Before and after; Credit: Paul Thiltges

In a second COVID-19 (coronavirus) victim testimony on, following that of Jean-Pierre Thilges, Luxembourgish film producer Paul Thiltges has shared his harrowing experience of battling and recovering from the virus on top of pneumonia and a bacterial infection.

A 64-year old film producer and sales agent at Paul Thiltges Distributions (PTD) and resident of Koerich, a village in western Luxembourg, Paul Thiltges was released from Hôpital Kirchberg on Tuesday afternoon after eight days of treatment for double pneumonia (viral), a bacterial superinfection and COVID-19. Mr Thiltges's wife, their two daughters and a family friend also contracted coronavirus. They have all since overcome the worst of the illness and are on the mend together in quarantine. 

Testimony of Paul Thiltges

When were you first aware that you may have contracted COVID-19, and what were the initial symptoms?

Paul: Friday 13 March. Growing pains (body ache), headaches, light fever, chest ache, light coughing...

Were you tested? If so, how and where (drive-through / hospital)?

Paul: Not at first. On Monday 16 March, I went to my great GP who detected pneumonia. Only the next day was I authorised to do the test, which was (of course) positive. I got tested in the doctor's cabinet and we brought my sample to Junglinster drive-through (Kutter lab).

Had you been practising self-isolation and/or social distancing up to that point?

Paul: Yes, of course. But with part of my family: my wife Micheline, two of our daughters and their two friends who live with us in the house. My other four kids were safe and still are, as they don't live with us and of course we asked them to keep their distance. They are all negative, and so is one of the friends of our daughter [at present].

How did the symptoms evolve and how did it affect you?

Paul: For one week I was in bed, heavy headaches (the worst), increasing pains, light coughing, light chest pain and slowly rising fever. 

Did you contact the health/medical service in Luxembourg? Were you hospitalised? Where? If so, for how long? Were you in intensive care?

Paul: Yes, I called 8002 8080. For some time they screened me via phone. On the evening of Saturday 22 March, the fever went up to 39.9, so my GP (who in the meantime also tested positive and could only help me via teleconsulting) urged me to call 112. I was brought to CHL Centre, where they made a blood test and thorax scan (RX), then the doctor sent me home, because I was still breathing okay. On Sunday and Monday, my health was worsening, and by Tuesday morning, my temperature was 39.9 and we called 112 again. This time I was brought to CHL Kirchberg where they kept me in isolation for seven days!

Please tell us about your experience with the health/medical services in Luxembourg in this regard.

Paul: The first attempt was not successful (CHL Centre)- I was sent back home. The second attempt (CHL Kirchberg) was the right one. I was taken care of and the whole team (doctors, cleaning and medical teams) were absolutely fantastic and devoted. By the way, for all the right-wing, racist or xenophobic morons like *** ****** who writes his sickening messages on social media: These teams were multicultural, they came from Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg and did a great, devoted job as a team!

For how long did the symptoms last?

Paul: More or less two weeks... I can't say which symptoms were due to the pneumonia and superinfection and which were due to COVID-19. I'm home now, but I'm sure it will take me a few weeks to get my breath back. But that's fine with me. 

Were any other family members affected?

Of course. My wife Micheline, two of our daughters and their two friends, who live with us in our household. One of us is still negative, while the other five are all positive and getting out of it right now. Four of our kids who don't live with us are negative and okay!

What did you do to pass the time while recovering?

Paul: iPhone, iPad, sleeping, reading, communicating with family and friends.

For how long do you need to remain quarantined/in isolation?

Paul: I'm officially done on 4 April, but will still stay home with part of my family another week or two, until we're all symptom free. We're not in a hurry! 

Do you have any advice for our readers as to what to do / what not to do in relation to avoiding COVID-19?

Paul: Stay the f... home, don't even think obout partying or visiting friends. This is NOT a simple flu, COVID-19 can be a real KILLER! And don't blame it on anybody, we're all responsible for this and in this boat together!

After what Paul Thiltges has described as the "darkest moment" of his life with regard to his health, the 64-year-old expressed relief at being back home with his family as they complete their recovery together.

As a reminder, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Luxembourg is 2,487 (including 30 fatalities) as of 2 April 2020. The COVID-19 national hotline is available at 8002 8080. Calls from abroad should be made via tel.: +352-497-719200