COVID-19 survivors’ tales: grit, gumption and abiding hope

COVID-19 survivors’ tales | Chennai resident recalls journey from ventilator to victory

As the number of hospitalisations due to coronavirus pandemic in Chennai, a family member and paramedical worker rush a patient, in Chennai. Photo used for representation purpose only. File   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

When Nagarajan tested positive for COVID-19 on October 31 last year, he was not worried. On his wife’s advice, the 54-year-old Chitlapakkam resident got hospitalised at a facility in OMR in Chennai.

However, four days after admission, his oxygen levels fell below 90. A CT scan revealed lung damage. A couple of days later when the second scan revealed severe damage he was shifted to a private hospital in Nungambakkam.

Mr. Nagarajan said he has been mildly hypertensive and on pills to control BP for over a decade. Within four days over 75% of his lung was damaged as the infection spread. He needed oxygen support and soon he became unconscious. He was put on ventilator and transferred to the intensive care unit.

As his condition deteriorated his family was told to be prepared for any eventuality. “The most critical day was November 30. The doctors told us to inform the family. His brothers and sisters were informed,” his wife Latha said.

Meanwhile the doctors had administered five injections of Remdesivir, Mr. Nagarajan learned later.

He had been in hospital for over a month. By first week of December the doctors had also put him on nasal feeding and a tracheostomy had been done.

“The doctors told me to bring the children and talk to him to give him confidence,” Ms. Latha said.

The tide began turning around the first week of December after which he was shifted from critical care unit to a step-down ward. When he recovered consciousness he was put on physiotherapy.

“He had to undergo physiotherapy twice a day. He had to walk along with the oxygen cylinder tank. Doctors said he was physically weak. They said he would be discharged only if he can start breathing on his own,” Ms. Latha recalled.

On January 4, 58 days after he had been hospitalised, Mr. Nagarajan was discharged. He was advised rest at home to recuperate. Around 45 days ago he returned to work.

“I was optimistic and always felt he would come back. His sickness and the subsequent hospitalisation made me realise how important a life partner is to a person,” Ms Latha said.

(Names have been changed on request)


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 1:57:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/back-from-the-brink-after-58-days/article34521791.ece

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