I got severely impacted by COVID in April last week, when Wave 2 was at its peak in the NCR area and this has provided me an opportunity to see things in a completely different perspective. It all started with a fever, we consulted our family physician on day one itself and went for RT-PCR test. Everything was going smoothly as per the treatment plan, however we missed few key symptoms – high fever returned with slight breathing issue in Week 2 – believing in self-body resistance and delay of just a couple of days, allowed COVID to take a dangerous turn by quickly dropping my oxygen levels that landed me in an ICU bed.
We are hearing COVID experiences of 98% of people, who have either recovered well in home isolation or reached the hospital for oxygen facility, however the story of ICU patients is chilling and there are few to talk about. This was the first time I was in a hospital in 4 decades- an ICU room filled with 8 patients, many suffocating, screaming, trying to survive with monitors blinking all around. This virus is deadly, suffocates you to the fullest and needs a very strong mental mindset along with timely medical help to survive.
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My horrific experience of sitting for 40 hours in an ICU bed in just one position with a spinning head, suffocation due to lower oxygen levels, sharing critical medical equipment with fellow patient who bravely fought for 16 hours but finally moved on to heavenly abode, has completely changed my perspective and priorities in life. Few of the considerations for COVID treatments based on my COVID journey and also learnings that are going to guide my life going forward that may even help others are (Not in any particular sequence or priorities):
· Monitor and identify the symptoms early: Day 8-12 after having the first COVID symptom is critical. Seek out medical help immediately if there is anything abnormal. This virus and its after effects are time critical and even a single day delay could make it life threatening.
· Don’t just believe in your immune system: I was healthy, taking all COVID appropriate measures and even had one dose of vaccine, however I got critically impacted. Timely, right medical advice and prayers can make a lot of difference. Go to the hospital instead of waiting for medical treatment at home.
Have faith in Doctors and in Medications: I found both doctors and support staff, going all out to save lives even during such demanding conditions. They were trying to save each and every patient though some couldn’t make it due to their destiny. However, unless the patient also has a fighting spirit and faith in medication, it would be difficult to come out of this chaos.
· Fulfill your all wishes and desires right now- I have seen “Death” closely during ICU stay and also lost some good friends in just a few days – irrespective of age or gender. While on ICU bed, even though you are immovable, your mind keeps working. Each and every incident from your childhood unfolds in front of you and makes you happy or sad depending upon the outcome. Keep your account clear- Talk to friends & relatives, help each other, fulfill all your desires and live like- “There is no Tomorrow”.
· Invest in people and relationships: I was lucky to have some good relatives and friends who turned up in mid-night on just one SOS call, went all out to arrange a bed in a hospital quickly and carried me to hospital knowing the risks, since I was a COVID patient. We may have hundreds of friends who would be wishing us on our birthdays and they may be even quicker in writing “RIP” on digital channels, if need arises, however such gems are limited who can stand for you in difficult times. Identify and invest in them- best part is that it just needs some time and care and no financial burden.
· Information your Family Should Know: Record all critical health and financial information immediately and ensure it is accessible to your family members. This virus doesn’t give time and your family should not struggle in case of any unfortunate outcome.
· Be Fearless: Believe in Almighty and remain positive during the complete treatment cycle. Nothing is going to happen if it is not already decided by HIM and at the same time it cannot be stopped, if already decided. Since we don’t know the final outcome, as a human, we have to keep our spirits high and fight out the disease without losing hope.
After two weeks of hospitalization, I am back at home and recovering. There are still some breathing and sugar level management issues along with too much weakness. However, all these should get cured in the next few weeks with a good protein rich diet, respiratory exercises, rest and am positive of coming out of the woods soon. I wish no one gets impacted with this deadly disease and even if someone gets impacted-should get well without any hospitalization or requirement for an ICU bed.
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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.