My healthy physique saved my life
“It wasn’t until the doctor at the hospital came into my room and asked me, ‘if I was afraid to die,’ that I understood the severity of the problem. I had never before had that fear. However, the people around me and the professionals in white coats must have understood the impending reality. I apparently was self-aware, but have a hard time remembering specifics when I look back on this time in my life. The doctors said that my training background in exercise made the difference in my fight against Covid-19. From almost being a statistic to running on the treadmill.” Amazing…
Per Martin Brendryen is 77 years young. His medical history is no joke. In the span of four months, he had surgery for both cancer and a broken back. “The back surgery was the most painful, but I have a scar all the way up from my groin from the cancer surgery. After 5 years the cancer came back. This is unfortunately where my story begins, a Taxi from Haukeland Hospital in Bergen toward Flesland airport. The date is the 3rd of April 2020.
Our main character is sitting down both tired and sweaty after a session on the treadmill. Following the necessary Covid-19 protocols he tells us how he, “was on his way home to Sandefjord after 25 rounds of radiation treatment. After 5 weeks up at the hospital, it was especially hard to travel home due to the recent pandemic outbreak. The taxi driver was a nice guy, but unbeknownst to both of us, was he infected with Covid-19. I got a phone call 5 days after the ride. Interestingly, I felt perfectly fine and thought I had escaped the worst. However, the symptoms came a couple days later. I had a fever, but even worse was that I had trouble breathing. My wife and I went to the emergency room here in Sandefjord but were sent home with antibiotics.”
Then it became critical
Per Martin and his wife Kari made a return trip because at the time, Per Martin did a fever. At the time, a fever was one of the many requirements needs in order to be admitted into the hospital. “I got sicker and sicker. After a couple days at home, my wife Kari called the hospital in Tønsberg. She was worried but subsequently very convincing. I was eventually admitted, and the next 15 days were hellish. I had tubes up my nose, wasn’t able to go to the bathroom by myself, couldn’t wipe myself and everything was foggy. I lost my muscles and to this day I still have numbness in my legs and two of my fingers. This was the hardest period of my life,” Per Martin explains. Luckily, things soon became much better.
Shadow of Myself
Per Martin was a shadow of himself when he was released from the hospital after his bout with Covid-19. “I’m lucky to have a high degree of will power pushing me to use my street as my training ground. With a walker and without muscles, I had to relearn everything. I stumbled around one hour at a time, and I improved ever so slightly. Then there was a stint at the coastal hospital in Stavern, where I am forever grateful to all the medical workers. They were extraordinarily motivating and allowed me to be comfortable with myself again. Finally, I was the first one on the treadmill when the training center opened up again here at Helseparken.”
Regular Guest at the Clinic
Since last June, he has been here at least 3 times a week. His progress has been sensational. “I remember when we wondered if he was ever going to be able to run again. He was a shell of his former self, but now he can run amazingly and has become a social butterfly. Happy, inspirational and a definite tone setter.” Daily Instructor Kine Gulliksen at the clinic is very impressed with his progress. “And for those of us who knew him before his bout with Covid-19, we can barely see a difference. It’s hard to believe that its really him!”
And if everything goes as planned, he will soon travel back up to Bergen for a cancer remission checkup. “I have been back up to Tønsberg for standard tests, and those have indicated that I am cancer free. Nevertheless, I still do not feel 100%. I am unsure if my numbness and balance will work themselves out, but other than that I feel much better. All I can focus on is keeping my routine. Once thing is clear, exercise keeps me healthy. Even a week without my training is not an option. I will lose my progress.” His heart rate can get up to 180 BPM on the treadmill and be back down to 52 in a matter of minutes. This is not your standard 77-year-old.
As we discuss his journey from recovering from Covid, it would be impossible not to mention his wife Kari. “This summer, will we have been married 50 years. After everything she has done for me, especially over the last year, I don’t think I will be making any changes to my marital status. She has been my rock during this last year, the worst year of my life. Now my life is full of optimism. I train hard during the week and when the weekend rolls around, I’ll have a couple beers, watch some sports and have dinner with my wonderful wife. She’ll have a glass of white wine while I’ll have a glass of red. A big glass, and well disserved!” A real fighter…