My COVID story: “Loss of smell and taste made me realise that I actually do have COVID-19” – Times of India


The world is grappling with the pandemic from the past 10 months now. With the lockdown rules relaxed and people stepping out of their home more often, there is far less seriousness about COVID-19 than there was during the initial few months. There are several rumours doing rounds around us, where people believe that they might not get COVID-19 after recovering from it. This should not lead to complacency, as we cannot let our guard down especially during times like these. Dr Niranjan Patil, Head of Molecular Biology, Metropolis Healthcare shares, “As a doctor I dealt with COVID patients and saw the disease closely after contracting it myself.” Here is his story.

Initial days of pandemic

We doctors faced a huge challenge in the beginning of the pandemic. Whether it was the number of PPE kits available or handling the lesser number of staff coming to the hospital. There was also fear in the minds of people in general. Whether they should go to work or not.

There were panic phone calls from the patients, asking about the symptoms and all. We used to start working early in the morning around 6 or 7. The shift continued the whole day and we used to finish only by 4 am. Somehow we managed to snatch 1-2 hours of sleep.

My exposure to COVID-19

Even though we wore PPE kits at all times, there were instances where we had to remove gloves to answer phone calls. On one hand you are handling patients but simultaneously we also had to present over important calls. So, this is where the breech might occur which could have exposed me to the virus.

Symptoms and testing

By the end of May, one of my colleagues developed symptoms. He had body aches and fever. Within a gap of two days, even I developed similar symptoms. I had body aches and fever for 2-3 days. We then consulted a senior doctor and got ourselves tested. The result came positive obviously.

While body aches and fever subsided, loss of smell and taste continued for long. It occurred 4-5 days after the initial symptoms emerged. Even dry cough occured at a later stage. None of the symptoms occurred simultaneously and took their own sweet time to come and go.

Success rate

I knew because of my medical background that around 85% people were asymptomatic, while 10% had very mild symptoms. So, I kept myself motivated that this will pass and I will sail through. I had no underlying illness and my age wasn’t much, so this kept my willpower strong. With some medicines and a strong state of mind, I was able to defeat COVID.

Spree of positive tests

I did not test negative immediately. I got my test done after 14 days but it came positive again. We waited another week and expected that this time the test would come negative but yet again, it came out to be positive. This positive streak continued for a significant period of time. I finally got test negative after 28 days, which brought about a sigh of relief.

Some of my doctor colleagues developed breathing difficulties even after testing negative. They get tired and get shortness of breath even after climbing a short set of stairs.

So the post COVID symptoms depend from person to person. While some might have lung issues, some might develop heart problems, while in many the loss of smell could continue for days together.

Loss of smell and taste

Usually when this happens, things will either taste bitter or tasteless. This was the main symptom which made me believe that I actually have COVID-19. The usual pattern that COVID-19 followed in my case was, fever and body aches for the initial few days, followed by dry cough and loss of smell and taste.

A doctor’s advice

As a doctor I will only recommend people to get tested after they experience symptoms. This will not only prevent the virus from spreading to your near and dear ones but will also save you from developing complications, if the symptoms worsen.

Did you fight COVID-19? We want to hear all about it. ETimes Lifestyle is calling all the survivors of COVID to share their stories of survival and hope.

Write to us at [email protected] with ‘My COVID story’ in the subject line.

We will publish your experience.

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