From Uncertainty to Survival
The story of determination to beat COVID-19
Life is so unpredictable…
When the COVID-19 pandemic spread to India, particularly to the southern state of Kerala where I live, and where the infection was initially spread by those coming from abroad, we health professionals were groping in the dark for information. Fear and uncertainty were gripping the population when I decided to volunteer and help our society.
I joined the Telemedicine team which was functioning from the IMA house, Cochin, and triaged, counseled many individuals who were in quarantine since March. Later in June I joined the StepOne team as a volunteer and had the opportunity to help many Corona-positive patients and their families in Delhi.
Many of the patients were apprehensive; some were anxious and some even refused to believe they tested positive. This was the time when there was a surge of cases and there was a shortage of available ICU beds. Many patients, especially those with symptoms and comorbidities needed to be shifted to the hospital urgently as their oxygen saturation was going down. The Pulse Oximeter helped us doctors triage those who needed urgent hospitalization and/or ICU admission.
“Now talking to COVID-19 positive patients after this personal experience, my insight and attitude has changed considerably as I can empathise with them better as a Corona survivor.”
My husband who works at a corporate hospital, complained of tiredness when he returned from hospital on Saturday July 11 and felt feverish the next day. His body temperature was mild and he did not need a Paracetamol. As he is around 60 years of age, and on medication for hypertension, I knew he was at high risk in case he was Corona-positive. Though he was fine on Monday, he did not go to work but I kept monitoring his oxygen saturation.
The same evening, I noticed his oxygen saturation was going down – a condition that doctors now are familiar with as “happy” or silent hypoxia. I immediately rushed him to the hospital where he tested positive for COVID-19. He was started on oxygen, steroids, antibiotics and Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWH).
The next day I too tested positive although I just had a mild fever, headache, and pain behind my left eye for 2-3 days. I was started on vitamins only. My husband’s condition turned from bad to worse as all his inflammatory markers were steadily increasing and X-Ray /CT chest scans were not looking good.
Clinically his need for oxygen was more and as the pulmonologist suspected a cytokine storm, he had to be shifted to ICU where the line of treatment was Remedisvir, Tocluzimab ,high-end antibiotics with LMWH, steroids and BiPAP oxygen
We are not sure which drug did the magic healing or was it everyone’s prayers – he miraculously became better and we both were back home after testing Corona-negative.
All of us are not sure how long we will have to face this challenge of dealing with the pandemic. We are learning everyday how to deal with it better and hopefully the day of conquering this virus is not far away . Till then all of us have to STAY SAFE………..
About the Author
Dr Premila Harimohan MBBS DCH PGDEI - Kochi Kerala Volunteer at Project StepOne