Miguel Pedrola is doctor, is 52 years old and is an eminence in the early diagnosis of HIV. He serves as scientific director for Latin America and the Caribbean of AHF (Aids Healthcare Foundations), an international organization that works in prevention and comprehensive response to HIV and Page, also installed in Argentina. And in Rosario she achieved in 2012, with a work team, the Guinness record for tests: 3,733 in eight hours. What he never imagined in almost three decades of work against one disease was going to be that another, called coronavirus, I would deposit him in a hospital bed with a really serious picture. Recovered in his hometown, One-Eyed Deer, and still convalescing, tells: “I just realized how bad I had been when I saw the results of the studies that had put me at home at home.”
Pedrola surprised this week with a very emotional message on Facebook, in which he thanks all the health personnel who intervened in his treatment. Many of them with first and last names; to others, in the memory “of their eyes and their words”, and of their forms “behind the suits, glasses, chinstraps and gloves”. From the “various angels of 107” who appeared one Sunday and transferred him to the Alejandro Gutiérrez Hospital, to the doctor who hugged him and let him “cry.”
He had returned to Argentina in March from Miami, the AHF operational center, as a repatriated scientist, when the country had already restricted flights from risk areas. When he arrived at Venado Tuerto, and after passing the quarantine imposed on travelers, Governor Omar Perotti, who always consulted him on the situation of Covid-19 in the United States, summoned him to participate in the provincial teams. “I couldn’t do both activities, so they gave me a consultancy by decree,” he recalls.
He began to work in the south of Santa Fe. With the provincial Epidemiology area, he assisted the town of Carreras when the situation became complex, and he also worked with the Santa Isabel health system. Then came everything else.
In late August, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe pneumonia, which led him to spend two days in the local hospital. Then, feeling better, he withdrew. She wanted to celebrate her birthday at home on the 29th of that month, promising to get checked again the next day. “It was an act of pride, I signed up alone. Now I learned my lesson ”, he acknowledges.
In the early morning hours of that Sunday after the celebration of his 52 years, the situation became untenable. He woke up with a fever, shivering with cold, his whole body was contracted and he could not breathe. “It was like a cramp in the whole abdomen that prevented me from entering the air. It was exasperating ”, bill. Sies immediately fell and he put oxygen on it, something that relieved him. When he arrived at Gutiérrez, the doctor told him: “This time, you won’t leave until I order it.” He was obedient.
Although he did not enter intensive care, something that terrified him (“he had never been hospitalized,” he clarifies), yes Plasma had to be applied to him, and he was subjected to rigorous care. He didn’t have a good time. The first week was difficult. “I saw it in the faces of the professionals, who made every effort not to discourage me, they told me it sweetened, but the parameters obviously weren’t working for me. The truth is that I realized how bad I had been when I returned home and reviewed the studies, which I had not seen before ”, recognize. And it abounds: “If I had seen them in the hospital, I would have been very worried.”
From Sunday 30 to Friday 4 September he did not feel any improvement, but that last day he woke up as “cured”, although he would still have a few days of hospital bed left, until on Friday the 11th he was discharged.
Pedrola assures that the strongest thing, beyond the physical, is how the disease affects the mental and emotional plane. “Everything goes through the head. I cried a lot, I was only relieved when I saw that things improved. I have no explanations from the medical point of view, but it hit me in the spirit “, recalls. He was sensitized by any news about Covid, especially cases in nursing homes. He could not send messages, he referred everything to his wife, who now has them “short”. “You are and you feel very lonely,” he admits.
One thing that did him good was sharing a room with other patients. When he began to feel better, he devoted himself to his companion, bringing him the food that was left for them at the door of the room and taking care of him. That, he says, “helped me forget about myself a bit, it put the problem out of my head. Now I ask every day how this patient is, who is from Santa Isabel and I didn’t even know. These situations are really hinges in life ”, he reflects.
Today, and already with the medical discharge, he takes off “the hat” before the professionals who attended him. “I knew I was where I needed to be, that’s a boost of encouragement.” And there is something that he does not stop remembering: “It was not only the attention they gave me, they were treated in the same way”.
Pedrola prefers not to make considerations regarding the situation of the coronavirus in the country and in the province. Less, after having been “unplugged” for so long while “many other colleagues have been at the bottom of the gun all this time”. But you can talk about your specialty, HIV.
He explains that the UN-AIDS and the World Health Organization had set the goal of eradicating the AIDS epidemic by 2030. A goal that could be achieved because with the advancement of treatments, a person who receives effective care is not contagious. “It was the 90-90-90 project: that this percentage of the infected population was diagnosed early, that ninety percent of them already had effective treatment, and that in a similar proportion they followed it. Extrapolated to 2030, we would take the plan to 95-95-95 ”, he says.
However, he acknowledges that the coronavirus changed all forecasts. “With this pandemic that arouses health care, surely the goals will have to be postponed, and not only in the area of HIV-AIDS, but in many other diseases, which will be left behind and will be stretched. When we realize it, the indicators will all be changed ”, the Mint.