‘How I fought COVID-19 and won!’

Updated - May 07, 2020 09:08 am IST

Published - April 20, 2020 02:45 am IST

Dr. Arulvel Karthiravan

Dr. Arulvel Karthiravan

As a doctor posted at the Apollo Emergency Clinic at the Chennai Airport, I was worried about the exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus while on duty. However, I continued to work until passenger operations stopped as part of the national lockdown, taking precautions such as wearing a mask and washing hands regularly.

My tryst with COVID-19 began on March 31 when I started to get a fever and a sore feeling in my throat. It was okay with paracetamol for a day or two but then the symptoms increased in intensity — a high fever accompanied by chills, headache, and sore throat. The headache stood out in its severity. I had never experienced such a severe headache in my life. The fever went up to 102 degrees and left me feeling exhausted.

Keeping in view the situation and the fact that I had been working at the airport with the potential risk of exposure to the virus from any infected passengers, I decided to get my COVID-19 testing done immediately. I had already isolated myself in my room and was taking all precautions to avoid contact with others. I waited anxiously for the test results, which came back positive for COVID-19. I right away informed the head of my department at Apollo Hospitals, who advised me to go to our hospital at Vanagaram that had been converted into a COVID-19 speciality hospital.

Taking due care, I reached the hospital in Vanagaram, where I was immediately admitted to the isolation ward on 4th April. I underwent a complete medical check by a team of senior consultants across specialities, with various tests for any other existing co-morbidities. There was no other serious problem and I was glad for my healthy lifestyle at 40 years of age.

Confirmatory test

The confirmatory test also came back as positive for COVID-19 and my treatment began. I was prescribed hydroxychloroquine and other medicines for my symptoms as per the guidelines. The medical staff took the utmost care of me. My condition was monitored continuously. A team of doctors visited me every day and gave updates about my health. Even though they used to be dressed up in PPE with faces hidden behind masks, their visits helped me a lot, as being in isolation is not easy. With no other visitors and only a television for company, I looked forward to the doctors’ visits. The staff nurses sincerely attended to me, giving me my diet, and medications administered on time without delay. The housekeeping staff ensured that my room and the surroundings were clean and tidy.

I was fortunate that my symptoms did not include any respiratory complaint and there were no other complications. I began to feel better. The fever subsided and the medication stopped after the course was completed. On 13th April, I was re-tested for COVID-19 and to my great relief, the result was negative. The test was repeated after 24 hours as per the protocol and guidelines from WHO and when that too came negative; I was discharged on 15th April, after being successfully treated for COVID-19.

It was while I was walking out of the hospital that the realisation struck! I had been one of the over two million patients around the world who were confirmed cases of COVID-19. I had been successfully treated for this infection and discharged after a full recovery. I raised a silent prayer of thanks from my heart to the doctors, nurses, lab technicians, housekeeping staff and others who took care of me. I wish them and the thousands of doctors working round the clock all the best to continue their noble job and keep saving lives! I also look forward to joining my duties again soon!

(The author works in Apollo Emergency Clinic, Apollo Hospitals Group)

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