‘I saw lives lost’: B.C. survivor says coronavirus risk is ‘real’

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After spending 2 months in hospital with the coronavirus, Atish Ram finally returns home to start his recovery, but he has a warning for everyone. Grace Ke reports.

A B.C. survivor of COVID-19 is warning people not to let down their guard with restrictions being eased.

Atish Ram, 58, spent two months at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster after contracting the virus.

He is now home but believes he contracted it while grocery shopping with his family.

Doctors were perplexed at how long the virus stayed in Ram’s system, he said.

“Even the doctors don’t know how long this is going to last,” Ram told Global News while on oxygen at home. “Right now, my lung capacity is at 25 per cent.”

READ MORE: 22 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., but more outbreaks end at care homes

Ram’s wife and children also had mild fevers.

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While in hospital, he ended up in the intensive care unit twice and was told he was close to being put on a ventilator at one point. That was when he was told he should call his family.

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“I had to send my last message to them,” Ram said. “About how proud I was about them.”

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

READ MORE: B.C. considers easing COVID-19 restrictions on hotels, resorts in mid-June

Thankfully, he wasn’t put on a ventilator, but he ultimately had a fever for 16 days and suffered from low blood pressure, internal bleeding and pneumonia.

“[The doctors] were baffled at my recovery,” Ram said. “And they said each case is different.”

Now with some restrictions easing, Ram wants to remind everyone to be vigilant.

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“Go ahead and enjoy your life. Just be careful,” he said. “I don’t want to scare anybody, but I don’t want to wish this experience on anybody.

“I saw lives lost in the ICU.”

READ MORE: Why does the coronavirus seem to cause so many different symptoms?