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‘I feel I’m a bit radioactive’: Vancouver ER doctor reflects on his recovery from COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Vancouver ER doctor reflects on his recovery from COVID-19'
Vancouver ER doctor reflects on his recovery from COVID-19
A Vancouver ER doctor who recovered from COVID-19 is returning to work with a new awareness of infectious diseases. – Apr 10, 2020

A B.C. emergency doctor says he has now fully recovered from COVID-19.

Dr. Joe Finkler, who works in the emergency department of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, was diagnosed in March after experiencing a debilitating cough and severe fatigue.

“My head was in a fog,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘I’ve got the illness’: B.C. ER doctor on life with COVID-19 and what comes next

“All I could really describe it as is almost like walking against a headwind when there wasn’t one, or as if you had to walk through water or someone just pulling you back with ropes or elastic bands.”

Finkler says he now feels great, but still has a residual loss of smell and altered sense of taste.

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While he has fully recovered, he has noticed that the way others perceive him has changed.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver ER doc sick with COVID-19 warns British Columbians'
Vancouver ER doc sick with COVID-19 warns British Columbians

“My experience going back in the community … I feel I’m a bit radioactive,” he said.

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Finkler isn’t offended by people’s reticence, chalking up to human nature.

“It’s the disconnect between the understanding of the science and our emotions and our fears,” he said.

Now that he’s recovered, Finkler plans to return to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

READ MORE: British Columbians share what it’s like having COVID-19

“We’ll all get through this,” he said.

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“People talk about the bad things that happen: the restrictions, the frustrations, the hoarding. I see so much good coming out of this, especially the collaboration — how people come together — is amazing.

“For Canada, people might think this is our worst hour. I hope this is our finest hour.”

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