Two years after he contracted Covid-19, St John’s Street resident Keith Dover is still suffering the long-term effects of the illness that almost cost him his life.
Dover, one of the country’s first Covid-19 patients to survive the illness due to ventilator support, is still undergoing weekly therapy as he’s not able to walk properly on his own.
Despite the challenges, Dover told Observer media on Monday that he’s happy to be alive, especially when millions of people worldwide have died because of the pandemic.
Dover suffers from diabetes which medics say places people at a much higher rate of serious complications and death from the virus.
“My recovery has been a long and painful process. It’s been two years and I am healing slowly. [I’m] still in a lot of pain but each day that passes I gain a little more strength in my feet; I gain confidence, I can walk without a cane, I can drive now, thank God for that.
“I am back to playing my music but I still get tired quickly. When I walk, I get tired quickly but I still have this fight in me, this fighting spirit in me to keep going, and I just continue to push every day. I can do a lot more now today, compared to a year ago,” Dover explained.
The father of one was diagnosed with the coronavirus in April 2020 and remained in the Intensive Care Unit at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre for nine weeks, fighting for his life.
Excessive bed rest can lead to contractures, muscle weakness and a loss of skeletal mass and it can take time to regain strength after a period of immobility. Two years later, Dover shared that he still has some hip and knee challenges and is seeing a chiropractor to treat the injuries.
It’s those limitations that have forced him to be working as an in-office Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) Inet technician instead of his regular 22-year role of doing field work.
Meanwhile, the APUA staffer has a stark warning for those who still do not believe that the coronavirus affects younger people.
“Learning how to walk all over again, it is the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I mean, we are born as babies, and then grow [and start] walking, but for a grown adult to have to learn how to walk all over, to gain strength in the legs, and to find the balance and maintain it … you know, there are so many things that are put into walking that we take for granted every day. So, let’s just take care of ourselves until this thing is over,” Dover said.
Dover is suspected to have contracted the potentially deadly disease when he travelled to neighbouring Montserrat for St Patrick’s Day celebration in March 2020.
Reports are that when he returned, he complained of feeling unwell and thereafter his health began to deteriorate.