Sunday, April 12, 2020

My encounter with H1N1

My encounter with H1N1

After an exciting trip of Himalayan Mountains of North Sikkim, we were returning home happily on 6 January 2019. A Bengali young man, an urban planner was my co-passenger had a high grade viral fever. Unfortunate but compulsion of travel with him from Bagdogra to Delhi as the flight was full. We left him at Bagdogra, but was carrying a fear of catching up his infection. Air conditioned Airports are potential places of the spread of air borne diseases. 

On Monday, I resumed office cheerfully, conducted weekly meeting, attended function of flagging off of 33 new ambulances to the 108 fleet by the CM and DyCM, cleared files of the week and met visitors. That night went normal. Tuesday morning started as routine but had three important meetings of the GMSCL. As the day progressed, I felt body ache, was losing interest in the meeting and somehow hurriedly concluded the last meeting and returned home.. I was caught up in fever. It was cold winter night. My back was paining the worst. I writhed and passed the night in pains. I skipped the CoS and Cabinet of the Wednesday but I had to go to office in the afternoon because there was a pre-fixed meeting with a Japanese delegation. Post lunch, there was a meeting with the CM. In the condition of high grade fever and body ache I managed to pass the day attending meetings but when returned home couldn’t stand, straight went into the bed without changing the clothes.. As per family protocol, I breathe in some steam twice in a day. Wednesday night, literally, I cried out the pain. On Thursday, a doctor from Civil Hospital was called. He did general checking prescribed one antibiotic and a paracetamol tablets. For clearing doubts of pneumonia, X-ray was taken but it was clear. It was concluded a viral fever. Under the moral pressure of the doctor I took one tablet of antibiotic and one paracetamol. The night went in pain and uneasiness. I wished to cough out but couldn’t. The chest was jammed. 

Friday early morning, I tried to resume meditation. After few minutes, as if I (not as human identity) moved to another world in a sound of aum released by a jhalar and was about to be pushed forward, the brain in fear, pushed the physical body down from the sofa to the bed. The head was completely wet by sweating, and with lose motion and vomiting, the fever went away. 

The doctor came in the morning and did the routine check up: oxygen saturation, pulse, BP, etc. However, the crepitation coming from the lower zone of both the lungs was puzzling him. The X-Ray was clear, no fever, but to rule out doubts, they took throat swabs and sent for the testing of H1N1. It was the 4th day of the illness. He advised to continue with single antibiotic doze that I had consumed only two. By the evening, the report came H1N1 positive. 

The Civil Hospital, the GMC, teams visited immediately and started the treatment of Oseltamivir Capsules of 75 mg on Friday evening. As I am ACS of the Department, they doubled the dose Oseltamivir! I was advised to move to the isolation ward of the Civil Hospital but I preferred to stay at home in a quarantined room. Family members and children were now kept away. Masks were applied. Necessary instructions of do’s and don’ts were given. 

The whole crucial period of damaging of the lungs in 72 hours was already crossed. The body fought against the disease on it’s strength, suffered severe pain but overcome the crisis. Oseltamivir came very late could take pride of killing the dead army of the H1N1 and our team is following up the protocol. 

Weak I was bedridden and the media lines started on the screen on Friday evening, made my illness viral across the Gujarati global world. Messages, calls from friends and well wishers multiplied. Many relatives visited our place. As these were weekends of Makarsakranti, there was no maid support, but my daughter in law Kinjal and my wife Lakshmi managed them well. Lakshmi proved extra courageous because she stayed closest to me and was serving and helping me in those severe painful 72 hours. She had fever on Monday and dry coughing all these days but she firmly rested with her herbal option and took care of me without fear of any cross infection. She was tested H1N1 negative on Sunday.

I recovered but crepitation persisted. It took more than a fortnight to comeback to normal. I skipped the VG-2019 inauguration function but managed to attend the Seminar on Health Care and Pharma. 

Now H1N1 (Swaine flu) is a seasonal flu spread across the country and can encounter anyone but olds, pregnant ladies, children, patients with comorbidities have to take extra care to come out of the disease which a danger to life. The viral load if not treated timely goes down into the lungs and turns into pneumonia. The lungs bag full of infection can’t inhale oxygen and if the ventilator support and suction if not managed accurately the patient may die. We thank all the well wishers who sided with us in that bad time of illness. 

ACS Health and Family Welfare Department caught up in H1N1 was a catchy news lines for the media. 😂 

10 February 2019


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