[The New Paper] Patient who feared she was dying has fully recovered from Covid-19
She could hear someone slowly turning up her oxygen supply - from one litre a minute all the way up to six.
As she lay on the hospital bed, struggling to breathe even with an oxygen tube up her nose, the 47-year-old housewife thought: "Am I dying?"
But she was swiftly taken to the intensive care unit (ICU) at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
After fighting the coronavirus infection for about two weeks, the naturalised Singaporean, who wants to be known as Mrs Zhang, was discharged yesterday after a full recovery.
As of noon yesterday, 19 other patients had been discharged after recovering fully.
There were three new infections, bringing the total to 75. Two of them, including a Singapore Armed Forces regular, are linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God church.
In a transcript of her experience shared by the Ministry of Health (MOH), Mrs Zhang said: "I remembered vividly the day I had extreme difficulty in breathing and felt that I was dying.
"I was very scared. They stuck the oxygen tube into my nose, and turned up the level so that I could breathe...
"But because my lungs were not functioning well, it did not work."
Grateful to the NCID staff for her recovery, she said: "The medical team here is excellent. They treated me like family... They asked me not to give up hope and kept cheering me on."
Recalling how doctors and nurses worked quickly to help her in the ICU, Mrs Zhang said: "At that time, I could not move, but my mind was clear...
"A doctor kept holding my head and telling me not to worry. She kept reassuring me. She is indeed a very gentle lady."
Mrs Zhang, who has lived here for over 20 years, was in Wuhan in China with her husband and teenage son when the city went into lockdown after the deadly Covid-19 outbreak.
She and her family were among 92 Singaporeans evacuated from Wuhan on Jan 30.
After arriving at Changi Airport, her husband and son were quarantined, but Mrs Zhang was taken to the NCID after she was found to have a fever during a medical screening.
After testing positive for the virus, she became the 15th confirmed case of Covid-19 here.
Mrs Zhang said she felt normal when she was first warded at the NCID, but her condition suddenly deteriorated two days later.
While her husband escaped infection, Mrs Zhang said her stint in intensive care left him worse for wear.
"He had not been able to sleep for a few nights. I know if I were in his position, I would have collapsed," she added.
Her son, however, tested positive for the virus and is still being treated at the NCID.
She said her son does not have any symptoms but has not yet been cleared. Nurses have been taking test samples from his nose every day.
"I am slightly comforted to think that as a mother, I have brought him up to be a sturdy boy, to better fight the virus," she added.
Now that she is out of hospital, Mrs Zhang is eager to get back to her daily life.
"I just want to... go exercising with my friends, then marketing and have a cup of coffee.
"Later in the night, (I want to) prepare dinner for my husband and children."
In an encouraging message to other patients, Mrs Zhang said: "We must pull through. We have family and friends. This disease does not mean inevitable death.
"I have confidence in Singapore's medical team and their skills. I believe they will be able to save us."FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES
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