I got up active, played tennis, went to job as usual on that Monday, in July this year. But that Tuesday was different. I felt little bit tired on that fateful morning and by evening I was running 102 fever. Fever in these covid times, I was pretty sure it can’t be anything other than that monster trying to take hold of me. I took Dolo 650 but knew it will only supress my fever and probably lessen my tiredness but I need to find the cause for this fever. Any other time, I wouldn’t have even bothered, would have just called in, for a day off. By Wednesday I was taking Dolo four times and iam getting pretty tired. Where do I get myself tested for Corona? First I thought of the nearest Government PHC, heard  they were offering the tests. But I decided against, as there were long queues and I also needed to collect a token ( that too limited number ) at 6 am. Not only that, infact, I need to come again at 10am for the test. I realised for the first time, each and every step in this journey of corona disease is going to be a struggle, inspite of me being a doctor. Wondered, the struggle would start much earlier for an ordinary person, as their anxiety is coupled with search for information of how to proceed –  where to get tested, whom to call and when to call. Information is not easily available out there.

Anyway, I decided I will go to Private Labs and  realised the average turn around was a good 3 days. I understood later, that this is because, all  the positive samples needed a further confirmation from select authorised centres. Obviously I wished for an early report  and also with a subtle innate hope for a negative result. Iam in a hurry to get proved that iam free of disease. I took my own call, went directly for a HRCT and inspite of all my pleadings (to God in my heart), the images showed the classic changes  that everybody is talking. I guess  with so much tweeting and posting on the Social media even a savvy non doctor can identify the classic ground glass appearance and consolidation. Ok what next?  My doctor friends asked what was the Corad Grading- That is a new word in my dictionary. After 20 years of practicing Gynaecology, I haven’t come across this word. Just the way Doctors are learning about this new disease as it evolved, even my medical vocabulary is increasing!   A quick  look to the bottom of  the report – It is CORAD Grade 4…quite a bit of damage by 3rd day of actual symptoms. So wondered where does a diagnosis based on RT PCR or Rapid Antigen fit in this rapid evolution of disease pathology.  Probably, I am lucky, for I heard that some didn’t even have those symptoms and hence damage continued un identified for longer periods putting them at greater risk. When darkness surrounds you, even a small flicker kicks up the hope

Anxious! Worried ! Confused.

My first thought, Should I get admitted now and take all those antivirals – Fabiflu, Remidsivir – some more additions to my medical vocabulary. It is always denial that takes precedence and I bought the suggestion- ” Let’s wait till next day morning!”  And I did wait. But the stress of uncertainty, and all the news articles of all the doctors who got infected and their stories flew in front of my ‘mind eye’ giving me a long and sleepless night.  At the crack of dawn,  I am in the ER of a corporate hospital talking to the physician there.He reassured me and  said it is ok. As of now  home treatment is  adequate he stated and sent me  home after prescribing some medicines.

I was ok for sometime, but by 8th July,  I realised I am  progressively getting dyspneic, becoming breathless, even for something so simple, as going to the washroom. So I immediately rushed to hospital and  was put on 5 litres of oxygen which brought my saturation from 85 to 96.

I was in Yashoda hospital under the oxygen hood to get the life supply- oxygen. How easy it was for us to take it for granted – the ability to breathe effortlessly and that to subconsciously. But here I am, struggling to breathe, further worse, I needed to consciously draw in the oxygen. This period was pretty hazy, my brain not registering much due to hypoxic neurons, I guess. I only vaguely remember the struggle. Is  this a blessing in disguise, I don’t know? I was told, I was given Inj. Paracetamol  3 times Daily , Inj Remedesvir and also  Inj. Solumedrol. But the turning point was when my friends, especially with the help of Dr Praveen and the good souls of a NGO Seva Bharathi I could locate a donor for  plasma.

I had a battery of tests done on alternate days just to monitor what is happening inside my body, for the doctors to gauge the damage and help them take steps to stall and if possible reverse the damage. I had repeated CT of the chest and I believe after a brief period of deterioration things started looking up especially after a dose of Tocilumab, an hyper immunoglobulin which would ward off any more damage.  I was sent home with an  advise to use oxygen concentrator for next 15 days.

My husband enquired around to locate oxygen cylinders to reduce the costs but we soon realised we had to ensure a frequent and regular refill as they emptied fast. This hassle forced us to invest in an oxygen concentrator, fortunately it was delivered at home and  we had a demonstration of how to use it. It  is really a cool innovation,  and made me realize the role of  biomedical engineers in keeping the hospitals ticking and safeguarding the patients. So much for the assumptions that Doctors are life savers. I knew all this all along, how hospitals work, roles of the doctors, sisters and others in an healthcare organisation. But  it took me this beating to appreciate their roles. Kudos to all of them.

Mentally at that point of time I was not strong enough and I remember getting depressed out of loneliness in the hospital. After I gained some strength, I consciously made an attempt to rekindle the relations with my friends relatives and even acquaintances, as Iam alive today, by the grace of God and I will make the best of this rebirth. Now I know the value of relationships and I guess the blessings of all my well wishers  helped me overcome this challenge. My inbox was full of mails and whatsapp was flooded with wishes and I made it a point to touchbase with all these lovely people who shaped my life.

Looking back on my ordeal, I would like tell all those out there who are symptomatic or  asymptomatic & tested positive, do not ignore any symptom nor any instructions given to you. The disease is unpredictable, needs monitoring and needs a high degree of supervised care. Be proactive, use a pulse oximeter, electronic BP apparatus and start taking care of yourself. It is important to get the correct advise, be aware of the need for a quick shift to the hospital and awareness about the supply sources for all the needs like oxygen etc.

I wonder and fear the status of the innumerable who are less fortunate than me both in finances and access to the right information. Hence here I am, writing this blog to spread the word!

May God be with you all. 

Dr Madhavi Latha

Dr Madhavi, a senior gynaecologist with more than 2 decades of clinical experience has her practice in Secunderabad. She is a alumni of Osmania Medical College and is blessed with 2 children and her husband is a business man.

5 thoughts on “Doctor patient Madhavi”

  1. Madhavi,
    So glad you are doing well and have recovered!!
    Vefy well wtotten blog and the journey details from a doctors perspective are really informative

    Love uou and stay healthy ❤ 💕

  2. Madhavi,
    So glad you are doing well and have recovered!!
    Vefy well wtotten blog and the journey details from a doctors perspective are really informative

    Love uou and stay healthy ❤ 💕

  3. We know of your indomitable spirit Madhavi. And you proved it once again. Very nicely authored blog post that gives a practical perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Madhavi Latha you, getting better little by little to the fullest from the worst ever disease attacking with so much comorbidity is a wake up call for us!
    Young and healthy was not enough to fight the deadliest disease ! We (86 batch) were so desperate, waiting to see your post almost everyday to know how you were and how you were fighting with the whole spectrum of this Covid and praying for your speedy recovery🙏
    You are the true inspiration for us and life is so precious:) OMG

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