COVID-19 EXPERIENCE: My First Contact

MY COVID-19 Experience.The First Contact With A COVID Positive Patient was in the first wave.

Time was 3:00am when my phone rang. It was the voice of the receptionist whom the nurse on duty in general out-patient department had told to call me.
Voice over the phone – good morning Dr Ike, please there is a patient that just came in to GOPD
With my poorly sleepy tired eyes, I staggered with a bit of grumbling, muttering few words like “ahh at this time of the night”. Even though at my work place it is not unusual for patients that are relatively stable to show up at odd hours but by means of observation, there is an unvoiced creepy feeling across colleagues about patients who present at the OPD at such hours with mild symptoms. They usually tend to hide something about their complaints.

So I walked in and sighted an apparently healthy looking dude, who immediately greeted “Doctor Good morning” and I could only manage a dry smile

You can come in, I said to him as I sat like I have been tilling the soil all day. I took a glance at his vital signs on the computer as posted by the nurse and it was all within normal range.

I listened to his complaints, asked more questions around it including those associated with COVID-19, and aside for the fact that he appeared jittery and anxious, the only history suggestive of COVID-19 was his travel history. But then, it was not  specific. He did returned back from one of the North American countries with rising cases back then but according to him, that was over 1 month ago as at the time of seeing him in the clinic and that in itself far exceeded the 2 week period we look out for.

Also read “Over two years since COVID crept in”

So having this in mind, with his stable state aside being panicky, I didn’t seem to me that it was COVID-19 infection even though a part of me still wanted him to get screened.

As at that time, majority of the States were still yet to record any case of COVID-19 and few government centers were the only centers testing people.

I sent him for a few baseline investigations and when he came back for review, it was one of my colleagues whom I did night duty with that reviewed the results and then prescribed medications and allowed him home to come back if symptoms persist.

COVID-19
COVID-19

Following symptoms becoming more obvious, he re-presented and this time, samples were collected for COVID-19 testing.
So while we anxiously wait to get the result of the COVID-19 test, I was at home when a call came in. It was a more senior colleague and the communication went thus “Dr Ikechukwu, how are you ?. Fine Sir I responded. Are you on duty today? Yes Sir but on night.

Then he said, you attended to one Mr ….. at … time on … day. Yes sir I did. I almost could pre-empt him and my mind was ready even before I picked up the call. Then he said his COVID-19 result came back positive. There was a few minutes of silence before I echoes “okay sir”. Then another question “do you stay alone? .. I answered in affirmative. You will have to self isolate for 14 days beginning from the day of contact, please stay calm, don’t panic, the occupational health department will get across to you. Alright Sir, I concurred

Almost immediately, I could hear my heart racing but then I thought to myself, I have handled more devastating emergencies and so why am I troubled. So I relaxed but not until the news started going round – radio, TV, blogs, and other media outlets about States recording their first cases of COVID.

I didn’t have COVID yet so why was I worried? Guess we will find out on the next episode.

NEXT – THE ISOLATION SAGA

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