The Roseraie medical center is the only specialized site in the Lot which treats patients affected by the after-effects of Covid or who have a long Covid. Here, after months of medical wandering, patients are rebuilding themselves.
The road to recovery is long. But the Way of the Cross is behind them. When they arrive at the Roseraie rehabilitation center in Montfaucon, patients suffering from Covid arrive broken. “They come out of resuscitation, intubation, a pulmonary embolism, neurological disorders, some have stayed in bed for so long in the hospital that the muscles and nerves are weakened”, explains doctor Valérie Elbaz Kerkad. Since March 2020, she has been treating with the teams of the medical center these patients who are coming out of a trying Covid or who are going through a long Covid. Very quickly, we had to adapt. “We formed dedicated teams, brought together Covid patients in the 400 service, a multipurpose service managed by a pulmonologist doctor who operated in a vacuum, with his own laundry and meal circuit”, she says.
During the first and second waves, the establishment received 15 Covid patients at the height of the crisis. Since then, there are 7 of them in long Covid places and two in day hospitalization out of the 115 beds in the center. Sometimes you have to relearn everything: “Some have lost so much strength that they are no longer able to put on their bra”. Others can no longer walk. “You have to get up, show them everyday gestures like making coffee, eating again, especially since some have lost a lot of pounds during resuscitation, others no longer even have the muscular or respiratory strength to cough or even spitting, they are tired and tiring, we had to arrange a room for patients who were too exhausted between sessions, “continues the doctor. Lives to be repaired.
In addition to the physical consequences, there is another scar: “They were traumatized by resuscitation, to help them pass this moral ordeal, we have set up discussion groups dedicated to Covid patients and led by a psychologist”. At La Roseraie, the range of skills is wide enough to take into account all aspects of Covid: occupational therapist, neuropsychologist, dietician, speech therapist, physiotherapist, nurse, social worker… The teams have adapted to these patients with a new kind. “Unlike those who come out of a scheduled operation such as the fitting of a prosthesis, who stay three weeks and return to a normal life, those affected by the Covid do not know when they will be able to return home”, confides doctor Valérie Elbaz Kerkad.
Guillaume Pautot arrived in Montfaucon more than two months ago. He doesn’t know when he will leave. Nor even if he will one day be able to do climbing, sailing or microlighting again. The patient from Agen found himself at La Roseraie after two Covids, in August 2020 then in March 2021, and a year of medical wandering. “I decompensated at the respiratory level and I lost 30% of my lung capacity”, he recalls.
“A year alone facing the disease”
The following months, the fifties has memory loss, his paralyzed right arm, tingling, hot and cold sensations. “I wasn’t tired, I was overwhelmed, when it happened I had no choice but to sit down and wait for it to pass,” he slips. He had to stop his job as a hairdresser and went on disability. For a year, he consults several doctors: he does not understand what is wrong with him, neither do the doctors. “They told me: stay calm and take Doliprane,” he explains bitterly. “He had the impression that people took him for a madman”, notes the doctor.
We take him for an imaginary patient. “Long Covids are still too badly oriented and can stay for a long time with their fatigue and their pain” notes the director of La Roseraie, Béatrice Gaillard. Finally, Guillaume Pautot enters Montfaucon guided by an infectious disease specialist from Cahors, his “only way out”. Here, his life before has stopped but something starts up again: “I spent a year alone facing the disease, here I feel considered, I feel better, I needed psychological follow-up too “. He goes on to physio sessions, on the ground on the carpet, stretching, on the treadmill, breathing exercises and cardiac coherence. The future still remains unclear. But the taste comes back.