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COVID Tales – Miracle of the Human Body

As a non-medico, I have always been fascinated by the human body- right from its journey from the womb to birth and thereafter. Functionalities, redundancies built in, the ability of the brain to learn, control and maintain the immune system to fight challenges thrown by the external environment; is nothing short of a miracle. I’m going through an experience which has brought me further up close and face to face, to some of these aspects. Here goes…

Background: I’m 55. I have been an outdoor sports person right through school, college, university – playing competitive National level team sports representing the state team. To continue to be active, I have taken to active long distance running which includes half marathons, regular group fitness training. The active sports regime has led to a fairly healthy constitution with no lifestyle related ailments like diabetes, cardiac or hypertension etc. as yet.

What happened: Come COVID-19 and like everyone else, at home, we started following the drill and protocols. Once we became eligible for the vaccine, we went through the 1st dose, followed by the second dose . The vaccination along with the other safety protocols helped us through the first 2 waves. However, the inevitable happened and I contracted COVID in Dec 2021, followed by my wife in Jan during the Omicron wave. Fortunately, it was a mild one and we had to be just home quarantined. 

In case of Covid struck patients, the guideline is to take the booster shot 3 months post Covid. My wife and I went for our booster dose together, after she too completed her 3 months post COVID. Dose taken, while my wife had some discomfort for a couple of days, things started taking a turn for me. Starting with mild fever for the first three days, then high fever with no other symptoms. Having followed the protocol, we thought it could be viral and decided to wait it out with Dolo / Combiflam for symptomatic relief for 5 days before consulting our physician. Since we had travelled on a road trip recently, the physician prescribed standard blood tests to check for dengue, malaria, typhoid, & blood culture with an additional one for  tropical disease while starting me on an antibiotic. After a week, there was no change in the fever pattern with increased weakness and occasional aches and pains. So I was advised to get admitted to a hospital to get investigations done while being treated and monitored. While admitted, all tests such as full body CT, X-ray, 2D Echo, USG threw up negatives for infections including urinary, TB as also auto immune diseases. However, some of the blood test markers for inflammation continued an upward trend which had the doctors worried. So 1 week after admission a PET-CT was also done as a last resort to try to nail down the cause. It was a huge relief that malignancy was ruled out. However, it threw up strange findings about inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) in the lower limbs. Doctors concluded, by exclusion, that this was related to the hyper immune response of my body to the booster dose. This had lead to the strange inflammation due to the immune system attacking the blood vessels. As I understand, this is one of those rare COVID vaccination reaction cases which the medical world is yet to be able to understand fully. As a result, as yet, there is no prescribed treatment like in the case of known diseases with known prognosis. The only fall back is steroids to help antibodies avert attacking the host patient’s body systems. (In case you would like to know more about this click here:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK233000/)

Once the cause was established, I was discharged. Steroids and a few complementary medicines were prescribed for a home treatment plan for vasculitis. However, things took a turn for the worst returning home. Within a few days, tremendous muscle weakness coupled with severe and constant ache in the leg muscles set in. This made simple tasks like getting up, sitting up or even just moving even in the bed, particularly at night, very painful. This was accompanied with fever throughout the day. Fever started rising to 102^+. For someone who could run a half marathon in 135-150 min, I had to go through pain and effort to be able to even get up from bed. To investigate this, I was advised to do an MRI. The investigations led the doctors to diagnose my condition as vasculitis coupled with myositis wherein weak, painful or aching muscles make it difficult to stand up from a seated position or lifting my legs was so painful, it would take a few minutes for me to get up from my bed to be followed by a herculean struggle to make it to the living room.

Here’s what I experienced, as the body prepared itself to focus on fighting out the antibodies introduced by the booster shot. All resources were brought forth to fight what was being considered critical by my body leaving everything else aside. As I lost appetite, the body started drawing upon the internal reserves through body fat and muscle. Net result, I lost 4-5 kgs within a span of 10-15 days. This meant, only the essential faculty which are critical to keep the system going continued while rest went into hibernation. For e.g even though I was in bed with a TV for entertainment, the mind and body could not think beyond focusing from morning to afternoon to evening sessions on how to fight the acute ache, fever as well the overall sick and drained out feeling due to lack of sound sleep through the night etc.

Modern medicine has made tremendous progress to help deal with health issues related to the faster pace and lifestyle thereby increasing longevity. However, as we push new frontiers, the complexity due to ease and speed of travel has increased the inter-connectivity making it a global village. A small accident in any part of the world can spread across the world in no time.This has made the world more fragile.  Take the case of recent outbreaks like Bird flu,SwineFlu which spread across geographies. Fortunately modern medicine was able to contain those to lower fatalities. However, in the case of COVID virus, the same is not true.COVID, due its multiple mutations, is like a chameleon. Modern medicine is not able to keep pace with the complications it can create due to its multiple mutations can attack different body organs of the host leading each patient to be a unique case. Each requiring an investigation and its own treatment plan.

Your body is your only life partner that will stay with you right till the end. So it is essential to stay fit, stay healthy to give your body a chance to fight the limitations of modern medicine. Your body will use its defence mechanism, but you need to be patient and give it a good chance by maintaining yourself mentally and physically healthy at all times. For this, it is not essential to do any extreme fitness regimen but just keep up with a routine and ensure you avoid a lifestyle which abuses your body, does not provide it time to recover. The human body has it in it to rejuvenate itself. You need to give it time and an environment which allows it to heal.

In my case, after more than 8 weeks, with the help of medication, my body seems to have succeeded in overcoming the hump as the relentless off/on fever cycle has stopped. The recovery seems to have just begun. While full recovery is likely to take a while, now it’s onto the next challenge, tapering of the medicines.I’m positive that my body will also be able to keep the side effects of modern medicine away.

 Here’s cheers to the miracle of the human body!

Ref:Click here to know more on types of adverse reactions reported so far.

Acknowledgements- My dear spouse Dr Rupali Gore for being my Rock of Gibraltar, my daughter Sanaa (a freshly minted Dr), my friend Sheetal Nagle for being a solid member of my blog support team.
P.S To read my other blogs on Cricketing / Corporate Tales, Start up stories, Covid Times, Friends, Family and Marriages go to the Home Page

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Published by Salil Datar

Eager beaver , enthusiastic but amateur blogger !!

7 thoughts on “COVID Tales – Miracle of the Human Body

  1. A detailed narrative from patient’s perspective. Very well written, Salil ! I strongly feel that, interdisciplinary approach of Allopathy, Ayurveda & Homeopathy could help the patients better esp. those with unusual immune response.

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  2. Dear Salil – It was very interesting to read your blog. So informative and detailed.

    Our body is truly magical and your insights into looking after it, nurturing it and keeping oneself physically and mentally fit, are so true.

    Kudos to your determination, never say die attitude and fighting spirit ( a talent inborn in you 😉 ).

    I am sure you will be back to your fittest best soon.

    Keep posting your informative and experience driven articles.

    Stay in touch. Take care…

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  3. Salil thanks for describing this so well. How complex is the human body and the more we know of it the more we know that we don’t know too. So so glad you’re on the mend.

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  4. Very well written and extremely informative.It gives one insight about what all impact human body can have !!
    Kudos to you for being strong and Rupali …the Rick of Gibraltar!!
    Get well soon Salil !! 😊

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  5. Salil, very well written & to the point. It tells you how human body can react differently, hats off to you Salil, Rupali & Sana for being strong. I can imagine what pains you must have gone through……
    Get well soon bro…. If you need anything ping me I will try my level best to be there.

    Like

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