‘I did not expect to test positive, had no symptoms,’ says doctor and COVID-19 survivor

'It is likely that I acquired the infection while on duty,' the doctor said.

As many of us keep ourselves confined to our homes to minimise the chances of being infected with coronavirus, we need to acknowledge those who may still have to risk the virus, either to provide care to those in need, like doctors and nurses, or the ones dependent on work for daily sustenance. In the wake of this crisis, indianexpress.com spoke to one such doctor who is also a coronavirus survivor, Dr Arun Kohli, from Delhi-NCR.

Read what he said, in his own words:

As a practising physician and diabetologist, I had a lot of patients to attend to, who were coming with cough and cold. You cannot tell them not to come. It is likely that I acquired the infection while on duty. I have already given all the possible contacts of patients I had been treating to the nodal officer-in-charge in the area.

On March 25, I got myself tested for coronavirus at a diagnostic laboratory which came positive. It was quite unexpected because I was asymptomatic, except now experts are saying that it is something that is being noticed in many infected people. That said, I did have cough and cold for two days–on the day of the Janata Curfew (March 22) and the next–for which I took normal viral treatment and was absolutely fine. But my wife, who is also a doctor, suggested I go for the RT-PCR test.

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On March 27, I was admitted to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital. After two days I was shifted to Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, on my request, and was there till April 15. It was a regular COVID treatment–azithromycin, vitamin C supplements. The diet was what you usually get at hospitals but with more of proteins. We started with pure vegetarian food during the time of Navratri including paneer and curd. Later, I was given meat and boiled eggs after consultation with the dietician.

I was kept in a corona-positive ward initially. After two negative reports, I was moved to the corona-negative ward. I was there for about a week after which two more tests were performed on the 15th and 16th day, both of which were negative so I was discharged, with the advice that I needed to be in self-quarantine for 14 more days. The nodal officer, however, advised I should stay in the house till the lockdown ends on May 3. The hospital has also provided necessary contact numbers for consultation in case there is an emergency.

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I am strictly following the quarantine protocol. I am maintaining distance from my family; we are in the same house but in different rooms. In the mean time, I got my wife, son and the househelp tested as well but the results were negative. They have been in quarantine since the day I went for the test.

Now that I am in quarantine, I am spending my time reading up online on the new developments in medicine, and interacting with other doctors. You also need to be physically active so I walk in my room daily for quite some time. At other times, I mostly listen to music or watch television.

When I am alone in my room, I do not use a face mask. But if on any occasion I am interacting with my family, I make sure to wear it even if I am at a distance. They also wear a mask as a precautionary measure.

The doctor has prescribed antiallergics and vitamin C for two weeks. Otherwise, I am feeling completely fine. I am happy to be back home.

Let me add that I have high regard for all corona fighters and frontline workers. I would advise them to take all the necessary precautions to protect themselves. I would also request everybody out there to not discriminate against those who have tested positive. Show their families some care. It is not a very pleasant feeling for any COVID patient to come back home and find out his or her family has not been treated well.

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