‘They Want to Kill Me’: Many Covid Patients Have Terrifying Delirium


One moment, scientists in Japan were testing chemicals on her; the next she was telling them, “‘I am an American and I have a right to eat a cheeseburger and drink Coca-Cola,’” she recalled, adding: “I don’t even like cheeseburgers.”

Along with this agitated hyperactive delirium, she experienced internalized hypoactive delirium. In a recovery room after leaving the I.C.U., she’d stare for 10 to 20 seconds when asked basic questions, said Dr. Hageman, adding, “Nothing was quite processing.”

Ms. Victory managed to take a picture of herself with nasal oxygen tubes and a forehead scar, post it on Facebook and write “I’m alive” in Vietnamese so her parents in Vietnam would know she’d survived. But another day, she called her husband, Wess Victory, 15 or 20 times, repeatedly saying, “I give you two hours to come pick me up.”

“It was heartbreaking,” said Mr. Victory, who patiently told her she couldn’t be released yet. “For four or five days, she still couldn’t remember what year it was, who the president was.”

Finally, he said, “something clicked.”

Now, to help overcome the fallout from the experience, she’s started taking an antidepressant her doctor prescribed and recently saw a psychologist.

“People think when the patient got well and out of the hospital, it will be OK, it’s over,” Ms. Victory said. “I worry if the virus didn’t kill me back then, would that have affected my body enough to kill me now?”

Dabrali Jimenez contributed reporting,



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