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My grandma battled the virus for more than a month and came home recovered, but succumbed to post COVID complications. Trying to make sense of it.
It all started when my grandma tested positive for COVID-19 in early March this year. She had pre-existing conditions of diabetes and arthritis which made things worse, and for some reason, the doctors couldn’t give her the medicines generally prescribed to COVID patients.
My grandma had an extensive encounter with a lethal infection. But after days of surging oxygen levels, getting better, battling again, she finally recuperated, and defeated the deadly virus.
When she returned home after spending nearly a month and a half in the hospital, I thought our worst nightmare was over. At that time, I did not realize that I will be going through a dreadful journey in the forthcoming months.
She was very weak and exhausted for the next few days, and started to wheeze. Along with memory loss and a paralyzing migraine, she also started complaining about a strange tingling and numbness in her legs. As we thought she had recovered from the virus, we were surprised to see her condition deteriorating day by day. Things were not getting any better, so we consulted the doctor where she had been treated.
The doctor said that due to soreness in the lungs caused by COVID-19, there was formation of blood clots, specifically in legs. These clots usually block the blood vessels resulting into poor blood flow and can have life-threatening consequences; if not identified and treated in time. We all were totally confused and in shock.
My grandmom was confined to her room and taking medications for her condition, but the pain in her legs continued, and she felt frailer with each passing day. She was struggling really hard to even do her day to day activities. Her crippling migraine and memory loss issues were making things more difficult.
Doctor suggested that we should admit her again to the hospital as her condition required proper treatment. However, after almost a week of constant struggle in hospital, my grandma succumbed to death due to cardiac arrest.
More than 45 million people have been believed to be recovered from COVID-19 worldwide, but it seems fighting the initial battle is not enough to survive. My Grandma was not alone in this – there have been reports of health problems in the post COVID recovery period, also known as long-haul COVID; globally.
These post COVID complications includes not only respiratory problems but other conditions as well such as mental health distress, thrombosis, joint pains, chronic fatigue, recurrence of fever, shallow breathing; and even heart attack, resulting into sudden death.
Post COVID complications are usually found among those who were extremely ill, but in country like India, which has a huge labour force population involved in extreme physical labor with daily earnings, situation becomes more worse. These people are also at immense risk as they practically do not have the luxury of affording effective treatment and taking rest; making it more difficult to survive with post COVID complications.
COVID-19 not only affects your body but also takes a toll on your mental health.
During the recovery period, addressing the mental health of the survivor becomes more crucial to their wellness. Survivors usually struggle hard to mentally process everything they have gone through. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common occurrence in long COVID patients, which may include strong physiological reactions to certain events, self-doubt and distrust in others, negative emotions, and even emotional disorientation to name a few.
Eating a healthy diet, getting good sleep, following a workout regime or engaging in activities like meditation, talking to family members about how they are feeling; are few of the steps which can be taken to improve mental health in the post COVID period. People who may need extra support, should reach out and seek professional help.
What we are dealing with is a deadly virus which severely affects the immune system of the survivor, resulting into serious multi-organ system inflammation, and eventually to sudden death in some cases. Specialists suggests that proper care should be taken during the post COVID recovery period, which includes cautious use of medication, and the use of remedial treatments such as physiotherapy and counselling for mental health.
Identifying and acknowledging post COVID recovery period effectively is the only way to deal with the present scenario. According to these recent stats, India reported more than 90 lakh COVID-19 cases last week, of which about 83 per cent have been formally recovered. However, doctors are still trying to figure out the long standing impact of the disease.
As I am sitting here writing all this, I am still trying to figure out what exactly happened, who exactly is at fault.
It is still hard to believe that my grandma who fought the COVID battle and defeated the deadly virus succumbed to death during her post COVID recovery period. I know she was dealing with frustration and her never ending health conditions, but how could she just give up like that?! Did we as a family, somewhere fail in close monitoring, addressing her mental health issues, her physical pain, or was it just destined to happen that way?
So many questions linger in my mind and go unanswered every day.
Image source: Engin_Akyurt on pixabay
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Prachi is a fashion designer by profession. Apart from designing she loves writing and in
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