Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Positive Covid Story

If this is the first time I'm blogging since Jayalalithaa's death, surely something has to have happened. A few months ago, a friend shared a video of an ex-dean of Christian Medical College, Vellore, an expert in epidemiology, saying that he expected that almost 80-90% of the population would be infected in due course of time.
Now the thing with humans/Indians (as you would like it) is that even if we have something staring us in the face, if it's something inconvenient, we normally try our best to ignore it or live in denial.

Geography of the Incident

Now if the above prediction by an expert epidemiologist wasn't enough, one would've thought that someone living in the epicentre of the outbreak would at least have tried to be prepared to be infected. But that's how we are no? Precautions or not, we just aren't ready.

History of the Accident

Which brings me to what probably happened. After years of bare minimum physical activity, the normal excuse for which was always "just not enough time", I thought I owed at least myself a proof of the justification I had been doling out - that if I did get some time, I would at least use it to work out. So then March 27 happened, and I started running. Not quite like Forrest Gump, but you know, something at least. When I got fever, at first I thought it was because of carelessness - I used to run and immediately sit under the fan, all sweating. Little did I know that the bug had bit me.

Love is in the is Covid-dude

My best guess is simply that I contracted Covid through community spread. Though I was working a few days a week during the period preceding my fever, there were sufficient precautionary measures at work. I did go to the market occasionally, but with all the protection. To my knowledge, I did not come into contact with any Covid-positive person, heck, I literally didn't come in "contact" with anyone during the entire lockdown period. So suffice to say, Covid is in the air and it is just a matter of time before it gets to you. I had no exposure to any known Covid-patient. Heck, I took all the necessary precautions right from social distancing to limiting my venturing out to as few instances as possible to face-masks to gloves. But that's how bad Central Mumbai is now.

There are two critical things one must understand about Covid-19 -
  1. We have not understood it completely. Which means the virus manifests itself differently in different people, wherever it does end up appearing on the surface. It is inevitable that most people will end up getting infected without being affected.
  2. This whole thing is a crazy mind-game. Covid impacts your thinking and attitude as much as it does your respiratory system and your lungs. So it's absolutely imperative that whether you are completely fine or infected with Covid or infected with something else, you must remain positive and cheerful.

Manifestation of the Pest

I'll cut straight to the chase, considering how much I've doodled enough. Here goes -
  • The only symptom I had was fever. I usually get fever once every few years and in my case, it's always on the higher side, 102+.
  • There was not a single other symptom - no cough (wet or dry), no breathing issues, no chest congestion. It was almost like the virus had targeted its entire attack on my fever.
  • The fever hung around for 2-3 days and then appeared to subside. Though the temperature reduced to sub-100'ish, I still felt the discomfort of a sick patient and there was a gnawing feverish feeling inside me.
  • After the 4th day, the fever returned with a vengeance and shot up to 104-105 continuously for 3-4 days, which is when I pressed the panic button.
  • The high fever literally rendered me immobile because of immense body pain and severe tiredness. I was barely able to walk and couldn't even sit in a place for more than a few minutes. By then, I was beginning to wonder if I should re-establish contact with my grandparents just to, you on the safe side.

My Next Course of Action

Once I hit such high fever, I was advised to get myself tested for the normal fevers, since there was no known Covid-symptom. I tested negative for Typhoid, Malaria and Dengue. Which is when the inevitable dawned on me. But I was still so confident it wouldn't be Covid, simply because of the lack of symptoms, that I went ahead with the test just to rule myself out.

Getting myself tested

Once I had decided to get myself tested, the actual process of getting myself tested was complicated. Since I had consulted multiple doctors, nobody was willing to give the prescription to test, finally I was able to get hold of a doctor who gave the prescription to test. Bear in mind that this was almost a month ago and since then, BMC has changed the rules multiple times. Last I heard, it is harder now to get a prescription from a private doctor (since apparently they have to give an undertaking that if the patient is wrongly prescribed for a test, the doctor would be stripped of his/her licence to practise).


  • I got to know that I had finally got the bug a good 11 days after I first had fever - a critical delay which, thankfully, did not cause any complications. Needless to say, it took me a few hours to digest the reality - more from the perspective of logistical issues and practical challenges of having to get myself admitted, what my wife would do, etc.
  • Thankfully, my fever had started subsiding a couple of days before I was diagnosed with Covid-19. I was in a much better frame of mind then, despite a fever of around 100-101 hovering around me.
  • The first thing I did was to inform my society, since it had been a Covid-negative society till then.
  • The day after my positive diagnosis came, folks from BMC visited me in my apartment to check on me. They then said I would have to be admitted, though I was in a better position to stand/talk/walk, etc. and there were no other symptoms.
  • Thankfully, I was able to convince the authorities to remain in home isolation and my Apartment society was kind enough to agree to this.

Medication I used

There is actually no separate treatment for Covid-19.

  • For my fever, I was prescribed a 5-day dosage of 500 mg of Azithromycin and 3 Dolo-650 per day. This was the only medicine I had which started a a few days before my diagnosis and ended a couple of days after it. Despite the Covid diagnosis, my doctor advised me to not restart the dosage unless I had a relapse of fever.
  • Post my diagnosis, I was advised some homeopathic medicines by a close friend who practices Homeopathy. Just listing them out here in case it helps.
    Homeopathic Medicines which could be useful in prevention and cure of corona
    • Justicia adhatoda 30 and Antim tart 30. Both the medicines to be taken three times daily. Prescription of Justicia and Antim tart would depend upon the symptoms. It is quite likely that they may not be the appropriate medicines for the symptoms which the person is having. But there is no harm in taking these medicines as the Covid pandemic is prevalent and there is every likelihood that later on the person turns out to be Covid +ve. The doses of these two medicines need to be monitored by a knowledgeable person.
    • Ocimum sanctum Q. Tinospora cordifolia Q and Withania somnifera Q - 10 drops each two times daily. These can be given to any person whether healthy or with mild fever/cough or who is Covid +ve because these are immunity boosting medicines.
    • Gentiana chirata (Swertia chirata) Q - 5 drops two times daily
  • In addition, I was doing the following - 
    • Gargle with hot salt water last thing before sleeping and first thing after waking up.
    • Drink an Ayurvedic concoction of ginger, turmeric, black pepper, lemon and honey twice a day.
    • Keep drinking hot water at regular intervals throughout the day.
    • Practice Pranayama (any kind would do, there are enough youtube videos for this).

What were the issues I faced?

  • The scariest thing today is to get sick of anything except Covid. You have no clue where to go and what to do if things escalate. Which was exactly what happened to me in the initial 5-6 days.
  • Can't blame BMC for this, but it's a pain getting the test done. Rules keep changing depending on the circumstances. Truth be told, I think unless things escalate and the patient has comorbidities, it is better to avoid taking the test. Because you are not gaining anything by getting to know you are positive. In fact, getting confirmed Covid-positive creates a whole lot of logistical and practical issues that tend to divert your attention from the main task of recovering.

What (probably) helped me recover

  • Something I initially felt and which was confirmed by many people after I recovered also - the best decision I took was to remain on home isolation and do the treatment at home instead of getting admitted. In these times, for cases where there aren't any breathing problems or other complications (such as Blood Pressure, Sugar, etc.), the best course of action would be to treat oneself at home because -
    • The treatment for Covid is pretty much the same as that of a common fever.
    • In these torrid times, hospitals are in bad shape and someone who gets admitted is just going to see misery all around and worse patients there. It has a huge psychological impact.
    • Hospital staff are so stressed, it is just not possible to give personal attention to patients. Someone I knew who was admitted in a good private hospital had to ask 4 times before he could get a glass of hot water.
    • Your family will feel safer having you around, even if it increases the risk of their infection.
  • A huge dose of positivity and confidence - I cant stress enough how importance these are.
  • My caregiver obviously, who took such good and dedicated care of me.
  • And of course - prayers and good wishes of family, friends and the Almighty.
So if you did end up coming this far, either you're Covid positive or you're a great friend. If you're the former, wish you a speedy recovery and if you're the latter, well, sorry that's an ailment for which there's no cure. (-:

PS: Usual disclaimers about medicines/treatment apply. I have recounted my personal experience with Covid-19 and listed out the medication and treatment I followed. It is always better to consult a licensed medical practitioner, even if only telephonically, to ascertain if it is okay for you to follow this. I am not a medical professional by any stretch of imagination and suggestions/advice offered here is based on personal and anecdotal evidence.