New Delhi: In continuity of the deadly second wave of Covid-19, doctors are also reporting an unusual infection called ' black fungus'. According to some reports, Mucormycosis can be expedited in humans by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment which is for moderate-to-serious Covid cases.
Vatsala Jadia, 28, a software engineer at Microsoft belongs to a middle-class nuclear family with 4 siblings and parents. She lost her mother who was struggling with black fungus on May 21. It started when her father had a fever including cold and cough for continuous 5 days starting April 17. Later after testing, they came to know that he was Covid positive.
Vatsala said, “While in isolation, my mother contracted Covid on April 20 and started with a fever. Then her health started deteriorating. On April 21, my sisters and brother started showing symptoms. On April 22, my father's fever was gone but my mother's fever was still above 100°F. She was completing her initial course of Covid medicine (Azure, Lime, Dolo, Zincovit).
As per the doctor's suggestions, they did CBC, CRP, D-dimer and HRCT tests. CRP came very high at 28 and HRCT score was 1-3. Fabi Flu started for the next 5 days with Dexona 2 mg twice a day and rota cap. Her spO2 started dropping from 97 to 92 on the course from 6th to 10th day. She again had her HRCT done on the 10th day, her score came 13/25, half of her lungs were infected and the temperature was still above 100°F and CRP level 66.
On the 11th day (April 30), she was hospitalised in the Medical College of Kota as there were no beds available in any private hospital. She had her first Remdesivir (2 doses) and Rexona on the 11th day and continued to have it for the next 5 days, arranging injections were a big deal at that time. After taking steroids, her sugar increased to 400 and thus, insulin shots had to be given and as side effects of these high doses, she had her tongue full of blisters while hospitalised, so she was unable to eat much. She was constantly having headaches and swelling on the right side of her face and numbness. But the doctor said it could be side effects.
On May 5, she had her last dose of Remdesivir and started complaining about toothache and much more swelling on her face, and was discharged on the evening of 6th.
She added, “After getting discharged, her swelling didn't stop but continued to increase, they referred doctors but since it was a rare disease, they were not able to figure it out and said it could be a side effect of steroids.”
Vatsala said, “We were skeptical about the swelling as it should have decreased but it was increasing and she was constantly suffering from pain in the head. We took a consultation from the Microsoft helpline and they suggested consulting an ENT specialist in the clinic as soon as possible to investigate and suggested CT PNS.”
They had a tough time finding a CT PNS machine in such a small city, Kota. Her CT scan reports came after one day on May 11 and they again consulted with an ENT specialist who suggested emergency surgery because her jaw was fully infected and her eyes were very close to getting infected. Within the next 3 hours, they rushed to Jaipur as Kota didn’t have all the facilities. They luckily got a bed in Jain ENT hospital.
Later Vatsala's mother had a major jaw surgery on May 12. It happened and her upper right palate and teeth were removed. The following check-up in the hospital, where the doctor suggested clean up to be done as CRP level, was continuously increasing to 137 during that time.
Vatsala said, “Her left eye started swelling and on May 18, she had her second surgery in which her lamina papyracea was removed. In the whole process, we were facing scarcity of Liposomal Amphotericin B injection but luckily we kept on arranging for her everyday needs.”
After the second surgery, she was not able to maintain her spo2, she was on oxygen and started complaining about headaches and chest pain. On the 20th, after her second meal at 2 pm, her BP dropped in 15 minutes from 80 to 40 and her oxygen level below 60. She was rushed to an ambulance where she had a brain haemorrhage and her vitals were very low, spo2 came to 28 and BP is very low.
She got intubated and put on a ventilator. On May 20, she never regained consciousness. After they came out, she had her second cardiac arrest from which she never regained.
Remembering the old times, Vatsala added that they used to play Ludo and Monodeal together every day. Her mother enjoyed dancing and singing through which she used to wake all of them in the morning.
Vatsala said, “Every time we asked her how she was feeling, she said that she was fine and asked us not to worry about her. She was the pillar of our family and everything revolved around her and her happiness. I could say she could be a good detective, it's like if we do something wrong she can sense it. The void she has left is irreplaceable, we are all trying to fulfil her dreams and one of them is to help other people and create awareness about the disease. She was brave, beautiful, intelligent and all-rounder. She devoted her life to make us stand on our feet. If she is suffering, she will never let us know. She was well educated and always guided people around on education. She liked to be always groomed and stay up-to-date. The only message I gained from losing my mother is that it's better to panic even with small symptoms and always try to find time for awareness.”