Being a Corona Warrior

Hello! Since the last few weeks students of my college have been assigned duty to serve CoVid- 19 patients. During the duty, each one of us faced some Exciting as well as some Disturbing events. But for me the best part of the day is when Friends tell each other about all the Experiences they had during the day. Basic work we do may remain the same, but each day brings new patients, new challenges and many new lessons. To share some of these experiences and to answer some of the FAQs, I have with me today a dear friend and fellow BDS student – Vishwa Ruparelia.

So, let’s begin with the Interview! ๐Ÿ˜„

Hello Dr. Vishwa! ๐Ÿ˜
First of all tell us how does it feel being a Corona Warrior?!

Well honestly, I feel really proud to be able to contribute to society in this difficult time. Though what I do is very small as compared to all other frontline workers who are working day and night since a very long time. But I feel blessed to be a frontline worker and contribute doing my part.

Were you given a special training? What is taught at the training?

Yes we were given training before we started our duty. First day, we were given theoretical knowledge and were given demonstration of how to perform rapid antigen test and also donning and doffing technique (wear in and wear off) of PPE kit. Also we were taught how to calm patients and convince them to do testing.

How do they prepare you Mentally to go and serve the Covid Positive Patients? Despite the risks, what keeps you Going?

Well, it depends on an individual. Some of us took this as a compulsory job and were whinning initially, while some of us took it as our moral duty and were happy to do the work. Definitely our family members and we had fear in our mind about risk of exposure to virus, but at the end of the day, we were doing something good and I left everything on God.

How does the test work?

What we do is rapid antigen test. In this test, we take nasal swab and mix it with buffer solution. And then add 3-4 drops of that solution on antigen slide. It will give result in few minutes. This test gives result immediately and that’s why it is know as rapid antigen test. The result comes on the basis on any antigen (foreign substance) present in the sample.

Working Mechanism of the Test:

There are 3 types of tests available for CoVid 19:

1) RT- PCR or Molecular Test:

Highly sensitive and accurate test. The virus causing CoVid 19 is an RNA Virus. It replicates using Human cells to make its genetic material. To detect the COVID-19 virus early in the body using real time RTโ€“PCR, scientists need to convert the RNA to DNA. This is a process called โ€˜reverse transcriptionโ€™. They do this because only DNA can be copied โ€” or amplified โ€” which is a key part of the real time RTโ€“PCR process for detecting viruses.

2) Antibody or Serological Test:

In kit Antigen bound to Gold Nanoparticles is there. It reacts with Anti SARS Cov 2 Antibodies. The Gold nanoparticles absorb and scatter light resulting in Red light. This then moves towards the Absorption Pad by Capillary action and on the way are Nitrocellulose Strips (lines) with Respective AntihumanIgM and Antihuman IgG antibodies. The strip where Conjugation with Covid 19 antigen occurs will Appear red. There is a third line called control line which helps us know if the kit is in working condition.

IgM antibodies appear first- so (only) their presence indicates recent infection

IgG antibodies appear late but will last long and these will protect you for the next few weeks.

Presence of both IgM and IgG antibodies may indicate an ongoing infection.

3) Rapid Antigen Test:

This test is not as Accurate as RT- PCR but it gives result within minutes and hence is convenient for Mass Testing.

Many people are afraid of getting tested. What would you like to say to those people?

Honestly, I was also the one who was afraid of getting test done. But now I have realized that it’s for our and our dear one’s good. There’s no harm in getting test done. Many a times, patients are asymptotic and they continue their regular work but they infect a lot of other people. So if anyone feels slightest of doubt, they should get the test done. If your doubt comes out to be true, you will get proper treatment on proper time before any further complications and if it turns out to be negative, a person can live stress free. There was social stigma earlier and society was behaving differently earlier but now most of houses have atleast have one person covid positive so now people have started accepting. So it’s better to have test done when in doubt.

And the test isn’t that difficult what it seems to be. Its just a matter of a couple of minutes. And according to me, it’s better to suffer for few minuites while getting test done then to avoid it and wait for something worse to happen.

What’s a day in life of a Corona Warrior like?

Everyday is a new adventure. Actually, we dental students were given two types of training. One for Sanjeevani Ghar Seva and the other one is dome duty where we do rapid antigen test for free to any person who comes there.

So in Sanjeevani Ghar Seva, we go to Covid positive patient’s house who are under home quarantine and ask them about their well being, measure their temperature and vitals and guide them about all the precautions and care they need to take for themselves and if required, ask them to get admitted in hospital.

In dome duty, as mentioned earlier we do rapid antigen test for all those who come to our dome. And at some places and urban health centres, there is also team of frontline workers who do RT- PCR tests. So everyday is challenging, either visiting a number of patients or dealing with number of patients who come to our dome.

Right now I’m assigned for dome duty. We are sent in a team of three to a designated place. Where one of us does testing, other one is in assistance of the one who performs test, like helping in opening the antigen kit and sanitizing him/her after the test is done and another one takes patient’s history and fills their form. So everyday we divide our duties accordingly and each gets to do different task everyday. After couple of days, the area changes and again new place.

When you tell someone that their result is Positive for Covid19, what is their reaction?

Most of the patients who come to our dome, either come because they have been in close contact with covid positive patients or whose family members or relatives have come covid positive. So most of the times, they themselves are mentally prepared that they might come positive for covid. Others who come were asked to have test done from their work place or so. So they are also quite confident that they won’t be positive. But most of those who comes positive accept it well because now the mortality rate has decreased and people are now aware about how to take care of themselves and we instruct them and give them medication. But there are some who break down and we have learned to console them. Ask them to call their family members gets tested.

Few days back, one of my patients was an aged granny who was tested positive because 3 of her family members were covid positive. She came along with her daughter and so when she was tested positive, we informed her daughter and she told her mother that everything is normal and doctors (we๐Ÿ˜…) prescribed her some regular meds and asked her to take steam and drink hot water and not to go out of the home. So sometimes we don’t directly inform patients but someone who came along with them.

Okay tell me, for you, what is the most exciting part about this?!

Well, you get the feeling of a doctor before you actually become one๐Ÿ˜… Patient ask you to read them their reports and ask us if everything is normal, many patients come and ask us if we can write for them to do a CT scan!

We have been appointed from Airports and 5 star hotels to Slums and everywhere in between, so we witness so many shades of our society which we might not see regularly- atleast not in our student life.

Are the statistics we see in news reliable?๐Ÿ˜…

Not really๐Ÿง Mortality rate has definitely decreased and recovery rate is quite high but the number of positive cases coming very low is not to be believed.

I am sure you have had some disturbing moments as well. What are some of the things that make you sad?

Well, sometimes seeing patient breaking down when you tell them that they have been tested positive is quite difficult to see,you feel bad when some elderly patients with already multiple health issues get tested positive even when they themselves haven’t even stepped out of the house but got infected through their family members. And sometimes when both the parents of an infant test positive and the child doesn’t; which puts their parents in dilemma about who will take care of that little baby who cannot stay away from his/her mother. Such situations are disturbing and heart breaking.

You are serving in Ahmedabad currently. How would you rate AMC’s efforts at controlling the Spread?

Definitely Ahmedabad municipal corporation have taken tremendous efforts to curb the spread from the very start. NHL medical college and SVP hospital being the one who took all the responsibility for all the patients and providing the best treatment in every way possible. Most of the doctors and resident doctors were working tirelessly without a single day break since March when first Covid case came in Ahmedabad city. AMC is even providing breakfast, lunch and necessary protective equipments and a stipend to all the students of various medical branches who are on duty. They have setup multiple domes in every area of Ahmedabad where testing is done without any charges so that person can get tested voluntarily when he/she have slightest of doubt. And every person entering in Ahmedabad is getting tested before they enter the city. So I think AMC is doing their job quite well.

Recently, we see that people are behaving as if the Pandemic is over. What is your say on that?

Of course it’s very unfortunate that people are getting quite chilled out and behaving as if pandemic is over. Sometimes people who have themselves suffered and recovered, behave as if they have already been cured and cannot be tested positive again and behave quite carelessly thereafter. But it’s a big myth that person once affected by CoVid cannot be affected again. The Antibodies formed when you were affected will protect you for the next few weeks but scientists have not confirmed that it can never occur again! And you may still be a carrier. So, taking precautions is very necessary.

We see people spitting anywhere in public and not maintaining social distance even they are standing in a queue for the testing itself! They don’t realise how much efforts authority is taking to protect them, how tirelessly frontline workers are working. We students are appointed on duty even though our parents were happy with us doing the service and we might have to spend Diwali doing our duty so that people remain safe. I would really appreciate if people get bit more sensible and atleast think of their own safety and take necessary precautions to atleast protect themselves.

Very true Vishwa! Thank youu for answering all the questions in this detail. Really proud of you and all our Classmates. Wishing you stay safe and have fun doing this work of Service!

This surely will be a memory of lifetime! I really had great joy writing it with a friend. I hope you enjoyed reading it! Did you like this interview type format? Should I do more of these? Do share your reviews and experiences in the comments.

Thank youu!


16 thoughts on “Being a Corona Warrior”

  1. Apart from service, you mentioned about various sheds of Society which is very important as a doctor you may all need to serve variety of Patients..Loved it.. Nicely written Anecdote…

    Liked by 1 person

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