What he says a year later – The experience from her hospitalization at AHEPA – The reactions of her son who was hospitalized with her – Abusive messages from strangers – The annoyance of leaking her name
Dimitra Voulgaridou, the "patient 0", a year later, talks to GRTimes.gr about her experience and how her life has changed since then.
"One day before our return to Greece (SS. had gone to northern Italy), I received some cancellation emails for an event in the Italian city and there we realized that something was happening. The emails reported that the events in support of the villages around Milan were canceled, which had already entered a severe lockdown as their residents tested positive for the virus ", narrates Mrs.. Βουλγαρίδου.
She arrived at the airport the next day, flew to Thessaloniki and returned normally to her home. After two days, some mild symptoms appeared, such as tithes and headache. "It simply came to our notice then, as I live with my husband and child, I called my private security and from there I was advised to take a test, as I had returned from Italy. So I went to the AHEPA reference hospital, I underwent a coronavirus test and was informed that a specific protocol would be followed according to which I had to spend the night in a negative pressure chamber until the results of my test came out ", describes.
"The doctors waited until they were sure 100%. but friends and acquaintances called me and told me that on the internet and channels they report that the first case of coronavirus was detected in our country, and gave a description, which suited me "glove". Around 14:00, at 26/02/2020, the doctor Mr.. Chrysanthidis told me that I am the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Greece ",
The first feelings that overwhelmed Mrs.. Voulgaridou was the fear of the unknown, as no one knew the evolution of the virus. "I was very anxious. At the same time I was thinking of everyone I came in contact with. My husband, my child, my parents. I was worried about sticking to them. However, I have no words for the behavior of doctors and nurses. They were trying to reassure me and the support was really great. ", emphasizes.
The "patient zero" was left in the negative pressure chamber for 16 days, until it was negative, while staying for extra 11 days at home isolation. "It was very hard. When you are in such places you realize that in life we come and go alone. All this uncertainty made me feel like I was dying. I did a lot of tests every day and I did not know what I was going to face. The doctors had the same feelings. All I could see was their uniforms, it was doubt and the "unknown" in their eyes. However, the biggest test was when my child tested positive. ", explains.
"I was very upset by the fact that my name was leaked"
At 27/02/2020, the results of her family came out positive. The only one that was found positive, was her 9-year-old son, who was treated with her for 16 days in the same negative pressure chamber. "It simply came to our notice then. I feel grateful that I went through it so lightly, but I was with my child who could not even go out in the hallway ", reports.
The same, doctors and nurses, decided that the child should not learn that he has coronavirus. As he characteristically said, "We had decided not to even hear the word coronavirus. The door to the room opened, they put him in and did not explain why. They only told him that his mother was ill and that he should stay with her to help her. ".
"The little one woke up early in the morning and slept very late at night. He had very strange reactions. He always wanted to leave. He thought it was my fault he was there. He kept saying that he wanted to go out and play with his friends. He was asking, mum, me because I do not go to school; I was particularly concerned about how my child would return to school. I was very upset by the fact that medical confidentiality was not observed, my name leaked and was played everywhere, without thinking about the consequences of this projection on my child. I consulted a child psychologist after we left the hospital and we explained everything to him ", typically mentions Mrs.. Βουλγαρίδου.
When the 9-year-old returned to school, he faced a difficult situation. "You know, children of this age are very hard. They called him a "coronavirus" and asked him why he did not die. The children then thought that whoever gets stuck dies " notes.
The messages on facebook
The social outcry of course, did not leave "In her peace" nor the same. They were constantly receiving messages on Facebook from people unknown to her, who accused her of bringing the coronavirus to Greece and that it was the cause of her confinement. "I took it very seriously. I never expected that there would be people who would blame someone for getting sick. Beyond that is something I leave behind. I hold the people who supported me. A very large portion of people, beyond friends and acquaintances, gave me courage ", says Ms.. Βουλγαρίδου.
She reminds that when the quarantine days were over for her, the lockdown for the whole country started. "I can say that it did us good. People began to realize that I was not responsible for everything,what happened. But I confess that I was never complacent. I never thought that after I was stuck, I'm not in danger anymore. Barely, I got worse. I became microbiophobic. I was one of the people who cleaned the supermarket bags. I was in for a big shock, because I was scared enough. But as time went on I realized how exaggerated I was. Now I follow the measures faithfully and follow the instructions of the experts ", points out.
For Mrs.. Voulgaridou, the continuous confinement does not bother her. He emphasizes, The days of her hospitalization were so difficult but also what followed, that obedience to the measures is the last thing that bothers her, despite the fact that her own profession has been hit hard.
"The measures, it's nothing if we think of people who are seriously ill "
"I have given priority to our health and the health of our loved ones. I have reviewed a lot and I have set priorities. I can say that what happened to me, regardless of the fact that time has passed, we learned more and realized that it is not so tragic, it shook me a lot. When I was in the negative pressure chamber, my mind was traveling. I was thinking about life in prison. When I became negative, I realized the importance of freedom. The measures, it is nothing if we think of people, who are being treated seriously and not like me. It's not something, if we consider that many did not say one last goodbye to their loved ones. Even now I think of these people in the ICU, doctors and nurses, who is with family, children and personal life ", emphasizes and points out that "But it is difficult to really get in the place of the other".
In closing, Mrs.. Voulgaridou expresses her confidence in science, while he believes that the vaccine is the hope of the world. Appreciates, that in normalcy, we are going to return very gradually and that life we had in February 2020 will not return soon.
"May all that we live be over and return to before. In our lives… », ends up.