I am a 27 year old graduate engineer with a degree in Electronics and Telecom engineering, resident of Panvel, Mumbai, and a two time transplant recipient. I had my first kidney transplant in July 2012, with my mother being the donor. Fever and high blood pressure following a malarial infection had resulted in my kidney failure. Later, tests revealed IgA Nephropathy as the cause. The graft lasted for four years. Recurrence of the native disease was responsible for the failure of the graft kidney. Following this, I had to wait for three years on the cadaver waiting list, and I was fortunate to have a second transplant in April 2019, with the kidney of a deceased 18 year old. The surgery was performed at Sahyadri Hospital in Pune.
With the COVID pandemic taking a heavy toll in the country, the fear of contracting the virus, and complications associated with it, is on everyone’s mind, more so that of patients with chronic diseases and those with compromised immunity. Therefore, when I felt breathless on 26th August, I panicked. When my nephrologist suggested a COVID 19 test, I chose to undergo the test and treatment at Nair Hospital in Mumbai Central, as I could avail free treatment there. My treatment regimen was under the care of Dr. Kalpana Mehta, Head, Department of Nephrology. First, my immunosuppressive medications were stopped, and substitutes were administered intravenously. My COVID treatment consisted of a five-day course of antivirus injection. Fortunately, my condition improved after the third dose, as my oxygen saturation level which had touched a low of 72% rose to 97%. At this stage, oxygen was withdrawn. In spite of an underlying fear, I remained positive and believed that I would recover with the systematic treatment I was being given.
A swab sample taken on 30th August 2020, came with a negative report, but the hospital waited for a negative report from a second swab on 2nd September, and I was greatly relieved to be discharged, after spending nine days in hospital. I was advised to resume my post-transplant medications, except for one tablet, which was put on hold for two more weeks. I am glad and relieved that I did not require ventilator support. My greatest fear had been that of losing my second graft kidney as a result of withdrawing immunosuppressive medications.
I feel positive now since my recovery, and hope to find a job soon. I live with my parents and elder brother’s family; my parents have remained my source of support throughout my journey with health issues. I managed to conquer my worst fears by seeking timely treatment and staying positive. I hope that my recovery from the dreaded COVID will serve to instill hope in other immunity compromised patients too, and inspire people to repose trust in the treatment provided by government run hospitals and avoid spending exorbitant amounts in private hospitals.
My message: COVID is treatable. There is no need to fear it. Staying positive and optimistic will certainly hasten recovery.