Pinay nurse in Denmark back to saving lives after overcoming COVID-19

Rosemary Toledo-Menta, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2020 05:52 PM | Updated as of Apr 08 2020 06:32 PM

Katherine Perez Luckmann returns to work after recovering from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – A 32-year old Filipina nurse clinical instructor is back to work after recovering from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Katherine Perez Luckmann returned to work on April 1 after completing the 14-day quarantine period. She was the first Filipina nurse who got infected in their department when COVID-19 hit Denmark.

“Ngayon ang priority ko talaga kasi is makatulong especially sa mga patients kasi madami talagang in need ngayon. Inisip ko din na kailangan ko tulungan yung mga colleague ko, mostly yung mga nurses naming puro maysakit," she said.
(My priority now is to help especially our patients because a lot of them are really in need. I also thought that I also need to help my colleagues, most nurses, were also sick.)

Although several Danish hospital employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infection, it is still uncertain whether they got it from patients or outside the hospital premises, according to Danish Health Authority.
In an exclusive interview with TFC News, Luckmann shared her experience and how she fought the infection.
“Ang hirap. Akala ko talaga mamatay na ko. Hindi siya katulad ng ordinaryong flu. Mga 3-4 days akong bedridden, lagnat, shortness of breath. Pero pag nagko-concentrate ako sa breathing ko, nawawala siya after 5 minutes," she said.

(It’s hard. I thought I was going to die. It’s not the same as the ordinary flu. I was bedridden for about 3-4 days, and had fever, shortness of breath. But every time I concentrate on my breathing, then I’ll be fine after 5 minutes.)

"Binubuhat pa 'ko ng asawa ko para makaupo kasi hindi ko talaga kaya. Umiiyak talaga ako sa sakit. Yun nga lang, after a few days, nahawa na din siya sa akin. Mas naawa ako sa kanya and natakot kasi may hika din siya," she continued.
(My husband had to carry me so I can sit down, because I really cannot do it on my own. I was really crying because of the pain. But after a few days, he also got infected. I was more worried and scared from him because he has asthma.)
Katherine and her husband were not admitted to hospital and stayed home during the quarantine period. Though it was hard, their condition was manageable compared to other patients. 

The couple is thankful to their relatives who helped them when they were sick.
“Pinaggo-grocery kami and pinagluluto kami ng pagkain. Nilalagay na lang sa pinto kasi nga parehas na kami infected ng asawa ko,” she said.
(I am thankful to our relatives, they helped us to buy our groceries and they cooked food for us. They just leave it outside our door because my husband and I were both infected.)
“Sa gamot, paracetamol yung ti-nake namin. Tapos nag-take din kami multi-vitamins, vitamin C and lemon juice na mainit, tsaa and maraming prutas, “she added.
(For the medicine, we took paracetamol. Then we also consumed multi-vitamins, Vitamin C and hot lemon juice, tea and lots of fruits.)

A screen capture of Katherine Perez Luckmann's Facebook post announcing her return to work after battling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

On her first day of work, Katherine took to Facebook to express her gratitude.
“Officially back to work after being sick for 2 weeks because of COVID-19. Thank you to all who were worried and always checking up on my status and my husband's status. Thank you to all who offered prayers, prepared our food, and bought us groceries. Now it’s time to save lives,” she said.

Katherine emphasized that it is important to use the necessary protective equipment, boost the immune system and to stay at home. 

“Sa mga frontliners na katulad ko, kailangan natin magdoble-ingat. Kailangan natin palakasin ang immune system natin," she said.

(To all frontliners like me, we need to be extra-careful. We really need to strengthen our immune system.)

"At para naman po sa lahat, please mag-stay na lang sa loob ng bahay kasi hindi biro ang magkaroon ng coronavirus. Pag nagkaroon ka niyan, hindi mo alam kung mabubuhay ka, or mamatay ka," she said.
(And for everyone, please stay at home because it is not easy to have coronavirus. If you acquire that, you will never know if you'll survive or die.)
Denmark has been under a lockdown since March 16 and borders were closed since March 14. The government also announced the gradual and controlled reopening of school institutions from 0-5 class including daycares after Easter.