Aniruddha Dutta tested COVID positive and when she felt she had finally defeated the virus, the virus gripped her again and viciously this time. Here is her long COVID journey
A lot of people had close encounter with COVID in 2020 and sadly, many known ones fought unsuccessfully. We are therefore living with an invisible monster in a room. One may not realize how serious a threat it is unless one goes through it. People with serious comorbidity should be seriously scared and be very careful. It is a damn serious threat. Please prevent it at the outset. I am documenting my experience if useful to any.
It all began on 18th December 2020, symptoms looked like a normal seasonal allergic bout with manageable congestion. I treated myself with anti-allergen and antibiotic. I had touch and go fever and suppressed cough, loose wet phlegm. I was able to hold my breath for more than a minute, so, I was pretty sure it was not COVID.. so far so good. Cetirizine and paracetamol were working.
I took the RT PCR Covid test on 23rd December, as I was about to board a flight to India on 25th. On 24th December, I got the report, and I was Positive.
For about 15 minutes panic had gripped the family.. but in no time, we were composed. We decided to connect with a doctor friend in India and was guided very well. The key word was – Do not panic and prepare yourself for all eventualities. I was recommended home quarantine with all requisite medicines. My gut feel said if I go to hospital once, my chances of coming out on my two legs were bleak since I would be one of the many there. It is better to manage the disease effectively at home. For us, hospital had to be the last resort. We were vigilant till the tipping point. No one else in the family had any symptoms of COVID.
Key things to have: Thermometer, BP instruments and oximeter.
Key medicines: Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, cetirizine, Azithromycin, Paracetamol, Cough suppressant.
I DID NOT SELF DIAGNOSE OR TREAT. Informed the doctor about comorbidity and in my case-controlled diabetes. My metformin tab was increased to three a day.
Key food: Lime, Kiwi, Guava, normal home meal
Took steam and gargled with haldi and salt 3 times a day.
Day 1-24th December 2020
I was 7 days old patient already from the day of first sign of symptom and till today, they were mild. Other family member was treated for asymptomatic COVID and were also put through azithromycin, Vitamin C with Zinc and D. SPO2 level kept dropping to 90% but with immediate breathing exercise, I was able to maintain an average of 93/94%. My chest pressure eased with Erythromycin and cetirizine. And by now I had lost complete sense of smell and taste.
Day 2-25th Dec 2020
I had a good undisturbed sleep, also chest congestion eased a bit. Dry cough was making breathing control difficult. Oxygen level was now at 92/93. I did breathing exercise every one hour and I was without fever for 24 hours. I just had a slight fever around 7pm.
Day 3-26th Dec 2020
I got up around 04.30 with relieved symptoms. Chest congestion had relieved, there was no fever, Spo2 level was fluctuating between 92 to 94%. By evening, symptoms like dry cough got severe and troubling. Sense of smell and taste was coming back so I started taking cough suppressants, which had helped me a big deal. Pressure in the chest was also building up. Blood Pressure was 135 / 97 and SPo2 level stayed between 90-92%.
Day 4 – 27th Dec 2020
I got up around 0330 with severe coughing. I also had abdominal muscle pain and difficulty in breathing was unbearable by now. I was mentally giving up now for a local medical support. I had to take cetirizine and Azithromycin (3 hours in advance) to suppress the coughing bout. I could feel the lungs tightening and pressure in the chest building. Health is now switching like a sinusoidal curve- sometime up and down. There was terrible weakness. Blood Pressure was 133/96 and SPO2 was around 93.
Day 5 – 28th Dec 2020
I had good undeterred sleep but got up with terrible feeling of weakness. At 0430, I passed out in the bathroom for some time. I had immediate recovery but this morning has been the best in terms of health recovery. I was now feeling much better than before and dry cough was under control. I was feeling better and performed prone ventilation position, providing relief to the over worked lungs. Blood pressure was 133/93 and SPO2 was an average of 94.
Day 6 -29th Dec 2020
This day I could say for sure that I had survived Coronavirus. My health seemed to be in complete control and experienced undisturbed sleep. There was no sign of trauma and no congestion. I had free breath flow, no cough, no fever.
Day 7-8 (30-31st Dec 2020)
Doctor suggested a chest XRay to start post Covid corrections and thankfully there was no sign of pneumonia and it was clear. I rested for another 4 days.
Here comes the post Covid suffering
I traveled to India on 8th January with a COVID negative certificate. Till such time I had no clue how weak I had become since I was resting before taking the trip. There was a layover of 18 hours in Qatar where I suffered from severe Gastrointestinal (GI) problem. I had severe diarrhea with little blood in it. The GI, however, was for little span and the effect was over in 2 days.
On 12th, I developed Urinary Tract infection (UTI), which kept developing. Pain during urination was unbearable, accompanied by low grade fever, which increased to high grade. This was accompanied by severe breathing problem. By 14th, the situation aggravated with hallucination was another addition to my problems.
I got myself admitted in Shalby hospital in Ahmedabad with severe distress, with very low blood platelets, oximeter level showing crisis, very high-grade fever (104+ degrees), and hallucination. Doctor kept eliminating problems one by one but the fever was consistent. Several tests e.g Covid (negative), Plasmodium Vivax – Malaria (positive) gave the medical team some idea of the problem.
After 11 days in ICU, I was relieved from the hospital. The outcome of the treatment process was
1.I lost 12 Kgs in the process.
2. My ability to walk in one go reduced to 20 steps.
3. I had swollen intestine, resulting in severe pain on the left side of the stomach. Took 10 days to get relief.
4. Brain fog
5. My hand and leg swelling indicating some kidney related issue, took almost 5 days to get relief.
6. Loss of taste. Metallic bitter taste at the swallowing portion of the tongue
Although, I have come back to my country of residence, I know I am there for long haul. One day work had to be supported by 2 days of rest. I am improving but very slowly.
Despite my comorbidity, I survived the trauma. It is not a good disease to have. Mask is must for 100% people. With intermittent use of mask this cannot be prevented. Spreader group Symptomatic or Asymptomatic ( most dangerous) must be careful. Please take care and take precautions.
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The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.