Covid-19 went straight to my heart, recovered patient still affected months later

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Months after contracting the virus, Anne, who has since then recovered, is still occasionally feeling the effects of coronavirus.

Speaking to in an interview, Anne Cachia urged the public to remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions currently in place.

Recounting her experience, Anne was admitted to Mater Dei Hospital after she suffered from terrible pain in her left shoulder on 8 April. She was convinced that it was either a trapped nerve or a pulled muscle. “The attacks were excruciating,” she recalled.

Once at the Emergency Department, she was asked whether she had developed any of the symptoms associated with coronavirus or whether she had been in contact with someone who tested positive or else coming from abroad. Anne replied in the negative. That night she was taken up to a ward.

The following day she was told that she had had a heart attack, however, when she was later tested for the virus, it resulted that she was positive for coronavirus. Anne was transferred to intensive care, a ward which could admit up to six people, and where she was the only one there.

“I was very well looked after, and had every faith in the cardiologist and nurses who were looking after me. It was lonely, as the nurses only came in for a short while three times a day, to give me my medication and to try my blood pressure. Quite rightly, of course, I used to urge them to hurry up and get away from me so that they would not be infected,” she recalled.

Six days later she was discharged and continued recovering at home in isolation.

“It was a joy to return home to my husband, but I had to spend two weeks in my bedroom, away from him,” she said.

Food used to be left outside their bedroom door and she used disposable plates and cutlery during the whole ordeal. While recovering at home, she was followed closely by a doctor who would phone her up every day as he monitored her progress. Police would also frequently check that they are at home in line with the requirements of mandatory quarantine.

Two weeks later, both her husband and herself were tested for the virus. Both were negative. The spent another week inside but at last they could be together.

The recovery process took a whole month.

“I have absolutely no idea how I got the virus. I had been staying at home for a couple of days before the official lockdown. My husband went out to buy some groceries once or twice, so it was either on him, and he didn’t get it, or else on something he had bought,” Anne told

The virus went straight to the heart

The virus attacked Anne’s heart affecting the lining around it. She explained that although she is much better, she does get occasional pain in her heart which she described as scary.

Since then, her routine has been affected, adding that for her ‘no more outings’. Nowadays, she is staying in as much as possible. They only go out to their Parish Church to hear Mass in the morning and then attend Rosary in the evening.

“I struggle to remain positive”

“I struggle to remain positive as I am very scared of getting the virus again,” Anne said. She noted that from the few people who she knows that contracted the virus, they ‘all’ suffer from after effects.

Anne urged the public not to take any risks. To date, she does not know how she contracted coronavirus even though at the time she was convinced that she would never get it. “I think one can never be careful enough,” she added.

She also spoke briefly on the effect of the virus on people’s mental health, adding that she struggles to remain positive as she fears contracting the virus again.

Light at the end of the tunnel?

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Chris Fearne unveiled Malta’s Covid-19 vaccination programme. He explained how the government plans to vaccinate as many people as possible against coronavirus in the coming months, stating the end of the pandemic is in sight.

In parliament, Fearne confirmed that Malta is set to receive 1.6 million doses of potential vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

The three vaccine candidates are awaiting greenlight from the European Medicines Authority. If approved, the first batches of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine are set to arrive at the start of January while the first batches of Moderna vaccine at the start of February.

On Tuesday, a 90-year-old woman became the first person to receive the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine in the United Kingdom outside of trial conditions marking the start of the country’s mass vaccination programme.

To date, Malta has registered 10,699 of which 8,641 have made a recovery. The pandemic has claimed 157 lives.

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