It has been two months since Dr Abdul Mohid, a Mumbai-based general physician, was discharged from the hospital after a long battle with Covid-19, but he still feels the lingering after-effects of the viral infection. The severe lung damage caused by SARS CoV-2 has left the 30-year-old prone to exertional dyspnea, which makes him constantly feel like he’s running out of breath.
Mohid, who has been closely watching his recovery curve, says that climbing the stairs to reach the third floor in the hospital where he practices is now a tedious task. Even reading aloud a paragraph at once can leave him gasping for air. And this is an improvement from last month, when he could not even find the strength to hold a cup of tea.
Mohid got back home on May 4 after spending 25 days in three different hospitals, including some days in ICU at a private hospital, where he got a bill running into lakhs. When he finally left the last hospital, he was just asked to remain in home quarantine for the next 14 days. There was no rehabilitation plan or a follow-up schedule drawn out for him.
“My chest x-ray still had a pneumonic infiltration but doctors said that it should disappear in six weeks,” says Mohid. At home, he began to experience severe bouts of weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath. With no guidance from the doctors who treated him, Mohid turned to his other doctor friends for tips on pulmonary exercises that he could do at home. Along with a few breathing techniques, he started using an incentive spirometer, a device that helps increase lung capacity and helps patients with deep breathing.
“The little bit of rehab routine that I followed at home played a huge role in my recovery,” he says.
Months after the pandemic began, it’s clear that Covid-19 wreaks havoc in the lungs of moderate to critically ill patients as they grapple with weakness, breathlessness and fatigue for weeks, if not months. It’s like the lungs forget their primary function....