It was a journey of sorts. There was fear in the heart right from March 2020 or maybe right from the day when we heard that the deadly virus started playing havoc in Wuhan.
Nonetheless, as all of us went through a marathon of webinars during the lockdown period to prepare ourselves to get down to the battlefield to earn our livelihood as well as treat our patients who were suffering, we now had a sense of confidence within that working with due precaution, we would be able to safeguard ourselves.
But as notorious as the virus is known to be, we really cannot pinpoint the actual cause of inception. However, I have a few theories that might have been the cause for me getting invaded by Corona. So here goes:
We had our maid coming to help us in our daily chores, she admitted that her son had got a fever, to which I told her that she should have informed us over the phone and not come till he got ok or tested. But as maids are, they won’t listen. After 2 odd days, she started sneezing and now I gave her a piece of my mind and told her that once her salary was protected, what was the need to come and work. She then too developed fever. To us, she first said she was diagnosed with Dengue and later she said it was Typhoid. The point is that these people having strong immunity could escape the wrath of the virus but people like me, who may be low on immunity would get infected easily.
The lockdown had just about opened up and my in-laws were eager to meet us. So we visited them in Delhi. I happened to give my father-in-law a haircut, so I guess I was pretty close to him. All was well till five days after our visit that we heard that he tested positive for Covid-19 and since he is Diabetic and a Heart Patient he was admitted to a hospital in Delhi with slight falling in SPO2 levels. He was there for a week or so. All this while I was ok and had no symptoms.
Since my Father-in-Law was diagnosed with Covid-19, My wife’s nephew was sent to us, he is 9 years old, and he was sleeping with us. One day he developed a fever which lasted only for a day and then he was up and about. I was still ok and had no symptoms until I developed pain in my throat 5 or 6 days later but no cough.
My brother and son’s birthday falls in the 1st week of June and since No Malls or shops were open at that time for gift shopping, a lot of online packages were coming home, so the theory of surface spread could come into play here which holds good for grocery as well as vegetable or dairy deliveries too.
I was treating patients but only 2 or 3 in a day and only known patients, adhering to the guidelines. They, however, are at the bottom of my spread list as they were all alright having no symptoms at all. But if someone was a carrier, that part cannot be negated.
It was the night of Thursday, date 11th of June that I developed 100°F fever. I took a tab of Crocin Advance and was ok the entire Friday. However, in the evening I happened to go out on our terrace and there suddenly came gushing winds and I felt something within was not comfortable. The theory of airborne transfer at that time seemed quite a in place. I now developed internal chills, not shivering, in the middle of the night and fever reaching 102°F. This was the night of the 12th of June. Those days there was a lot of confusion regarding covid testing. A lot of private labs were banned for testing due to false-positive reports. My father and wife approached the PGI Hospital in Sec 30, only to come to know that they were closed on Saturdays and Sundays. In the meanwhile, my fever was not breaking and it stayed between 101°F-102°F. I had started taking Azithromycin and Crocin advance by this time. We had a doctor in our neighbourhood; she advised me that in the hospital, instead of HCQ, Doxy was being given to patients. Now the cocktail of medicines started and by Sunday evening I had started vomiting too with no respite from the fever. There was mild dry cough but no cold.
On Monday, we visited PGI, Sec-30. There was a long queue and my father approached their desk so that they could see me before, owing to my deteriorated health. The person on the chair obliged us and said that there was no need for a Covid test until I faced symptoms of breathlessness and he put me on Ciprofloxacin and Paracetemol along with Vit B Complex. By Tuesday, the 16th of June, I felt quite drained and was still reeling under fever. I now reported to Kailash Hospital, Sector-27, Noida, where they immediately took my Chest Radiograph, which then was clear. The doctor recommended that I get admitted as I didn’t look well and that the Covid test could be arranged by the hospital. I agreed to his recommendation. The final blow of viral load came in now as I was accommodated in a twin sharing room where a man tested positive 2 days later. Which means that I shared a room with him with a curtain screen separating our beds (we shared the same washroom for good 2 and a half days). The night he was told to leave this room from the isolation ward, that night was the worst night that I suffered as no one was around, my body was confused whether to have the fan on or the AC on or either of them put off. And I was still burning with high temperature and vomiting and slight cough which became slightly better but I just could not sleep.
I, faltered the next day in calling my wife and brother to be with me for moral support and became like a child wanting to be mothered. Now I was shifted to a private room. I was here for the next two days until my SPO2 levels dropped to 70s. I was now advised to be shifted to the ICU for oxygen support. That night I was shifted to the Trauma ICU and I stayed there for a day. Here another chest radiograph was taken and now the doctors were scared looking at it as it showed bilateral pneumonia with unilateral pleural effusion.
My diagnosis was Respiratory Failure and Widal Test showed an intermediate positive report. (My fear is that I might have been suffering from Typhoid/Paratyphoid and got Covid flare-up in the Hospital). They now gave my family members the terrible news that I had a mere 3% chance of survival. They tried to do FNAC but it was dry which gave me some relief. Now they decided that they would go forward only after an ultrasound or else a lot of bleeding would happen. To my luck, the ultrasound people refused and said that they can’t do an ultrasound on Covid patients. Maybe God saved me from the agony of going through the ordeal of puncturing.
But in this ICU, one of the doctors kept only saying ‘Doctor ठीक हो जाएगा, Doctor को कुछ नहीं होगा, Doctor निकल आएगा।’. He was full of positivity.
I was now shifted to the Covid ICU which had about 19 to 20 beds. Here I spent 8 days which I didn’t come to know of. Every night a chest radiograph was taken, ABG tests were taken twice a day to know the Carbon-Dioxide levels in the arteries. Blood sugar levels were seen and routine blood tests were done apart from the ECG, BP, HR and SPO2 readings.
Here every day from day 1, I was always given the good news that my chest was clearing up and the ABG readings were getting better.
The line of treatment here was that I was put on a BiPAP machine (A non-invasive ventilator) 24hrs for 7 days. I was given low molecular Heparin injections, I was put on a heavy dose of steroids and Antibiotics and injections to lower swelling. Orally, I was put on Immune boosting supplements, Vit C, Kaada twice a day and an Antacid and initially HCQ to lower the Anticipatory Pulmonary Fibrosis.
The first night in the Covid ICU was miserable as they put my mask on the ventilator machine and the force of air was so high that it was very difficult to breathe. The next day I told one of the Nursing staff that, «If you want to loop me please let me know!” He said that the BiPAP machine was not available. I told him, I don’t care just arrange for it. Within no time it was arranged and I breathed better after that. Another tip is that one needs to only breathe through the nose and not open the mouth lest you get ulcerated in your mouth.
The stay in the Covid ICU was of mixed feelings of comfort and discomfort to the extent of hearing the agony of other patients. Sometimes it was sad and sometimes hilarious. My brother visited me for 2 days here and told me that now he wouldn’t be coming and that it was my battle and I had to fight it alone. Now came into play the positive approach towards life, the thought that it is a battle to be worn alone. I had no mobile, no visitor, no connection with the world outside. I made friends with the Nursing staff, the Doctors, myself and The Almighty.
Here, I was noticing how the staff was performing in their PPE Kits in the heat of June and also complying with me as I always asked them to keep the AC Off while they sweated within. I also used to joke with them that ‘you people look very scary at night with your PPE kits so please wear white ones.”
After 8 days of my ICU stay, I was given the news that I would be shifted to the Room. It was a private room and now I had a TV for entertainment and a Landline phone to talk with my kith & kin. It was a feeling of elation once my
BiPAP was taken off and I was breathing through a nasal prom. Small achievements seemed quite big, like standing on my feet without support, walking without oxygen, going to the washroom on my own. I was pushing myself all the way to come out of it soon. I came to know my body now. Every day before the Doctor came to see me in my room, I used to sit up half an prior to his arrival as the SPO2 would increase that way. I was also asked to lie down in a prone position as much as possible for better oxygenation.
While I was getting better, the news was not that good as I came to know that my father was critical, my brother was also admitted to the same Army Base Hospital as my father and my wife and daughter tested positive. Those days, home quarantine was not allowed, and the CMO office kept calling and warning my wife that if they didn’t get admitted to any covid hospital they would be forced to send the police. After my wife pleaded with them that both, she and my daughter had no symptoms and were doing fine with SPO2 levels of 98/99, they agreed for home quarantine. I was also now going to get discharged after a day or two.
I now got discharged after 20 days long stay at Kailash Hospital. I owe it all to the Prayers & Blessings of my family, especially my wife, my children, my brother & my father and all the people, the selfless service of the caretakers, Nursing staff, the Doctors, (Especially Dr Satish Bhardwaj, a great motivator, instrumental in getting positivity flowing into me and Dr Lalit Mishra, my treating Doctor, another confident and positive person). Last but not the least The Almighty Lord as He willed that I should still carry on.
What side effects did I face?
The side effects faced by me are as follows:
Weakness in the knees, joints & limbs.
For some reason, maybe due to the BiPAP my TMJ seems to be affected.
Partial Amnesia or brain fog as it may be called.
Hair loss, for which I took Follihair prescribed by the Dermatologist. But it only got ok after shaving my head off.
There are dermatological symptoms owing to low immunity I guess in terms of Acne & Rashes.
Confusion in sense of smell to anything containing alcohol like aftershave, sanitizers, surgical spirit etc.
10. Earlier days- Insomnia, I used to crave for sleep
11. Increase in Blood Pressure at times.
12. Initially some people in society too distanced themselves from us.
To sum it up Covid is showing us Six types:
1. The Asymptomatic types
2. The basic fever & sore throat types
3. The Lung infection sans pneumonia types
4. The Lung infection with pneumonia types treated with BiPAP
5. With the above who required Plasma therapy in addition
6. The people on whom nothing seems to be working and they are put on a ventilator. Unfortunately, most of these people succumb; it’s very rare that someone comes out of it.
Take Away Points:
God is the one who can do Miracles and I assure you that. One must only have positive thoughts. It is an individual’s battle and only the individual has to fight it out. The whole family might get affected, so you would require a solid administrative back-up.
Get a good Family Insurance Policy done. Always do good unto others, only prayers work sometimes. Always keep the 3 cardinal rules in mind, Wear your Mask, Keep Social Distancing and Always wash your hands with soap or sanitize your hands whenever you touch any foreign object.
Do not touch your face without washing/sanitizing your hands. Go out only if it is a must. Don’t lose your guard at any time ‘क्योंकि सावधानी हटी तो दुर्घटना घटी।’ Make your kith & kin aware of your assets & liabilities. They should know your online passwords. They should know how to operate your online transactions. They should know your payment dates for credit card bills, Insurance, Electricity & Telephone bills. They should know whom & how much they need to pay to clear your debts if any. They should be able to do banking. They should be able to deal with your investments viz, shares, mutual funds etc. They should know about your movable and immovable assets. Train and make your spouse and children aware. They should have all important contact numbers of Friends, Relatives, Repair & Service people handy in a diary. They should know how to retrieve the money from the Insurance Company and other places. A nominee is a must. Save them from the hassles which they may face due to ignorance. Life is Uncertain, Make things Easy to Ascertain.
अंत में, किसी ने खूब कहा है:
ऐ बुरा वक्त ज़रा अदब से पेश आ,
वक्त बदलने में वक्त नहीं लगता।
(Representational image used)
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The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.