Kauê Fhelipe Almeida de Morais was infected by the Covid-19 virus in early November 2020. The first symptoms were loss of sense of smell and taste and dry cough. He received a medical diagnosis and started the 14-day isolation period. On the last isolated day, he started to feel a lot of pain in his legs and lower back, but he believed they were common symptoms of the disease, so he tried to do some stretching, so that the pains would not get worse. However, the next day, the discomfort only increased and he started to have difficulty walking.
After guidance from his mother, the student went to a consultation at an Emergency Care Unit (UPA) in Santos, where, according to the Santos doctor, the hospital’s general practitioner said he did not know exactly what it was about and gave him pain medication for his body . He returned to the site three times, but nothing was discovered.
In the same week, Morais could no longer walk because of severe pain and needed the help of a wheelchair. He decided to pay for a private consultation, where the doctor referred him for a spine resonance and gave him a new medication, already suspecting that the pains were symptoms of Covid-19.
However, the pains increased, until about 10 days after the onset of symptoms, he began to feel numbness in his legs and ended up losing his movements and sensitivity in the region. The private doctor referred him to the neurologist, who clarified that Kauê was the second patient he saw who was infected with the virus and lost the movement of his legs. The specialist underwent a skull resonance and an examination that removed a fluid from the spinal cord for analysis. In addition, the patient was referred to physiotherapy.
He reports that, according to the doctor, the tests did not reveal any irregularities. However, based on other similar cases, the professional reported that the situation was due to a rare complication caused by the coronavirus, which is still being studied.
According to the young man, doctors suspect two possibilities, both stemming from Covid-19. The first is Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a rare disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the nerves, causing weakness and tingling in the mildest stages and can cause paralysis in the most severe cases. The second estimate is that the virus has caused neurological abnormalities, which have damaged the thoracic spine.
The student’s diagnosis is still being analyzed and, according to him, the neurologist believes that the condition is reversible.
Meanwhile, the Santos resident lives a new experience every day and adapts to the new limitations. “My mom is helping me a lot in getting around. She carries me on her lap to take a shower, to do everything. The pain subsided and the neurologist said to continue with physical therapy. I’m getting used to it ”, he reported.
Doctors study possibilities after a young man loses movement and feeling in his legs. – Photo: Personal Archive
According to the young man, being stuck and stuck in his room was one of the main challenges since the contamination with the disease. He says that he was always an active person, agitated and that he liked to go out.
Regarding contamination, the Santos reports that he does not know how it happened. “I always took care of myself, but I knew that my time to be contaminated would come. I don’t know how I got it. For visits that came here at home, perhaps. But now it’s no use knowing how, look where I am now. Sometimes I think how I am. How crazy, I can’t even get up to go to the bathroom alone. Two months ago I took a shower standing up, riding a bicycle. Life is crazy and unexpected ”, he says.
Even with the losses, Kauê tries to continue facing the stage in a light and optimistic way. He believes that, in this way, and speaking about his case, he will be able to help other people who come to pass through the same situation.
“I always took it in a positive way. As soon as I realized the scale of what was happening, I tried to relax as much as possible. Life goes on. I’m learning a lot from that. People who are facing the same thing as me, depend on stories like mine. They need to hear that everything is fine and that we are going to get out of it somehow ”
He explains that the mother is very concerned, but has seen and followed the son’s evolution. Currently, the young man does not walk, does not feel his legs and is unable to apply strength in the lower body. But now, it adapts to its new phase.
“I haven’t told all my friends yet, I didn’t want to expose myself. But if it is to make people aware, I am willing to do that. I’m starting to adapt to the new way I have to live, whether it’s momentary or not, ”he concluded.
Kauê Fhelipe practiced slackline before losing his leg movement in Santos, SP. – Photo: Personal Archive
According to neurologist João Luis Cabral Júnior, the Covid-19 virus is bringing many novelties to several areas of medicine, as it can cause changes in various systems of the human body.
The expert explains that Guillain-Barré Syndrome can be triggered by any virus that has contact with the spinal cord, even the flu virus, as it causes the loss of a protein that transmits “electricity” to the spinal cord.
Therefore, several viruses can cause the disease, including the coronavirus. According to Cabral, in these cases, the marrow begins to lose protein and develop a neurological deficit, causing tingling in the limbs and lack of strength.
However, he points out that, at least in about 70% of cases, the situation is indeed reversible. The other 30% may not return to normal, or partially return, depending on the degree of aggressiveness of the virus in the spinal cord.
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