It all began when I developed a mild fever. I went in for the RT-PCR test, and though my report came negative, I was not very satisfied with my health. I tele-consulted a doctor, who diagnosed I had Covid, but told me not to worry as my symptoms were mild.
On the third day of fever, I had a severe headache, but the doctor ignored my complaint. Disappointed, I consulted another doctor who had ‘treated thousands’ earlier. On the fifth day, I went in for a chest CT scan at Fortis Hospital, which showed a mild infection.
The doctors here told me that I did not need hospitalisation, and could do with home isolation. But by then my SP02 level had come down from 95 to 91.
I showed the report to my consultant doctor, but he didn’t bother.
“I have treated more than 10,000 Covid patients, I will treat you too. You need not go anywhere and waste money,” he told me.
By the evening, my oxygen level had dipped to 82, and my family decided I need immediate hospitalisation. I was fortunate to get a bed at Yatharth Hospital, Greater Noida.
When we reached the hospital, my oxygen level was below 80. I was put on oxygen support and my treatment began with Fabiflu. But my condition kept deteriorating.
A chest CT scan showed a bad lung infection and symptoms of pneumonia. I was moved to the ICU.
“We are doing our best, but the next 72 hours are critical,” said the doctors.
I was then subjected to plasma therapy for two days followed by a five-day Remdesivir course along with heavy doses of steroids, which raised my sugar level to over 300, and to keep this in check I was administered insulin shots.
The nurse assured me that once the steroids were stopped, my sugar level would become normal.
Doctors told me that my body was responding well to the treatment, but I was worried. I had neither prepared a will nor documented my assets, which would pose a problem for my children. So, that night I texted my son details about my accounts and investments.
The next day, my daughter called, and said: “Papa, we are already stressed over your health, and your messages are making it worse. Just focus on fighting this virus out of your body.”
With hospital staff increasingly getting infected from Covid, life there wasn’t easy. Unwilling to serve Covid patients, many workers had quit and new staff had to be recruited.
Both my arms turned red and blue as the inexperienced nurses tried to fix Canola for intravenous medicines.
One night, a technical snag disrupted the oxygen supply. But, I must say the hospital did well even in the scarcity.
On the fourth day, Dr Sunil Baliyan told my brother that I will be back home soon. My oxygen mask was removed on the 10th day, and I was moved out of the ICU. I thought I would die without an oxygen mask, but was relieved to find myself breathing normally. I spent some days in the room to gain some strength.
“Congratulations! You shall be discharged today. But remember that your immunity is down. It will take two-three months to recover fully. So please observe all the precautions and never try to exhaust yourself during this period or you may find yourself back in hospital,” cautioned the doctor on duty.
I walked down to the entrance where my son was waiting for me, and to a new life. It took me 10 minutes and two stops to cover that 50-meter distance. Yet, I felt on the top of the world.
Alok Kumar is a resident of Amrapali Sapphire, Sector 45, Noida As told to Rajkumari Sharma Tankha