Coronavirus | 74-year-old affected person beats the percentages after 32 days in clinic


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The odds were stacked against Makhmuddin. The 74-year-old ironsmith had previously suffered bouts of jaundice that had weakened his immunity. And he came in late to the hospital with a feverish breath and a frantic cough that jolted his heaving chest. Doctors immediately put him on non-invasive ventilation support. For 12 days, his life hung precipitously at the edge — on oxygen support.

Yet, he knew he would recover, Mr. Makhmuddin asserted. And survive he did, trumping COVID-19. On Wednesday, the septuagenarian, Indore’s longest-treated patient for the illness after having been stuck in a bed for 32 days, walked out of the city’s MRTB hospital. Unfazed by the fact that the novel coronavirus has been sickening older people more gravely, he also became the city’s oldest to bounce back from the infection.

Weakened system

Previously, a year-long battle with jaundice had weakened his body. But the experience of having overcome that condition, Mr. Makhmuddin said, had steeled his resolve for facing future challenges. “Twice, I thought I was gone. But surviving jaundice had given me the strength to overcome other illnesses, including corona. This experience was nothing before that one,” he asserted.

He still does not know how he became infected. As the lockdown kicked in, he barely stepped out; no one in his family or locality contracted the illness. “Sometimes I lent my sons a hand in repairing vehicles,” he recalled.

Eight days before visiting a hospital on March 29, he suffered the first bouts of fever, temporarily controlled with self-medication. “He came to us at the peak of his illness,” said Salil Bhargava, a doctor at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College who was involved in the treatment. “He carried bilateral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.”

Most of the 68 patients who have died in Indore presented so late at hospitals that the COVID-19 condition had taken complete hold by then, opined health experts. Despite pulling out all stops, it was difficult to save them. “Most who have come to us in Makhmuddin’s condition have died,” observed Dr. Bhargava.

“Although the illness doesn’t have a defined remedy at present, his cure shows supportive treatment works. Therefore we should not lose hope,” the doctor said.

Cheerful company

As he showed improvement, Mr. Makhmuddin was moved out of the ICU to another isolation ward. There, he drew support from the company of those recuperating alongside him. Six patients of varying ages occupied beds set wide apart. They chatted away their time, on the road to recovery. “Accha time pass hua udhar. Dil behelta raha (We passed our time pleasantly. We kept ourselves entertained),” he chuckled.

Two recently admitted youth, with uncertainty gripping them, had asked him about recovery. “I told them to have patience and the willpower to fight it out,” he recalled.

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