HEALTH “Powerlessness and Feelings of Deception”: People on How They are Treated for COVID-19

According to official figures , the number of detected cases of COVID-19 in Russia will soon reach a quarter of a million How many of them on the fact – no one knows: Sergei Sobyanin said that Moscow alone of about three hundred thousand. There is no cure for the disease, and the vaccine will appear only in one and a half to three years. The existing recommendations for the treatment of COVID-19 resemble those used for conventional ARVI – but at the same time, some doctors may prescribe antibiotics without a history of bacterial pneumonia , so-called immunomodulators without proven effectiveness and antimalarial drugs, the effect of which on the new coronavirus is only being studied (but so far to no avail ). We spoke with different people about how they are being treated for COVID-19 and how they assess the effectiveness of such treatment.                            

DISCLAIMER: if you find yourself with symptoms of COVID-19, do not self-medicate, do not take medications that are mentioned by the heroes of this material, read the official recommendations and call a doctor at home.      

In early March, I went to Spain where I wanted to spend a holiday weekend. In those days there was not yet a lot of cases, and in most of Barcelona, where I was , and flew, and all units. Where I got infected, I did not understand – perhaps it only happened on the plane, when I was returning home. Upon arrival , symptoms immediately appeared: a temperature of about 37 degrees, a dry cough, a sore throat. Then I felt pain in the lungs, the temperature rose even higher. I called an ambulance – the doctors arrived in “spacesuits” and then took a smear for analysis. Three days later, the diagnosis was confirmed and then they told me that they were being taken to the hospital – the N.N. Sklifosovsky.                               

According to the fact, no treatment, I did not was because the disease is mild form. I was given tablets expectorant action, and to this all. I spent sixteen days in the hospital and, one might say, did nothing . In fact, my body coped with the virus on its own . I have no chronic diseases, I am young, so I easily endured it. In the last few days in the hospital the first time I’ve done CT, then the same and confirmed pneumonia in an easy manner. Since the pandemic in Russia at that time it was just beginning, then have left me with a good impression. I was lying alone in a ward with five beds. We were fed well, three times a day. The doctors made a round every hour, measured the temperature, then they did all the possible tests. Now I think that Moscow health care worked perfectly then – which, I suppose, cannot be said about the regions. 

 The fact that something was wrong with me , I first thought about the evening of April 22. It felt like I was run over by a tank or I was chopped off for two hours with Gillian Michaels, although I just walked from room to kitchen and worked on my laptop. Thought I had a fever. Measured – 36.6 degrees. The next two days I felt the same way: everything was falling out of hand, I didn’t want to do anything . I blamed it on procrastination and the weather.                   

Then the temperature rose for the first time – 37.2 degrees. A runny nose began. The husband suggested that it was ARVI: well, spring, season. I always left the house wearing a mask, with a sanitizer. Returning from a pharmacy or a store, where I did not go so often, I wiped the door handle, keys, phone with alcohol. Nor with someone not embraced in the guests I do not go, not been in places where people are not attracted to, not been seen, and so on. That is , it was strange to assume something more serious than a cold. Then for three days I felt worse and worse. I wrote about it on Facebook – and a friend suggested that this is how pneumonia can proceed, almost asymptomatic. Later, this version will be confirmed to me by a doctor at the coronavirus CT center. He will say that many people under forty years old get sick just like that – with a low temperature. It’s just hard for them to breathe.                               

The cough did not appear then, but the temperature rose to 38.2, so I called the doctor. A young doctor came, he was “transferred to bypass patients” from another hospital. In a mask, gloves, shoe covers and with a sanitizer. He questioned me and handed me pills from a huge bag (an antiviral drug with unproven efficacy in the treatment of a new coronavirus infection. – Ed. ). Then I listened and said that there were wheezing in my lungs and I needed to go to a computed tomography scan at the polyclinic. Here I seem to have been frightened for the first time. Bergamo, New York, even the Moscow Kommunarka – I read about them, watched the video, but then all this happened to me. It was scary. ” When can I have a CT scan?” I asked, feeling that I was acting like a fool. “Whenever. CT can be done around the clock. ”                          

At the CT center we were met by people in protective suits. It was sur: the combination of an old building with pillars and white suits with respirators was like a horror movie. They sat me down, questioned me, recorded me, and in ten minutes they already had a CT scan. Then they took blood and swabs from the mouth and nose. At that moment, a nurse came in with the test results and said that I had pneumonia affecting a quarter of my lungs. The doctor calmly explained that, judging by the CT scan and symptoms, I just have a new coronavirus, but there is nothing to be afraid of: twenty-five percent is an early stage. And in general, even if seventy-five percent of the lungs are affected, it is reversible.                     

They took another test, for antibodies – they were not found. They gave out a CD with a CT scanned on it – in case I want to know a different opinion. They gave me an antibiotic azithromycin and an antimalarial agent. At the exit they tried to give me a mask with gloves, but I refused: we stocked up in advance. The sensations were wild – and to be honest, I did not expect such a service from our healthcare system . And I didn’t expect the fact that they would calm me down, speak with me carefully . When I wrote about my visit to the polyclinic on social networks, some suggested that it was a “thug hospital”, that I was a thug, because I live in the Central Administrative District. It was even assumed that the post was paid for by the Moscow mayor’s office. But no: this is an ordinary polyclinic number three, I got there under the compulsory medical insurance, because I was assigned to it. Although I am not even a Muscovite: I am from Vladivostok. So there is no blat.                                      

For the next six days, I took antibiotics, antimalarials, and antivirals – and I was gasping for breath. It became difficult for me to breathe. Do you know the feeling when you can’t breathe to the end? As if someone is sitting on the chest. I inhaled and coughed. They called me from Rospotrebnadzor, from a polyclinic and asked how I felt. I asked: “It’s harder to breathe, what should I do?” They said to call the clinic and call the doctor again. “But you are calling me now from the polyclinic? – I asked. – Maybe you will call? It turned out that everything is not so simple: those collecting statistics were not in the same building with a call center that records doctor’s calls.                           

Later it was found out that test results COVID-19 at me negative, but for all the symptoms and a picture on the CT this is a new coronavirus (data from China shows that about thirty percent of all tests can yield false-negative result -. Ed.. ).           

A week ago, they called from Rospotrebnadzor and said in a sad voice that they would no longer call every day : probably, I was not the only one who suggested that there was no point in this. I can call a doctor myself, an ambulance too, but for everything else they are useless. After the azithromycin ended, the doctor came again – he was very tired, I was his thirtieth patient in a day. He said that there were more cases. He had a working day until four o’clock in the afternoon, but then it was already almost seven in the evening, and there were still four calls ahead. Prescribed the drug levofloxacin (antibiotic – approx. Ed. ). I drink it for three days, the temperature stays at around 37, there is a weakness, but it seems that it has become easier to breathe. In general, I feel pretty good: they take care of me. I’m not scared, everything has already happened. Here would still smell and taste are back! Now I can distinguish the smell of coffee from the smell of a scented candle, but meat, for example, or spinach has absolutely no meaning: the feeling of chewing on a towel.                             

Me and my girlfriend went to self-isolation on March 15, went only once a week to the nearest grocery store wearing gloves and masks. On the evening of April 21 , my temperature suddenly rose to 37 degrees. The next morning I called a doctor from a special clinic at the place of work of my mother, to which I am attached. They immediately took swabs, left a memo with recommendations such as sucking on anise lozenges, drinking pills (an antiviral drug with unproven effectiveness. – Ed. ), Hot tea and taking vitamin C ( it has no proven effect in such cases. – Approx. ed. ). They said the analysis would be ready in six days.                           

For a couple of days, the temperature jumped from 37 to 38.3 degrees. My head ached, and then it became difficult to breathe. I called an ambulance. I called for twenty minutes, then waited another two hours for the doctor to call me back, and another four when he arrived. At the same time, my girlfriend also had a fever, and we called a doctor from the district clinic. The doctor came without protection, listened to complaints and prescribed antibiotics. When asked what the diagnosis was, she answered: “Well, some kind of infection. Perhaps bronchitis. ” Behind came my ambulance, and from protection to doctors were only a mask and gloves. They refused to examine both of us, because the call was only for me. First, they said that this is a typical SARS, then – what exactly COVID-19 and that there is no need to wait for tests . Thus, during the day we were given three different diagnoses. Another antiviral drug was prescribed (a drug with unproven efficacy. – Ed. Note ). In parting they said: “If you grunt on the tenth day, then call. Maybe we will take it to CT. ”                              

Then we both lost our sense of smell, the temperature began to jump. It was getting harder and harder to breathe, and our diagnosis was already obvious to us. On April 27 , I called my polyclinic to find out the test result – it is positive. The doctor came in late in the evening in a protective suit, but the mask dangled under his nose. He occupied our desk for two hours and wrote out a bunch of papers: a decree for forced self-isolation, some questionnaires, consent to drugs, directions for CT. For a long time he could not decide whether to take an analysis from my girlfriend, but in the end he took it. I was given antimalarial medicine.                     

An ambulance was supposed to take us to the CT scan . We waited for the car for more than three hours, until a responsible young guy arrived: the hood of the suit was pulled over the very nose, from the doorway he gave out two masks for us. Again, the showdown begins, why there are two of us, again the hourly filling of a million pieces of paper. At midnight we were taken to the nearest clinic. We have found pneumonia in mild, in girls – only traces of the old one, which apparently she once experienced, without knowing it. I was prescribed azithromycin (an antibiotic. – Ed. ) For six days. We got back on our own, so they called a taxi. It was possible to walk on foot, but then there was no strength . Driver without a mask and gloves, we are in them. I pulled the scarf over my face and did not touch anything .                             

In theory, doctors should watch over us, because we are being treated at home. The notorious telemedicine contacted me only on the third day after the CT scan. On the fourth day, the girl received a call from the health department. We called the doctor at home because we were both scared from breathing problems. Each time a new doctor came, each time they had to talk about everything from the beginning, each time they did not know what to answer our questions. It got to the point that when asked why it was hard for the girl to breathe, if she allegedly did not have pneumonia, the doctor replied: “I do n’t know. Maybe it’s a deterioration, or maybe an improvement. ” Many of them come without any protection, some did not even know that they were going to a patient with COVID-19. But then they visit other people! It was all annoying. The same can be said for telemedicine doctors. At some point, it seemed to me that they were just collecting statistics, I no longer expected any recommendations and help from them .                               

Once we had two doctors on the same day. They replaced my antibiotic with amoxicillin and gave me a week’s supply . May holidays have come. On May 6, I called the polyclinic and asked for a consultation with a pulmonologist. It turned out that I didn’t need antibiotics because they don’t treat viral pneumonia . When I asked why I was drinking them then , the doctor said: exclude a bacterial infection that could start in the background. And could would not start. Those six days on the first antibiotic would have been enough for me , but the doctor did not understand why the hell I was also prescribed amoxicillin. Then it finally dawned on me that they had nothing to treat us with . Doctors prescribe toxic antimalarial drugs with unproven efficacy and severe side effects. And antibiotics that kill everything except the virus itself. I’m not on the joke mad. Some kind of impotence and a sense of deception.                                 

All this time, we did not refuse to visit the doctors, because they measure the level of oxygen in the blood. I asked to take tests from my girlfriend and schedule her a consultation with a cardiologist by phone, because she has concomitant diseases. The doctor said that they do not carry out routine examinations because of the pandemic. But this is not a routine inspection! COVID-19 can affect the heart, but the doctor is not really worried about: no consultation or analysis we have not got. As well as the result of my girlfriend for the new coronavirus: no one simply tells us it. The clinic sends them to Rospotrebnadzor, and they – back to the clinic. But they say that if the test was positive, they would call . For all my “yes, it ‘s obvious, she lives with me, I have a positive” they do not care.                                       

Now some symptoms are replaced by others. For several days the girl had a rash, then we developed a wild weakness in the muscles. We continue to drink teas, vitamin C ( there is no proven effect in such cases. – Ed. ) And we cook fruit drinks. We hope that at least it doesn’t get worse.           

 On the tenth of April, my dad had a very high temperature, which he did not say. Four days later I got sick . Then my mother’s temperature rose . A friend of my parents fell ill, three days later – his neighbor. Then my boyfriend. We didn’t call the doctor right away, because we thought we had just caught a cold. But then everyone suddenly began to lose their sense of smell. I did not smell any perfume or bleach. Then they already asked for help.                 

A doctor came to us – without gloves and with a deflated mask on his face. Without washing her hands, she began to diagnose us. It is clear that she was exhausted, but it is pointless to expect something from such help. In the end, she reluctantly listened, but did not prescribe anything . I decided that we all have ARVI, but there is no suspicion of a new coronavirus . We barely persuaded her to give us a referral for computed tomography. In the end, they signed us up, and we checked out. The process itself took five minutes, and the deciphering of the results took half a day. As a result, everything is clean in my lungs, and my mother’s left lung is a quarter affected, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. They also took a smear from my mother, but they did not . Together with her, I signed a paper on which now I have to stay at home for two weeks.                                    

I was given an antiviral drug (with unproven efficacy in the treatment of coronavirus infection. – Ed. ), My mother was given the antibiotic azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine (an antimalarial agent that may be effective in COVID-19, but has not been registered for this indication. – Ed. . ). A family friend was given an antiretroviral drug, which is prescribed for HIV (the effectiveness of such treatment for COVID-19 is not excluded and is currently being studied. – Ed. ). We did not take the pills: they were prescribed before we even knew about the positive test. Well , if there is still no cure for the new coronavirus, then how will strong antibiotics and immunomodulators help us ? My boyfriend was prescribed only azithromycin, but another doctor recommended that he buy probiotics (these drugs can improve the course of some diarrhea, but so far their effect is too poorly understood. – Ed. ). We drank abundantly hot teas – with sea ​​buckthorn, viburnum, cranberries and rose hips. We ate chicken soups.                            

After the CT scan, we waited a very long time for the test results. Mom started calling all sorts of numbers for clinics, the headquarters for the fight against coronavirus and the health department. As a result , a letter came to her mail with a positive test result – so it is logical to assume that we all also have COVID-19. All this time, every day we received calls from the health department and asked about our health. When we found out that the test was positive, I told JZM that I was in contact with her and could not isolate herself . They said that they will give this information to the clinic and at home should be contacted – but this has not happened. DZM stopped calling almost immediately after learning that my mom tested positive.                            

Then we decided to call the clinic, but no one picked up the phone there, they waited for an answer for hours. But when they answered us, it turned out that the operators did not know anything and could not help us. It got to the point that a week ago my mother received a call from the clinic and was glad that her test result was negative. The same one that was positive a week ago! We tried to achieve a repeat smear. We were frozen for three days, and finally they took another one. But they took it only from my mother – they refused from me. Twice they promised that a doctor would come to us, and twice he didn’t come.                       

The young man had a swab taken twice, and each showed a different result. Now we are waiting for the results of the third, although at first they did not want to take it either . The young man insisted because he needed to go to work. If he infects someone there, the clinic will be to blame – she wrote him a certificate that he was healthy.           

 I got sick in March when I returned from France. Then there were not so many cases of a new coronavirus in Belarus, we were not even examined at the airport . Almost immediately my temperature rose, my sense of smell disappeared and my body became weak . It was hard to breathe, and then a rash went through my body. I called the doctor home and even then I suspected that it was a new coronavirus. I asked if they would take a smear from me. Without explanation, I was refused and told that it was not COVID-19. The fact that it was he, I learned after the fact, when I passed the test for antibodies.                     

I was not prescribed any special treatment , although by that time I had had a temperature of 39 degrees for five days . Thank goodness we had good foreign medicines in our home medicine cabinet that helped fight the symptoms. I took ordinary paracetamol in sachets with vitamin C supplements. I know that now in our hospitals they are giving a drug based on paracetamol and caffeine.              

K Unfortunately, in Belarus, in this sense, now all sad. I am very sorry for the doctors, but medicine turned out to be helpless and unprepared. Hospital beds are sorely lacking. People who were scheduled for elective surgeries found themselves in a situation where doctors had no time for them. Many departments have been redesigned for COVID-19: I heard that even traumatologists are now treating pneumonia because there are not enough doctors. Doctors are deceived, the promised premiums are not paid. If some money is allocated, then it is very tiny. Like many countries, Belarus has not had to ready for a pandemic, but the inaction of the authorities leads to disastrous consequences. 

local_offerevent_note March 22, 2021

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