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Rafael Lara has been in the Civil Guard for almost four decades. He has kicked villages, captained investigation teams, and seen the different faces of death lying at his feet. But I had never felt a body slowly and agonizingly empty of life. The coronavirus has shown it to him: "It is as if you were covering your face with a plastic bag . You are trying to breathe in air, but the oxygen does not arrive." A terrible feeling that, a few days after being discharged from the hospital where he was admitted to the emergency department, and serving a preventive isolation of two weeks, still overwhelms him with pneumonia that, in his last flicks, still causes some attack of cough.
Pathological optimist, this 55-year-old agent did not give importance to that general malaise that for several days had taken over his body. He thought it was a cold and kept going to his post in the Port of Malaga . It was mid-March, and although the Covid-19 pandemic was already taking up space in our media, it was still seen as something distant, confined to China, an element of political controversy after the 8-M protests. The subsequent figures of deceased, hospitalized and infected would end up showing their true dimension.
Rafael was working when he started to feel bad . "The lieutenant told me to leave," and he did so. But his condition would worsen with the passing of the hours and "I began to lack air." "I couldn't explain what was happening to me because I don't smoke, I practice spearfishing in freediving , I ride a bike ... But I couldn't breathe."
He was quickly transferred to a hospital in the Malaga capital, where he was in Observation for about an hour, "until I started suffocating and they had to put on an oxygen mask ." The agent was admitted immediately and "they gave me a cocktail of pills and intravenous medication." "Even a drug against malaria," he says now with relief, recalling moments when he had a very hard time: "I was scared and I thought I was dying ."
It was one of the doctors who treated him who confirmed that he had been hospitalized for coronavirus and that his good physical condition had saved him. "Thanks to spearfishing, I have a blood oxygen level above normal; and that is what saved me," says Lara, who has recorded the explanation given by the doctors: "The percentage oxygen saturation must be between 95 and 100. Below 90, it is abnormal, and if it reaches 80, it is fatal. I was in the critical phase, but I was able to get ahead, according to what the doctors told me, by lung capacity achieved with apnea, and which made this index to be 120 before getting sick. "
However, this extra preparation that Rafael had in his fight against the virus did not prevent him from having a very bad time and insists on his comparison: "It is as if you covered your mouth and nose with a piece of plastic and tried to breathe for several minutes. " A very stressful feeling, because "even if you want, the air doesn't pass".
This civil guard spent several days hospitalized after overcoming the worst moments and finally allowed him to continue the recovery at home , where he has continued with the treatment of antibiotics to heal the pneumonia in which the disease derived. "On Saturday I left the pills, but I still have a period of isolation," he says cheerfully, "although it's the least of it."
Rafael is a very dear guy and during this time he has received numerous samples of affection from acquaintances, friends and colleagues. "The commanders of the Malaga Command have behaved very well. They have been interested in my state regularly and have expressed their concern; as the director of the Civil Guard - the Malaga adoption mother María Gámez - who called me when I was hospitalized to know how I was, "he says.
Now he acknowledges that he feels lucky, because there was a time when "I thought I died", and he is grateful to be able to be by his wife and two children, but he does not forget his colleagues who died from the pandemic and all those professionals who are going out of their way. to try to reverse the complex situation that still exists. His first dive after the crisis will be his particular tribute to everyone.
Days ago, the death of Manuel Matías Fernández Zurdo was revealed . Married and with two children, this Civil Guard agent from the Leganés Traffic subsector lost his life as a result of the virus after more than two weeks hospitalized.
With him there are already at least five civil guards who have died from this disease. The first of them was Pedro Alameda , 57, who died on March 18 in Alcorcón. He had no previous pathologies. The lieutenant colonel chief of the Rapid Action Group (GAR), Jesús Gayoso Rey , also died at the age of 48 for the same reason. Similarly, at least two national police officers, a municipal police officer from Madrid and a mosso have died.
The encryption of members of the security forces infected with coronavirus has been estimated at more than 1,600 throughout the country , made up of the bulk of components of the Armed Institute and the National Police.
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