At 32, Zee Rahiman was not worried that COVID-19 could endanger his life.
Until that is the case.
“You still think it will not happen to me and it has happened,” he told CTV News.
He fell ill in late March.
“It was just like something hit me. I felt feverish. I had a very bad cough, a sore throat. And then I started to vomit, “he said.
His condition continued to deteriorate until he ended up in the intensive care unit of the Vancouver General Hospital, where a doctor gave him serious news.
“He was about as sick as he could be,” said intensive care Dr. Mypinder Sekhon.
“We had to make the decision to sedate him, put him in a medical coma and put him on a ventilator to keep him alive.”
Rahiman had no idea if he would survive.
“It was then that I texted my mom and girlfriend telling them that they were putting me on ventilation. I don’t know what’s going to happen, ”said Rahiman.
He spent three days on a ventilator and about two and a half weeks in intensive care.
Rahiman is one of 65 people in a clinical study examining the immune system response of people who have become seriously ill with the virus. Patient blood samples, which usually take weeks to process, are analyzed within 24 hours in a UBC laboratory run by Dr. Cheryl Wellington.
“They are tested every day for different inflammation biomarkers and these inflammation biomarkers tell us how active or overactive the immune response is,” said Dr. Ryan Hoiland.
“We are seeing that those with an exaggerated immune response are becoming increasingly sick. “
Dr. Hoiland says that the more you understand the virus, the better doctors will know how to treat it.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sekhon says that seeing someone as young as Rahiman get sick was an awakening.
More generally, Dr. Sekhon adds: “When this disease started to approach our doors, it was one of the scariest moments in most of our careers. But it was scary because it was an invisible and unknown disease. “
He says that the research has helped doctors better understand the disease and that this knowledge can better treat patients.
Rahiman says he is grateful for the care he has received and that he is getting stronger every day.