Lessons From A COVID Survivor: Timely Action Holds The Key

I would like to share my first-hand experience of COVID-19, hoping some of you would find it useful.

Bihari Pradhan, who stayed with his family in our outhouse, complained of body ache and fever on September 9. I made arrangements for an RT-PCR test for 12 people staying inside our compound the following day. Five of us, including me and my wife Susmita, tested positive. Till that time only Pradhan had symptoms. The rest of us started having fever around September 12. We were taking Doxycycline and Ivermectin 12 along with vitamins. Two of us had no fever or any symptoms after just one day. But the temperature persisted for Pradhan, my wife and me. Pradhan, in particular, had very high fever and body ache. Therefore, we got him shifted to a hospital.

Since I know the owner of the hospital very well, it was very comforting for me. Since my wife and I had temperature, though mild, we got a HRCT of chest done on September 18; both had a score of 6/25. Then we both were prescribed Favipiravir. I responded well and recovered in 3 days. But Susmita’s fever continued. We got another HRCT done for her on September 23. The score had worsened to 10/25. So we shifted her to another hospital. She was administered Heparin (an anticoagulant), Dexona (a steroid) and antiviral Ramdesvir from September 23. Since the last injection is given through a drip, hospitalization was essential. She responded well and got fully cured in 5 days.

However, Pradhan, who also underwent the same treatment as my wife, had low oxygen saturation in blood and had to be kept on ventilator support. We also arranged for plasma therapy. But it could only be started when one is otherwise normal. So we were waiting for him to come out of ventilator support. Unfortunately, he had cardiac arrest on September 28 morning and passed away the same afternoon.

Five of us tested positive on the same day and had almost similar initial symptoms; two of us recovered in a day. I recovered after taking Favipiravir, my wife after a course of Ramdesvir but sadly Pradhan couldn’t survive. None of us had any co-morbidity and we all had reasonably stable health parameters. So what happened to Pradhan could have happened to any of us!

In the past few days a couple of my close school and college friends and some acquaintances have succumbed to this dreaded virus. I would like to sum up my understanding of this disease as follows: per se, the rate of fatality due to COVID-19 is not high, but it is highly contagious. People are suffering more due to ignorance (I think Pradhan might have ignored initial symptoms); arrogance (I am internally very strong, it is just a flu, nothing will happen to me etc etc kind of attitude); false sense of security (WhatsApp groups are going berserk with prescriptions, starting from Hydroxychloroquin to Kalamegh and giloy quath to some homeopathic prescriptions). These are good for improving immunity, but are no guarantee against getting infected. In fact, we had been on the above ayurvedic and allopathic prescriptions for quite some time, but we still got it. Other contributing factors could be denial (a very dear friend of mine refused to accept that he has symptoms and did not go for the test till it was too late and he expired within 2 days of testing positive) and social stigma (many people living in gated communities are just not going for check-up fearing that the residents’ welfare association might ask them to leave the premises). An acquaintance had to fly down from Mumbai to Bhubaneswar to get his test done. He felt had he tested positive there he would have been asked to vacate the accommodation and shift to a hospital. Thankfully, he tested negative.

Actually, all we need to do is take precautions that the government is crying hoarse from rooftops for so many months. We have to accept that each of us is vulnerable and needs to take precautions. At the same time, we must realize that the rate of fatality is low and if we take timely action it is unlikely that things would go out of hand.


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