patient before the Lunar New Year.
At that time, I was pretty calm and never thought I would get infected. Looking back, I was too optimistic and underestimated the then-unknown virus.
I worked a 24-hour shift on January 23, just one day before Lunar New Year’s Eve, and on the morning of January 24, I left hospital and drove back home.
Maybe because I am a doctor, my sense of danger about the virus was higher than most people’s. So when I reached home, I told my husband that we need to stay about 1.5 metres apart from each other, and in the meantime, I made a lot of calls to my parents, who are in their 80s, and other relatives that I could not join their dinner any more because I might infect them all.
On January 25, I felt a little dizzy and began to have a stuffy nose, symptoms very similar to a cold. My intuition told me that I might be in the early stages of infection from the coronavirus.
Whether or not I had contracted the virus, the symptoms were already there, so I took some amoxicillin pills and herbal Chinese medicine to relieve the discomfort.
That day I made more calls to relatives and friends, asking them to stay at home and not attend any gatherings.
The next day, I felt even worse. My throat was painful and all my muscles ached, but I did not have a fever. I immediately notified my supervisor, which was a routine report because I was due to go back to work one day later, and my supervisor asked me to come to hospital to do some general tests, which all proved negative.
After a good sleep I felt relatively better the next morning.
But this was a false feeling and it was only when I tried to speak that I found I could no longer say a word.
I took a throat swab test in the morning on January 27, and waited all day for the result, feeling very anxious and hoped the result would still be negative.
But at around 8pm, I was told that I had contracted the virus. I felt calm after getting the result, and then quietly went to sort out my stuff in the office. I was finally hospitalised at around 11pm that day.
In the beginning, I felt more happy than sad, because I kept a distance from my relatives, preventing them from being infected by me.
But when a nurse I know came to my ward and asked about my condition, I suddenly collapsed and cried on her shoulder.
At the bottom of my heart, I was really worried, as this virus is highly contagious and can lead to death. My parents are in their 80s and need me to take care of them, what if they fall ill and I am stuck here? But the doctors and nurses soon made me feel better, and I knew I had no choice but to be strong.
Doctors used some antiviral and anti-inflamation drugs, such as moxifloxacin and Avigan on me, and my health soon improved.
But the CAT scan showed my lungs were infected. It made me uneasy and a bit afraid and wondering why my lungs were getting worse while all my other indicators were good.
On February 5, I did another throat swab test, and the result was negative. I stayed for several more days until my lungs were back to normal. And I was finally discharged on Wednesday, bringing only essential items with me and didn’t have to pay any expenses.
When I drove back home after leaving the hospital, my world was completely different. I could see the whole of Xiaogan city was locked down, only policemen and security officers were on the streets, checking passers-by.
And in my heart, it’s the new beginning of my life, a life that survived the virus outbreak.
Thinking about this ordeal makes me cry a lot. Feeling alive is very good, and health is really priceless.
This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Source: MSN Singapore