My Covid Experience (Anonymous Contributor)
The following content is based on a personal experience. The sole purpose of this is to share the experience and learnings.
- The first and most important thing is to follow official published guidelines. For example, wearing your mask (covering the nose and mouth), physical distancing, social distancing, hygiene, hand washing, avoiding touching your face, unnecessarily touching other surfaces and sanitizing frequently touched common surfaces.
- Take care of your body and prepare it to fight this monster. Anybody can get infected. NO ONE IS 100% SAFE. Pay attention to your DIET, HYDRATION, REST, FITNESS.
- Speak to your family physician on specific advice for persons with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes & hypertension.SYMPTOMS / SUSPECTED INFECTION.
- Make an effort to read / learn about the symptoms and early signs. Symptoms in this case were fevers, headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite.
- DO NOT TAKE THE SLIGHTEST SYMPTOMS LIGHTLY. Listen to your body.
- Also keep a look out for symptoms being shown by people you live with and work with.
- You will do the right thing by stepping forward and informing that you are unwell and seeking immediate medical attention (could be nothing serious).
- Inform your contacts, neighbours. It is the right thing to do. Sadly,there have been cases where people have been stigmatised. More than stigmatisation, we received a lot of offers of help and support.
- DO NOT PANIC. EASIER SAID THAN DONE BUT PANIC WILL NOT HELP.
- Be prepared for isolation. BEING PREPARED.
- Giving a thought to a few things will go a long way in dealing with the infection. This should be in consideration of an infected person, people living with them and caregivers.
- Keep a note of any pre-existing conditions and the medications you are on. Share this with family. This information should be handy when seeking medical attention. It is very important.
- Keep contacts handy for your family physician, family and friends who you feel will be able to be of assistance should the need arise.
- Research on nearest / convenient testing labs, their charges.
- Think about how you would practice the isolation. Creation of an isolation zone in the house, how to manage other occupants in the house. This will never be a “one size fits all” solution. Every case will be unique and you have to think about practicality. You can research this to create your own plan.
- Talking with someone who has been through this and picking some of the learnings could be helpful but do this with caution. Every case is unique.
- Practice mindfulness. This cannot be over-emphasised. Learning how to remain calm is important.
- If possible, invest in a thermometer and a pulse oximeter. Learn how to use them correctly. These were worthy investments in our case. If you are using the oximeterto measure more than one person, ensure each person is sanitising their hands before and after each use. Also note to use the same finger every time you takea measurement. We also realised that cold fingers gave distorted readings. The alcohol in the sanitisers also cooled the fingers as it vapourised.
- Think about what you need to stock up at home, have a support system for delivery of essentials and money requirements.
- If you would have to lock out your house help, how will you manage? Think about it.
- Having some meal plans could help when stocking up essentials.
- For those who may have mild to moderate symptoms, think about things you will be able to do to keep boredom at bay – books, movies, soul searching, look into short online courses, some forms of stretches and exercises. Make fun out of some routines.
DEALING WITH THE INFECTION
- SEEK immediate medical attention. DO NOT RELY ON THE INTERNET for diagnosis.
- Medics are responsible to make the decision, based on the severity of the infection, whether you can manage with home based care or be admitted to a hospital. In our case home based care was advised (if we could install an oxygen concentrator at home) but with caution and a sharp eye as our patient was diabetic. Therefore,make sure that the medics have been given complete information of pre-existing conditions and medications.
- Ask the medics / family physician for all the guidance and red flags that you will need to be on the lookout for in case of home based care.
- Pay attention to the prescribed medications and schedule.
- Note currently the government does not allow inter-county transfer of covid patients without proper approvals. (I am not too aware of how to go about this but researching).
- There will be many other factors that will need to be thought about on the issue of hospital admission vs home based care. Examples: Do you live alone? Will you be able to look after yourself? Do you live with others (especially elders)? If you live with others, can you create an isolation zone? Will there be someone who will look after you (taking all possible precautions)? Are you well equipped at home? Financial considerations.
- Try to remain calm and be positive (no pun intended).
- Caregivers will have to be aware of the patient’s condition and look out for red flag alerts. Keep records of temperature readings, oximeter readings, sugars, pressure etc. Familiarise with medicine schedules. PPE. Be mentally strong (especially if caring for a loved one). Caregiver’s emotions will reflect on the patient.
- Caregivers have to be very careful as they are also at a risk of getting infected.
- While in isolation, try to be in constant communication with your family physician, family and friends.
- Wear masks all the time and mind your hygiene. No more snorting and spitting in the basin and shower.
- This infection is very nasty and it leaves people with varying effects that take time to recover. One patient in this case had low oxygen concentration in the blood even after the infection cleared out. The advice from the doctor was that the body will take some time to recover. In the meantime,the patient has to spend a few hours during the day and sleep while breathing with the help of an oxygen concentrator.
- It is also noted that patients remained weak and therefore advised not to rush back to a full day of normal routines. Pay attention to DIET, HYDRATION, REST and FITNESS (gentle exercises).
- Depending on the severity of the infection, check with your family physician on the frequency of follow up check-ups. This is important.
- If you are calling and checking up on someone who is infected, do not over do it by telling them the do’s and don’ts (unless you are a qualified doctor). Consider how frequently you call. You may want to give the patient space and time to rest and recuperate. Video call if possible – you get to see each other, get a chance to see if the patient looks worse than they sound (red flag?).
- Try having happy conversations with the patient. Mental support is very important.
- Sharing experiences and learnings may turn out to be a life saver. Remember that whatever you share is clear in that it was your experience and because all cases will be unique, decision making should be objective. My personal learning is that DO NOT TAKE THE SLIGHTEST SYMPTOMS LIGHTLY during this time.
- The 14 days isolation time period is applicable to any person who may have a potential exposure to the infection. For anybody who is infected, your isolation period will be based on how severe your infection is and you should seek guidance from the doctors. In my case, the patients showed no symptoms for several days before being advised to come out of isolation.
- We have also learnt that you do not need to get tested at the end of the isolation period.
- Be sensitive and supportive to people who have been through this. Stigmatisation is absolutely unnecessary!