13 Tips from a Primary Care-giver in Pakistan for Coronavirus
13 Tips from a Primary Care-giver in Pakistan for Coronavirus [COVID-19]
Here are some things my dear friend, who lost his father to Coronavirus, suggests. Sharing in the hope this is helpful to someone and saves someone’s loved one.
- First and foremost, buy an Oxymeter and an Oxygen cylinder, even if you don’t need it right away. Because, by the time one finds out that one needs it, it can be late.
- No symptom is small enough. Everyone in your family may have different symptoms. Some may not have any at all. I read this article from King’s College London (KCL) too late but please read it. It explains 6 types of symptoms very well. Read them, remember them. I have seen these in different family members.
- Once this thing enters a household, be mentally prepared to see all family members be affected by it. I had everyone from 70 years old to 9 years old tested positive.
- Plan for social distancing within household. Involve everyone in discussion. Wear mask at home too. Kids will be very upset, confused and scared. Counsel them gently.
- If one is primary care-giver, one will be at additional risk. There will be times and days, when patient will need very close support. If there is smoker in the house, ask them if they can be primary care-giver.
- Chest X-rays and blood tests (CBC, CRP, D-Dimer) are the bare minimums which will help your physician make informed decision.
- Inform everyone you have been in touch with. It’s better to be a social outcast than having the burden of terrible consequences on your conscience.
- As a hospital attendant at ICU, I wore 3 masks. An N95 mask sandwiched between two ordinary ones. And I discarded the outer mask every day, brought inner one outside and replaced inner with a fresh one. Buy PPE and wear it.
- Make a mental map of nearest hospitals with Covid-19 wards, when you don’t need it.
- Private hospitals in Pakistan will refuse to admit patients in critical condition. Government hospitals won’t. Government hospitals won’t charge you anything too. And I bet my bottom dollar, having gone through it all, doctors at government hospitals are more experienced at it too.
- I saw young people and old struggling on ventilators in hospital. I saw dead bodies of young (early 20s) and old alike. Please take this thing seriously.
- A huge, huge shout out to doctors at Mayo Hospital Lahore’s ICU wards 2 and 4. They were cocky as hell, a cockiness that comes from being experts within their fields. They were generals standing at the forefront of a war zone. Lending a kind but honest word to an attendant here, managing critical condition of a patient there. Most of them in their late 20s, early 30s. A credit to their profession, they are part of the glue holding this society together. I will forever be indebted to them.
- One last word on Government of Punjab’s Covid response / track and trace system. A day after my father was identified as Covid positive, Punjab Health Department’s (PHD) track and trace team visited us and then kept visiting regularly till all of us tested negative. They offered free tests at home for all family members and house helps every time. Barring once, all results came to my mobile through text within 48 hours. Number of free tests that we went through with PHD could have cost me in the region of PKR 300,000 at private labs. The fact our numbers are lower than many countries is not just a miracle. There are extremely hardworking faces behind this achievement. We just don’t get to hear about them at all. Just like doctors at Mayo, these teams are also the unsung heroes of our society.