The subsequent day on Nov. 19, he awakened unable to catch his breath. He was admitted into St. Vincent Healthcare the place his oxygen saturation ranges sat at round 80%. An X-ray of his chest confirmed pneumonia had fashioned in each of his lungs.
Three days later, his oxygen ranges dropped to 67%, leading to Zelka having to make use of about 60 liters of heated high-flow oxygen. Zelka likened the oxygen’s stream to the air strain of a tire air compressor.
His oxygen ranges hovered round 90%, however provided that he stayed very nonetheless. Nurses helped him lie on his abdomen, which helps with air and blood stream.
“I spent the following 4 or 5 days on that prime stream,” Zelka stated. “I used to be just about a prisoner in a mattress.”
As time handed he was lastly capable of stand and stroll. Now months later, he’s capable of train.
As a doctor, he anticipated needing the heated high-flow oxygen. He additionally knew that if the high-flow oxygen didn’t assist, he’d be placed on a Bilevel Constructive Airway Stress, or BiPAP, machine. This machine delivers pressurized air that helps open the lungs. If that didn’t work, a ventilator would’ve been subsequent.
“I used to be this shut,” Zelka stated.
This week, he was capable of run a mile with little issue and solely makes use of oxygen at evening whereas he sleeps. He’s come a good distance, however should now undergo a sequence of assessments to find out if there may be any everlasting harm to his lungs.