‘I’ll live to see another day’: COVID-19 survivor describes effects of virus 8 months later

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 survivor feeling effects 8 months later' COVID-19 survivor feeling effects 8 months later
WATCH ABOVE: Many who have recovered from COVID-19 say the virus can leave long-lasting effects. Caryn Lieberman follows up with a survivor who spent weeks on a ventilator in a Toronto hospital after contracting the illness – Dec 18, 2020

From inside his family home where he spends most of his time, COVID-19 survivor Delroy Noble leans down to lift up one of his three young nieces.

He struggles at first, but then he rests her on his lap.

“When I first came … I could barely lift her up,” he muttered.

Read more: Coronavirus: 30-year-old Toronto man who spent 8 weeks on ventilator, lost 130 pounds warns others

In April, he left his job at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport feeling ill. A few days later he was rushed to Humber River Hospital with a fever. Soon after, the then-29-year-old was intubated.

Noble ultimately spent 59 days hooked up to a ventilator.

“They thought I’d have long-term lung damage. They thought I was going to have long term kidney damage because … my renal system failed. They thought I was going to have even liver damage,” he recalled.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at LNG Canada, 15 workers test positive

Eight months later, he said he is grateful to be alive. However, Noble said he is dealing with some long-lasting effects.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“Mostly just stamina issues. I wouldn’t want to go far because I get tired relatively easily,” he said.

Noble spent time in a rehabilitation centre to re-learn how to stand and walk.

Read more: ‘Like nothing I have felt before’: B.C. COVID-19 survivor blasts virus deniers in online post

He said he is making huge strides every day and is especially enjoying spending quality time with his three nieces. But the recovery process is not over.

“The only thing I really couldn’t escape was the nerve damage because of COVID and when you’re in ICU for so long, especially when you’re in a coma, basically the rule of thumb is if you don’t use it, you lose it,” he said.

Noble is one of nearly 400,000 Canadians who have now recovered from COVID-19.

Read more: ‘We’re the pioneers’: Survivors of COVID-19 share their stories

Story continues below advertisement

Some survivors said they’re experiencing side effects months after the infection.

“Even if they survive, there is a very prolonged recovery process associated with it,” said Dr. Brian Cho, a critical care specialist at Humber River Hospital.

“Some of our patients were on a ventilator for quite a long period of time, sometimes months — that’s difficult.”

Known as “long-haulers,” he said the symptoms vary.

“Because of the nature of the illness and how severe it can get and how long it can take to treat, we do see a lot of these patients being a chronic patient,” explained Cho.

Read more: Why are they still sick? The search for answers inside Canada’s first post-COVID clinic

In the emergency department, doctors are seeing new patients presenting every day with COVID-19 and some others who have been there before.

“We have seen some people coming in with prolonged shortness of breath and prolonged fatigue,” said Dr. Tasleem Nimjee, the physician lead for Humber River Hospital’s COVID-19 emergency response.

“I’d say those are the two things that really stand out where people are saying, ‘I was sick like three months ago, but I’m still really tired. I still fatigue easily.'”

Story continues below advertisement

Meanwhile, Noble now uses a walker to get around but he said he is improving every day and is feeling optimistic about the future.

“It seems like I can make a full recovery, but even if I don’t I’m not complaining,” he said.

“I’ll fall asleep at night and I’ll wake up in the morning. I’ll live to see another day.”

Sponsored content