QLD_GCB_NEWS_PATIENT_18MAR20_PAYNE
QLD_GCB_NEWS_PATIENT_18MAR20_PAYNE

Virus patient tells: 'You feel you might never get well.'

THE first Gold Coaster to contract coronavirus has a simple message: "Stay at home, or at least stop going on trips, disinfect things and drink hot drinks."

In her first interview since emerging from two weeks in hospital, Khadijeh "Roya" Oveisi says she cried when told she had the virus after returning from a holiday in Iran in mid-February. She suffered fever and severe chest pain.

But after being released on Monday, the Southport beautician is happy and healthy, not contagious, and says she cannot wait to thank her boss, colleagues and clients.

"I had gone (to Iran) to visit my family and my nephew, who had come to Iran from Belgium," she said. "I had returned and was at work when I felt a severe cold."

She went to Gold Coast University Hospital to be tested, on the advice of her boss and family.

"When I found out, I started crying. I'm not scared of death, but I was worried about my family in Iran. About the people who were in touch with me, my 40 clients and my colleagues and others.

"I called my brother immediately and asked them all to have tests."

Ms Oveisi said while overseas she took measures to protect herself with face masks and gloves, as news of the global pandemic spread.

Quarantine measures for international arrivals from Iran had not been announced at the time of her return to Australia.

"Most of the people were talking about corona," she said.

"They said we have flights coming from China. They used facial masks and gloves and antibacterials. But the Government and the news didn't say anything about it. People were scared."

In hospital, Ms Oveisi said she was well looked after as the virus started to take hold.

"I rarely have even headaches and had never become ill until I got coronavirus. I never had such an experience, specially chest pain and high fever. I didn't cough. I slept well.

Robina resident, Roya Oveisi, 63, pictured in better health. Picture: Jerad Williams
Robina resident, Roya Oveisi, 63, pictured in better health. Picture: Jerad Williams

"After spending three nights at hospital, I had fever for two nights in a row and had chest pain as well.

"The next day I felt I'm dying - I couldn't move at all. You feel you might never get well. You might die and don't see your loved ones again.

"The doctors came to help and inserted IV fluid and I felt much better by that night."

While she did not require a ventilator, Ms Oveisi said her voice changed and she suffered from severe chest pain.

"I started reading books, watching TV series, praying for all the people around the world, and talking to my loved ones over the phone," she said.

Released from hospital with a clean bill of health, Ms Oveisi said she was eager to return to work at her Australia Fair beauty salon.

"I like my boss, colleagues and my clients and miss them," she said.

Health authorities said individuals such as Ms Oveisi had permission to get back to their lives as they were no longer contagious.

"I want to thank the doctors, nurses and all the people working at Gold Coast Hospital," she said.

"I also want to thank my boss and my beloved son who advised me to go to the hospital immediately.

"And I want to thank all my family and friends.

"At the end I wish health and happiness for everyone."

Queensland Health is urging anyone who has been overseas in the past 14 days and has a fever or any respiratory symptoms to see a doctor immediately.

Call ahead to the GP surgery and let them know your symptoms and travel history, to help them prepare for your arrival.

Anyone with concerns can call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or find up-to-date information on the Queensland Health website at health.qld.gov.au/coronavirus