Pictured: Mrs. Yogita Dixit (centre) and her team
Tanvi Jain of Delhi Public School, Noida, interviews Mrs. Yogita Dixit, a Technical Officer at the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences, about the coronavirus outbreak to gain an insight on what the pandemic looks like from both ends. Read the full interview below, or watch the video here: https://youtu.be/5kMTML0HOgk.
Interviewer: When and how did you realise that you had contracted Covid-19?
As I am a health worker, I go to AIIMS hospital which is my workplace and from there only I contracted COVID-19 on 21st of May. 2-3 people in our staff were diagnosed as positive so they were on leave but we were in the same working area so maybe I got the disease from the things they were using. Otherwise, I was not in direct contact with any COVID positive patient. I was also not going out anywhere other than my workplace. 100 per cent chances are that I contracted it from my department only.
Interviewer: So, were you hospitalised when you contacted COVID-19?
I was hospitalised. On the 21st, I went to AIIMS to work and 5-7 days later I developed a very mild fever. On 5th June, I got myself tested and it was positive. On 7th, I was admitted to the ICU for 4-5 days, and I came back home after 10 days.
Interviewer: Can you please shed some light on the entire process — from admission to treatment and then the hospital discharge?
The process starts once you come to know that you are positive. I had fever and then slowly I developed some weakness along with breathlessness, so the doctor said that I should get tested for COVID. [I was so weak] that I couldn’t walk. The moment you know that the test is positive the other family members also need to get tested so that procedure had also started. I was immediately hospitalised, [within] 3-4 hours the ambulance came and I was moved to AIIMS. They started giving me oxygen because there was so much breathlessness. Then they started with the treatment which was HCQs, Vitamin E and Z, Monocef for 5 days, Cefixime and Crocin. My husband was also positive and later on my son tested positive as well but they didn’t have fever or breathlessness. They simply came out of it with Crocin.
Interviewer: What was the toughest time you faced as a patient?
Being a health worker and working with AIIMS I knew ki thik hona hi hai (everything will be fine). I got the best medications and all doctors were with me but the moment I got to know that I was positive, I was worried about what will happen to my family and how my kids will manage because I needed to be isolated for one month. Testing positive was one thing, but how I will manage things when I’m not there, was another. That was a shock. Otherwise, I knew that I would come out of it, aisa nahi tha ki mai nahi thik hongi (I never thought I wouldn’t recover).
Interviewer: You are a healthcare worker as well. Did you have to work during the lockdown?
Yes, yes I had to.
Interviewer: What changes has the workplace undergone? What new precautions do you have to take?
It wasn’t possible for us to make many changes in our department. The only changes that were done were calling staff on alternate days, keeping the strength in the department less and maintaining social distancing. The load of patients is also less as the OPDs are now closed. As it is an old hospital with space problems, the only thing which could be done was to call less strength and take proper precautions like wearing masks and using PPE kits. We were not in direct contact with COVID patients, that is another centre and I wasn’t posted there.
Interviewer: Can you share with us some inside stories and unique experiences of the hospital during the pandemic?
As I got the right treatment, the best treatment on time I simply thanked God, I should say. But I saw that other patients were very annoyed with the doctors and the other health staff and were behaving as if they were not giving the treatment properly. With so many precautions with COVID patients, nobody can work for more than 2-3 hours in those kits. The patients were so annoyed with the doctor, complaining that the doctors did not come or the nurses were not listening. I think that’s wrong. I feel that instead of saying anything to the health workers or doctors they should approach the administration, the ministries of their areas to provide better infrastructure to healthcare, which is not being done. They are simply scolding or getting annoyed. They were really impatient though they were getting the best facilities, free of cost. This is the inside story. And I’m not saying this because I’m a healthcare worker, this is my experience. Hospital staff are working [at] the cost of their life, and the patients are not happy as obviously, the infrastructure is not that good to handle the disease. It is a sudden pandemic, people are not prepared. That should be improved by making patients more aware of the disease. Aisa nahi hai ki ek baar fever aa gaya toh jaayega nahi but woh yeh samajhte nahi hai (it’s not that once the fever comes, it won’t go away). I have seen this.
Interviewer: There have been reports of patients suffering from symptoms, including serious ones, even after recovery. There have also been patients who were infected by Covid-19 again after they recovered. What can you tell us about such cases?
There are still some symptoms, side effects that take a little time to go. After 1 month I’m perfectly fine and not facing any such problem. The thing is that during the recovery time you must have a good diet, and that’s all. If you have breathing problems, you should go for breathing exercises. Whatever the symptoms are they will go. It’s mostly weakness and breathlessness which go with time. Like after 3-4 weeks or [a maximum of] 1.5 months. Regarding the recurrence of the COVID, I haven’t seen any such cases, but researches are still going on as to why this is happening. Maybe it is lack of immunity or maybe they are drinkers. It depends from person to person. I know 15 patients from my own staff and no one has relapsed. But there are some cases in the other department. We have to see the entire history of the patient such as if they have an associated disease like diabetes or blood pressure.
Interviewer: Some common misconceptions are spreading about the virus. What are people getting wrong?
Actually, the panic is wrong. It’s a curable disease. If you have patience, will-power and get good medication at the right time, the panic is very unnecessary. We should know that we have to handle this. Whatever we read on WhatsApp about remedies like kaadha is no doubt good for immunity but it doesn’t ensure that you won’t get the disease. I was having kaadha every day.
Interviewer: The pandemic has certainly provided a new outlook towards life. What has been your takeaway from your personal experiences? What advice would you like to give to the readers of this interview?
For me, with going to the ICU and everything, I now think that life is very uncertain and we should live it fully. We should not be so busy that we forget to enjoy life. To the readers I would say that they must be more aware, more patient because it’s a curable disease, I’m saying this again. The type of panic which has been created is more harmful than the pandemic itself. We should be mentally prepared that if we get the infection then how we will handle it, where the kids will go, how the family will manage. It is a viral infection, it will go through everyone, [and] it depends on the body how it reacts.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for your time. Any final words?
Thank you for having me and keep up the good work for society.