A young woman has opened up about the horrifying moment she woke up in a hospital bed attached to a ventilator after contracting COVID-19.
Tina Dinh, 26, was left fighting for her life after she became infected the deadly illness last month.
She contracted the virus from her parents after an outbreak spread among workers at the Bertocchi Smallgoods factory in Melbourne’s northern suburbs on July 17.
Within two weeks of contracting the virus her health had deteriorated and she found herself trapped in a plastic bubble with tubes coming out of her throat at Footscray Hospital.
Despite her young age and lack of major underlying health issues, a team of ten specialists had to work tirelessly to keep her alive in the intensive care unit
Her health had rapidly declined from a constant temperature, persistent headache, nausea and chills to serious respiratory problems, the Herald Sun reported.
Her parents had been diagnosed with coronavirus on July 25, and they had become incredibly sick straight away.
Then it was her turn, with the symptoms coming on hard and fast in the 24 hours from their diagnosis.
She described losing her sense of smell, taste and the onset of chills she simply couldn’t shake.
On July 29 she was taken to hospital but discharged 24 hours later with a machine to monitor her oxygen levels at home.
But within two days she was back at the Footscray Hospital with more breathing problems.
Ms Dinh said it was a terrifying experience to be breathing normally, and then have everything change so quickly.
‘You are trying to do everything you can with your mouth and your nose, you are trying to gasp in the air, but nothing is going in. It is like suffocating,’ she said.
Her oxygen levels had dropped to only 84 per cent.
She was placed in an induced coma and connected to machines through a series of tubes at the Western Health facility’s ICU.
The 26-year-old had no idea where she was and how much time had passed when she regained consciousness.
‘I just remember lying there being scared, really scared. I was completely alone and I didn’t understand what was happening to me. All I knew was that I could not breathe,’ she said.
Ms Dinh would look forward to the daily contact with doctors and nurses who would give her hand a squeeze as a way to raise her spirits during the traumatic experience.
She said it was the only reminder she was still alive in such an alien situation.
‘It is a really surreal experience being trapped under that plastic 24/7. You reach out and you don’t touch anything, you just touch plastic,’ she said.
She said she owes the doctors and nurses her life.
Ms Dinh was released from the ICU and returned home to her mother on Monday.
But the young woman is not out of the woods yet, still suffering pneumonia and remaining positive for COVID-19.
With a team of physiotherapists she is trying to rebuild the muscle she lost during the ordeal and says she can still taste a metallic taste of the virus in her mouth.
Just days before she was rushed to hospital her father Hoang Huynh, was also rushed to intensive care with breathing issues.
He remains in hospital on life support where he is battling pneumonia and three infections himself.
The harrowing tale comes as a man in his 20s became the youngest Australian to die from the coronavirus on Friday.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described it as a ‘terrible tragedy.’
He confirmed the man had not been living at a disability facility where an outbreak was confirmed, but said the exact details were still unclear.
‘I can’t speak to the circumstances of that individual and it may well be the coroner will look at that matter and determine the circumstances,’ he told reporters.