Eight months of extreme safety measures, following all protocols, no outings and restricted travel. You are confident that you have isolated yourself with all the precautions and should be safe enough not to catch the inevitable virus. But then, there is always that one person who ropes you into his/her carelessness. An office colleague, a friend, family member or just an acquaintance who slips up and passes it on to you. Poof and your months of restricted living, a sort of penance goes up in smoke, courtesy that one entity who was either over-confident or careless.
With the kind of protocols I had been following, I was highly confident that I could never become a victim. But, here I am – myself a data point for the dataset that I have been analysing continuously since March.
Day One starts with a mild cough and loss of appetite, which I take as signs of overwork. No significant symptom over next two days makes me ignore the issue (a serious mistake). Day four – Back ache and body ache, which I attribute to a nine hour drive, a detour courtesy the farmer’s agitation around Delhi borders. Day five is when I get fever. Alarm bells ring and I try to arrange for a Covid test. Day six starts with the dreaded word ‘positive’ for my Test result. Unbelievable, but true that I am one of the statistics now. A Medical consultation and ‘home treatment’ started with a ‘take it easy’ approach.
Wait – It is NOT easy. Next day, the Oxygen levels start dropping. Continuous reminders by a friend to get hospitalised, and a couple of hours later, I raise a Red Flag and start hunting for a Hospital. It is Day seven now – and I get admitted to the hospital. Covid Ward – no accomplices, you are on your own, and things could go to any extent. Occupying a bed in the covid section of this corporate hospital, I try to fathom reality. It is actually like a ton of bricks falling on you when you realise that you are vulnerable to any extent. The medication starts, but you are irritated beyond reason for minor delays. Two questions haunting you repeatedly – Why me? and Who was it ?
That Hospital bed, open the curtains for I need a constant view of the window opening out to life outside – the Metro train buzzing every few minutes. Knowing that this could be it, I draw a balance sheet of life. Wishlist – incomplete tasks, very few good deeds done, regrets and thanksgiving for all that the Almighty bestowed. End of that day – Reports are not encouraging – lungs are impacted, as bilateral pneumonia has set in. But for the hospital, I would have been in a worse shape. It is the moment when you just let the forces take their own course. I get pumped with a cocktail of drugs over the next ten days. Every few minutes, they are either changing the drip or injecting my stomach. I am told all kinds of names – anti-coagulants, insulin, antibiotics, and what-all. It is Tests, more Tests, X-Rays, CTs, drips and the cycle continues.
The bigger issue is the lack of communication. You are too weak to talk, you can’t use the phone, an occasional text message is all you can manage. And, you are worried more for your family and what they must be going through. A random thought that I might not make it, prompts me to send out a message to my contacts that I am down.
Five days into the Hospital and the doctor reassures me that I am responding to the drugs. In other words – ‘you will make it’. The first piece of good news you hear in a week. Another five days, more drugs, more tests and gradual improvements.
The ride back from the Hospital to Home is a delight. Complete recuperation is a long way ahead and is going to take its time, but one is thankful to the Almighty and all well-wishers for having made it back. The only message that comes to mind – ‘Don’t take it lightly’ – seek medical intervention at the first symptom.