Greg Phillips a doctor from West Vancouver just five months ago was perhaps the fittest he had ever been. He was healthy in every way possible for a man of his disposition just five months ago. He had not even an inkling of a clue of how coronavirus would change his life in the coming weeks.
Philips and husband Matt Pettigrew were very conscious of their health and went to the gym a full five days a week. They weren’t just active they were also enthusiastic travelers. His only underlying health condition was high-blood pressure.
Fast forward one-hundred and five days later, Phillips is hospitalized and has not only shed a good 100 pounds but can only walk using a stick. During this time in his left arm, he also has nerve damage.
His journey with coronavirus was not easy. He spoke with great difficulty with a very deep rasp. So much so that he could only use 30 percent of his voice to talk since one of his vocal cords ended up getting paralyzed.
His story is surfacing because he wants to spread awareness among people on how serious coronavirus is and what It is like to suffer from it. He says if he, as a healthy 59-year old could fall from such an illness so, can anybody else.
Coronavirus spares no one and has no special preference for people therefore Phillips’s case is of great importance. He repeatedly tells people the virus is not a hoax, it’s not some conjured up story and it needs to be taken seriously.
The couple discovered their first symptom after they came home from Dallas in March. They had gone there on a trip with a friend. Before they knew it all three of them tested positive for coronavirus. Pettigrew grew sick for about two weeks but the friend was discovered to be asymptomatic.
Pettigrew says he was sure he would’ve ended up in the hospital first considering he has COPD, a history of issues with his lungs. Little did they know that would not be the case.
Phillips returned to work after ending his vacation but felt dizzy on his very first day. Thanks to health-care protocols he went home and later tested positive and had his results tracked fast.
Both partners suffered from a severe cough but Phillips could not get himself to get out of bed. A week later Pettigrew began showing signs of health improvement but Phillips however felt worse. His face begun to pale and his lips grew blue and soon they discovered his blood oxygen was far from the normal number.
On March 26, the couple went to get a checkup at the hospital. Little did they expect they wouldn’t be able to see each other for several months.
His vital organs were checked first before the nurse wheeled him to hospitalize him. Pettigrew says he didn’t even get to say goodbye to his partner or give him a reassuring hug.
For the next 7 weeks, Phillips couldn’t remember the time he spent in the ICU or anything for that matter. He says he sent a message he doesn’t remember that said he was scared of being intubated.
The doctors were convinced the virus was attacking Phillip’s brain and that he had developed encephalitis. Only up until mid-May did Phillip began to show signs of life again. At one point he even began directing a nurse as a doctor to prescribe him a specific antibiotic.
The couple would only interact by Zoom but after 54 days of hospitalization, the couple began to see each other in person but with a protective barrier of equipment.
Phillips went through troubling health emergencies like developing kidney failure and undergoing cardioversion three times because his heartbeat became abnormal.
The entire time due to sepsis he was put on antibiotics. After two months in the intensive care unit, he was shifted to rehab until and was released on July 9.
Though the recovery road is long tedious, Phillips is optimistic. He cants swallow food so he lives off pureed food and thickened water. Due to an abscess in his lung that is still healing, he is always tired.
It might take him months to a year to be able to get back to work and live a normal life again. What frustrates him the most is seeing people be reckless and still gathering up during such a life-threatening health crisis. People should, therefore, read his story and understand that recovering from coronavirus is no easy journey thus it is best to social distance and adheres to guidelines.