FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas — One year ago, we were hearing about the first COVID-19 patient not just in our area, but in Texas.
“It was a matter of time before we were going to see the first positive in our community,” Dr. Umair Shah said at the time.
The first patient happened to be a man who was treated at St. Luke’s Hospital in Fort Bend County. He had just returned from a trip to Egypt.
“This was the first actual patient diagnosed in Texas," Dr. Manpreet Mangat said
She was in charge of his care at St. Luke's Sugar Land.
“He had coughing, fever ... just general milder symptoms but going on about five to 10 days and his wife had similar symptoms, too," Mangat said.
The couple asked not to be identified.
“The past year was turbulent for us, like riding a roller coaster in the dark,” the husband said.
He said the hardest thing was the separation. While he was in the ICU, his wife was at home in quarantine.
“I had to report to CDC twice a day my body temperatures. Many times, I received surprise packages left at the door, from friends,” his wife said.
It was support and daily updates from Mangat that got them through. Initially, to avoid exposure, she was the only doctor who was allowed to see him.
“He would always keep giving me a thumbs-up sign or a positive sign, so we got our positivity from each other and I think that helped him a lot," Mangat said.
Mangat said he was lucky. He had no underlying conditions, never had to be put on a ventilator and after 18 days he went home.
“You had risked your own lives to save mine. I want you to know that I am fine and fully recovered now. Without your love and care, I could not do it,” he said of the healthcare workers who tended to him.
The patient and Mangat still stay in touch. He still stops by from time to time to say hello. Mangat said watching him recover gave her the hope she needed to make it through what has been a very difficult year.