COVID-19: UP govt issues directions for screening of migrant workers; home quarantine for those with symptoms
MY ONE YEAR WITH COVID-19: A clinical experience
Frankly speaking, a year back when I used to hear about the new virus in some parts of the world I took it lightly and considered it as a motivated exaggeration of a viral flu.
When the national lockdown was declared and curfew was clamped in Jaipur, I decided to continue my clinic despite some muted protest from my daughters as they were fearful of this unknown disease, they obviously were concerned about the risk to my life.
I’m a curious person by nature and philosophically take death as part of life, hence, decided to understand the disease of the century.
When, on day one of lockdown, I left for clinic from my home, there wasn’t a soul on the road, everything was absolutely still, a never before experienced phenomenon in the life except during my childhood in a small village about sixty years back.
As almost every hospital and clinic in the city of over four million closed without a proper timetable, sick people were desperate.
People started trickling to my clinic from distant corners of the city, majority of them being cases with symptoms of common cold.
As the clinical picture of COVID-19 was unknown I treated them symptomatically along with a boost of vitamin D and addition of vitamin B12 in vegetarian people.
I didn’t prescribe much of vitamin C and zinc as typical Indian foods are already rich in them. Their cold recovered albeit with a significantly slow pace which later came to my notice that those were cases of COVID-19.
There were no testing facilities during those early days because most of the diagnostic centres were also shut down. They started opening after some time when a government advisory was released that they have to open their facilities.
One day, one of my close friend in his late 50s sent me a CT report of his lungs and a positive COVID-19 report. His lungs were significantly affected with a CT score of over 20.
He was severely sick but refused hospitalisation after watching what was happening in Italy during those days.
As those were the early days of the epidemic in India with very limited information and options, he started losing hope and his condition started to deteriorate.
I decided to visit his home and examine him clinically. I talked him out of his depression and did my little bit. Something clicked somewhere and he started improving, recovered within a week, and is hale and hearty today.
I think psychology has a significant role in improving human immune response and this aspect needs a relook by researchers.
Then came the storm or rather an avalanche. My WhatsApp message box was always flooded and there was regular flow of patients at the clinic, majority of them came positive for Covid-19 on testing.
I felt as though I was sitting on a volcano which might engulf me any day . Should I close my work place ? There was a huge dilemma but finally I decided to continue and somehow survived getting infected despite closely examining more than 500 cases of Covid-19.
I never used any shield and separation window as , in my judgment, they were useless in protecting me. I only trusted my food, fearlessness, sound sleep and regular exercises boosting my immunity.
The antiviral drugs , though hugely expensive, appear to have dubious value in cure and so are steroids except in cases of systematic shock though both are being used extensively.
Someday, someone might prove that they might have even contributed to worsening of the disease . In my opinion those who have recovered from serious sickness, have recovered more because of their strong immune response .
Remember, medical science is a state of perpetual confusion in so many areas and considerations other than cure are at play, most of the times.
The healers are no longer friends, philosophers and guides in these changing times where things are more valuable than people.
We have commercialised everything- education, medicine, marriage, politics, love, body, brain and what not ? Isn’t it time we go back to basics of life?
The most powerful men on earth are nothing, nothing at all, before a billion time ultra small particle called virus. Let us go back to nature and plant a tree and nurture it. Only natural lifestyle can save you otherwise your sickness is somebody’s opportunity.
Finally, should we worry about virus so much that we practically stop living a normal life? Are the so many advisories from WHO and various governments worth something? Are you being fleeced everywhere in the name of Covid-19?
Would there ever be a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 or the laboratory test be made the final essential ruling out or confirmatory mechanism?
Is the test accurate beyond doubt? Are the various other tests really absolutely necessary and specific to COVID-19 or just general tests subject to gross variations and, thereby, open to arbitrary and individual interpretations?
Isn’t it high time for a public debate to bring down the cost of treatment and hospitalisation as both of them have already gone beyond the affordability of a majority of the population? Would vaccine be a real panacea or a grand deception?
It is beyond scope of this article to go into details of each question but as far as my little experience is concerned, Flu viruses can only be tamed by innate as well as acquired immunity of the human body and a healthy lifestyle. Today we have COVID-19, tomorrow it might be something entirely different. We have to learn to live with viruses.
You can get a vaccine shot but I think that this virus might be past its prime virulence by the time the global vaccination campaign is completed.
We have collected a lot of data about serious cases of COVID-19 but missed grossly about milder cases.
Except for handful of exceptions, outdoor patients weren’t examined clinically hence, in future times, laboratory tests would be a mainstay of final diagnosis, right sometimes and wrong other times which would make treatment costly forever.
Some of the delicate and beautiful things of human life might be archived for a number of decades. Arbitrary administrative orders by arrogant and unconcerned politicians would further suppress the blooms of vibrant life.
(The writer is a practising doctor with a special interest in psychology)
The views expressed by the author are personaL