Hey everyone, I hope you are doing well. I know this has been a trying time for all of us and especially those living with elderly parents. I recently discovered that a dear friend of mine suffered through COVID-19 while living with his pregnant wife and regularly interacting with his elderly parents. He somehow did all of this with a calm and rational mind and has offered to share his experience with us in the hope that it will help everyone to read an accurate testimonial of the experience. Please, of course, consult your own doctor before taking any medical decisions on your own but I definitely think this is something everyone will benefit from reading. Essentially how not to panic and stay positive, a massive part of which is knowing what to expect. So thank you, S!
Here’s his story…
COVID-19 happens. However careful you are, one rub of the eye or itching your nose, and bam! Your worst nightmare can come true. My pregnant wife and I hadn’t stepped out for months. Also, because we visit my 70-year-old parents on the weekend, I wanted to make sure we were being super, super careful. Even when we did visit them we kept our distance. No hugs, 6-feet apart and disinfecting the areas we’ve touched, wearing gloves, masks and grocery-run scans and the usual check-ups…We made sure to go to the hospital which had a separate building for OBGYNs so that we wouldn’t be in touch with COVID patients. Yet I tested positive.
First and foremost, all the cases you hear in the media are the worst-case scenarios. 90 per cent of the cases can be handled at home—which is good cause the healthcare system around the world is really strained or has collapsed under the surge of serious COVID cases. The goal here is to share my experience and the learnings I have gotten from talking to other COVID patients around me. I am not a medical professional but am only speaking from my real-life experience and direct feedback from the other COVID patients I spoke to. Please treat this information as such.
For a better understanding, here are my symptoms in the right order:
1. A stomach upset
I didn’t even realise it and just thought with all the fun stuff we were cooking during the lockdown, something didn’t agree with me. It lasted for half a day and it was done.
2. An itchy throat
I started taking a shot of haldi, honey and ginger three times a day, which really helped and I figured it was just me having all the frozen fruit smoothies.
I just thought I pushed myself a little too much while working out so I stopped for a couple of days.
4. Headaches and pain at the back of my eyes
At this point, I knew I wasn’t well and as soon I had a bit of an itchy throat I had isolated myself. But that too disappeared quickly, only my fatigue and headache lasted but with no fever. I figured it was just due to the fact that I had been indoors for 2-3 months and my body wasn’t handling being in an air-conditioned room for so long. I never had a fever, though one of the medical professionals had told me that a lot of the COVID-19 patients he had seen didn’t realise they were running a temperature. So to keep checking your temperature every couple of hours. A lot of people do get a fever.
5. Dry cough
This means your lungs have been hit. This usually happens (from the people I’ve spoken to) around day 7 since the first symptom shows up. It lasts for 10 days after that. Even after you test negative and beaten COVID, your lungs maybe a little worse for a month or so after that. It too shall pass so hang in there.
You may see some or all of these symptoms. You will find multiple reasons to believe it can’t be COVID. “I just had a bad meal.” “It’s a change of weather.” “I slept weird.”
It’s great to not be positive but that shouldn’t stop you from isolating yourself at home and from everyone. If I could manage to do that at home and not infect my pregnant wife while cooking for her, you can isolate yourself successfully. One of the guys I coached through his experience managed to isolate himself while living with his family of four and sharing his 2-bedroom apartment with 5 more people, a total of 9 people in a 2 bedroom apartment!
Here’s my advice on what to do when you’re feeling under the weather:
1. Stay calm. There is no shame in getting this disease.
2. Remember the three points of entry.
For this disease, it’s the eyes, nose and mouth.
3. Inform everyone you have been in touch with.
Tell them that you are feeling under the weather. Tell them not to panic and that you are going to monitor and/or get tested. They too should distance themselves from their family members. Whenever you step out and meet people you are doing so at your risk so don’t blame someone else for getting this disease. You know the risks.
On the flip side as long as you have distanced yourself and worn masks while meeting people, don’t feel ashamed if you end up infecting others. They knew the risks. But it’s important you tell them in a timely manner that you are under the weather and they too should isolate themself. I feel a lot of people hesitate taking this step thinking what will people say or people might think that they are overreacting as they haven’t tested positive. It’s better to be cautious.
4. Stick to one part of the house.
If you have a room and bathroom to yourself things just got a little easier. People usually ask me does this mean I can’t get out of the room/area? I would go sit on the floor of my wife’s room and chat with her but I would be careful about having a mask on, staying really far and making sure I didn’t touch anything. While I was cooking for her I made sure to have a mask on and wash my hands with soap even if I touched my t-shirt or face while cooking.
5. Wear a mask as much as possible.
If you are in the same room or same area try to wear a mask as much as possible. I would escape to the balcony to get fresh air for hours on end.
6. Disinfect everything.
I filled up a spray bottle with Dettol and water and I would spray everything—the door, handles, knobs and any common areas if I used it.
7. Drink lots of water.
I was guzzling 4-5 litres of liquids in a day. I was exceptionally thirsty.
8. Have lots of warm fluids.
9. Steam inhalation a couple of times a day.
*(Any chemist has this for a couple of hundred rupees)
10. Ginger (grated), turmeric (a teaspoon) and honey shots.
11. Keep Panadol handy in case you get a fever.
12. Sleep on your chest.
This one too has helped all the patients I know. All the doctors swear by this and apparently helps your breathing by 30%.
13. Keep a SpO2 reading device close by.
In case, your cough and chest congestion gets really bad it can help you make a choice on whether to go to the hospital.
14. Stay positive.
More then anything else, like any other disease, it’s as important to fight this physically and mentally. So, keep in touch with friends and family and remember you got to beat this.
Let’s help spread the word and this story, and hope that everyone is safe and healthy!
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