19-year-old Alberta teenager recounts his stay in intensive care after contracting COVID-19: “I was really scared”


Matt Greenshields never worried about COVID-19 until he found himself thinking of death while driving in the empty, dark corridors of a hospital on the way to intensive care.

His condition was complicated because he had already contracted mononucleosis. He hopes his story will warn others to take the pandemic seriously.

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Greenshields, 19, was attending the University of Calgary when he developed a runny nose and aches on March 12.

He returned home to Okotoks, about 60 kilometers south of Calgary, to recover, but his condition worsened: cough, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and possibly extreme nausea.

Twelve days later, he was rushed to the Calgary South health campus.

“I became really, really nauseous and spit a lot of brown mucus and blood with it. That’s when we finally decided we should go to the hospital, “said Greenshields in an interview with The Canadian Press on Wednesday.

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It has been tested for COVID-19, strep throat and two types of mono. But the real concern was that he might have lymphoma and the doctors wanted to do a biopsy.

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“I was admitted that night because they were going to do the biopsy the next morning. Then the COVID test came back positive, which nobody expected at all, because it did not explain the swelling of the throat and tonsils. “

The swelling in his throat became so severe that he could neither swallow nor speak and had to be fed intravenously. He was transferred to intensive care and had oxygen tubes in his nose to help him breathe in case he had to have a tracheostomy.

“It is the first time that I have really felt that I will not be well. During all this time, I managed a little. But then, when I was going through these corridors to the ICU, it was the first time I was really scared for myself, “said Greenshields.

“I had to be taken to these separate corridors because of COVID. The hallways were completely empty and sterile. … It was just a strange feeling: where am I going at the moment and what is going to happen? “

Young COVID-19 patients in Alberta warn that the virus does not only attack the elderly

Young COVID-19 patients in Alberta warn that the virus does not only attack the elderly

His condition started to improve slightly the next day, and on March 31, he was sent back to isolate himself at his parents’ home. He hopes his story will prove cautious for others, especially young people like him, who he says always went to parties and met when restrictions were introduced.

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“I could see people on social media who still had these gatherings. It’s that invincibility factor at my age where they think they’re not going to get it, ”he said.

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“At first, I didn’t want to share my story because of its intensity. I didn’t mean to scare people. But when I saw that people were still hanging out with their friends and … not really caring, I (thought) maybe I should scare them to stay at home. “

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Greenshields received a green light from Alberta Health on Tuesday. He no longer has COVID-19 but still has to deal with a few months at home to recover from his mono.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press


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