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“She did not leave her bed the entire day.”

A thermometer on a grey background.
By Deep Patel

Ahmedabad
Gujarat
India

My mother got her first dose of the [COVID-19] vaccine. Since the vaccine takes a bit of time to come to full effect, she was still susceptible to catching the virus. Just about a week later, on May 7, she came back home early from her job complaining about low grade fever. We thought it was just some regular fever and didn't worry about it too much. The same day we found out that one of our neighbor’s family had died of Covid that day, and we did come in contact with them multiple times that week since we weren't informed by them that they had someone infected with Covid in their household.

The next day, I bought a thermometer and measured my mother's temperature. It was 101°F. She complained about having dry cough (which came to us as a surprise as she never usually has it) and sore throat. I advised her not to do any work that day. While she rested the entire day, me and my father did the household work. Her condition did improve that evening.

She woke and started doing the household work as usual. She slept and waking up at 4 PM she had again developed fever. Now we were worried. I immediately contacted a doctor. He asked us to take a few tests. I took my mother for the blood tests and got the results on the same day, which indicated some type of infection.

After an almost sleepless night, she woke up with no fever, but had a terrible periodic pain behind her left ear. The same morning, we went for her RT-PCR test [for COVID-19]. Since the result would take several hours to come, we also took a rapid test on our way home, which was positive. Returning home, she immediately quarantined herself. That evening, I received her RT-PCR test result which was also positive. And then we went to the doctor, who gave her medicine.

In the early morning I heard sounds from her room of vomiting. I wore my mask and went to see if she was alright. She said she did not vomit and just felt like she would for a few minutes. She asked me if she could take her medicines that early. Just after taking the medicines, she vomited them out and since she wasn’t feeling well, she went back to sleep.

We gave her food and drinks as we were advised, but she could hardly eat anything. She did not leave her bed the entire day. Her nights were also not easy as she would wake up several times.

She still had a fever and the same symptoms, although she said she did not feel any fever. This confused me, so I called the doctor, who told me to check the thermometer on myself. After sanitizing it, I measured my temperature which was normal, and to confirm again, I measured my father’s temperature, which it also showed within normal range. Thus, the doctor advised me to trust the thermometer and give her [medication] as he prescribed.

I called a family member whose wife recently recovered from [COVID-19], who said the same thing, as his wife always had high temperature, but she felt as if she did not have one.

Besides fever, she still did not show any improvement as the coughing, weakness, and the pain behind the ear still continued. I had already ordered an oximeter [online]. First, I measured my own oxygen level, and then measured my mother. I asked a family member who was in the medical field if I needed to admit her to the hospital since the her oxygen saturation level was low. He told my mother to lay in a prone position. She tried to lay in that position but she did not feel comfortable. In the evening her oxygen level went lower. I started worrying more and called my doctor. He told me to make her do pranayama [yoga breathing techniques] and lay in a prone position and admit her if the oxygen level went below [a certain level].

Being worried I still made a few more phone calls to family members and other people with the same experiences and they told me not to worry. I still did. I went to my mother and asked if she was alright and had any difficulty in breathing, she said she was alright and didn’t have any breathing difficulties. I decided since she doesn’t feel any breathing difficulties and doesn’t have her oxygen saturation below [the threshold], I should wait till tomorrow and wait. But I was too stressed about her and by a relative who had contacts at a well-known hospital, I asked if they had the room with oxygen in it and if can be available till tomorrow.

After that I watched a video online by well-known doctor [about signs to watch for]. Being tired myself, with no proper food or nutrition during these days, as I was so occupied taking care of my mother, I didn’t even realize when I went to sleep.

The next day, I woke up early and waited for my mom to wake up to check her oxygen saturation. As I feared, it went below [the threshold]. I knew I had to admit her to the hospital. My mother did not want to get admitted, as she insisted that she was completely fine, which was obviously not true since she couldn’t even sit or stand at this time. My father immediately called a rickshaw. While the rickshaw was on its way, my mother tried to stand up and walk to the door. She felt an intense chest pain. Since we do not have an elevator in our building, she had to use the stairs, and slowly reached the rickshaw after that.

On the way, I kept on measuring her oxygen saturation. I told the rickshaw driver to hurry up. Within 15 minutes we reached the hospital, and since I already had contacts in that hospital, she was admitted immediately.

After getting admitted, the doctor said her blood test it might indicate a lung infection but can’t declare one until he gets a CT scan. Nevertheless, her treatment was started on the very first day, and she was kept on oxygen. I was worried about her since I was not allowed to meet with her and she hardly ate anything while she was quarantined in our house. Now that I wasn’t there, I was stressed if the hospital staff would take care of her properly.

The scan showed a moderate infection. The doctor informed us that her fever went away, which was relieving to know.

The next two days she was stable, with her external oxygen requirements becoming less and less. Her voice finally sounded healthy on the phone like it used to, and she could speak for a long time without going out of breath.

On May 18, the doctor tried to remove the external oxygen and see if her oxygen levels went down. Fortunately, her oxygen level did not go down, and she was discharged the next day.

Her recovery was very rapid. She did not have any post-Covid complications such as breathing difficulties, which I think is because [she received the dose of the] vaccine. Two days later I measured her oxygen saturation, which was now [normal]. I breathe a sigh of relief.

One thing I completely forgot during all this was to get myself tested since I was constantly in contact with her. I got my RT-PCR test done which was negative.

7 days later, her appetite had gradually become normal and she was completely healthy. It was hard for me to think she even was on oxygen 10 days ago. Many people have asked me if she might have gotten Covid because of the vaccine, which I completely refute, since I think the vaccine played a major role in her recovery.

I would like to thank the doctor and the hospital staff, who was always nice to her and kept checking on her. Along with this I’d also thank my family members who called to check on my mother and sent her tons of fruit.

This is a serious disease, and I would advise the reader to keep taking precautionary measures. And keep checking on your family member infected with coronavirus, while taking care of yourself as well. I hope my story would be helpful to you and you might learn a bit or two from my story.

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