The Global Social Network
I have just learned that a close Pakistani-American friend of mine in Silicon Valley is recovering from the disease caused by COVID-19. He’s a 66 years old man. His age and gender put him in a relatively high-risk category for coronavirus infection. When he took his elderly mother to a local emergency room in early March, he had only one face mask which he gave to her. He thinks he may have been infected in the emergency room or during one of his multiple visits to two family members in local hospitals in the weeks leading up to his illness. He is a man of deep faith. He bathed as required for ihram, the ritual Islamic purification during pilgrimage to Mecca, before going to the hospital. He said he was mentally prepared to die even before getting confirmation of his illness from the novel coronavirus.
He was driven by one of his daughters to a hospital after experiencing high fever, shortness of breath and severe headache just over a week ago. He took a shower before going to the hospital which brought his fever down by the time he got to the hospital. He was directed to a tent set up in the hospital parking lot for coronavirus testing. They checked his temperature and, at first, refused the test because his fever had come down. But then they relented and tested him. They took three samples of genetic material with long swabs inserted deep inside his throat and both nostrils. It was not at all a pleasant experience. He was the eighth person tested on that day.
A day after the COVID19 test my friend got a call to confirm that he had tested positive. His doctor asked him to isolate himself in a room at his home separate from his family. The doctor also told him to drink a lot of fluids, monitor his blood oxygen level and to come to the hospital immediately if the oxygen level dropped below 90%. It did go to 91% briefly but then came back up. He was miserable but his faith kept him going. He took deep breaths to keep his blood oxygen level above 90%. Lying on his stomach also helped reduce pressure on his lungs.
All members of his household were also quarantined within the house. Unable to leave home, they soon discovered that Instacart, Amazon Fresh and other grocery delivery services did not work for them. These companies were overwhelmed with massive orders volume. He and his family did not call me for help. One of his cousins delivered food and groceries the family needed.
Many of his friends and relatives started calling him the moment they found out he was ill. There were so many calls that he had to turn off his phone. He even missed important calls from his doctor because his phone was turned off.
His fever finally broke yesterday. It is now normal at 98 degrees but his doctor and the city of Fremont have asked him to continue his quarantine for another week. They say the period he’s been in quarantine doesn’t count because he took Tylenol. He's supposed to be symptom-free without any medication for 72 hours before ending his isolation.