“Before the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy, I was there for a work trip to attend a Leather Fair in Milan – one of the biggest international leather exhibitions. I was there for four days till February 20th and later went to Budapest, before returning to Delhi on 25th. Around the same time, my friend sent me a report about the increasing positive cases in Italy. I thought there was nothing to worry about. Once I was back, I had mild fever. When I saw a doctor the next day, I was asked to take a few tablets and be back if fever continued. In a couple of days, I also threw a party for my son’s birthday in a plush hotel in Delhi for 11 people. Post all the fun, I realised that my fever was still there. That’s when I decided to get tested for Covid-19. I gave the tests at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Delhi and waited for 48 hours for the reports.One has to fill the form, mention symptoms, travel history to any covid-19 affected nations, before the test. I stayed back at the hospital that night. Next evening, on 1st March 2020, they shifted me to Safdarjung Hospital’s Isolation Ward, as soon as my reports came positive. I was the first person in Delhi to be tested positive.
What’s notable is that the doctors were sensitive and didn’t inform me immediately considering the psychological effect it would have. While I was still on my way, a team of healthcare professionals were at my home taking samples of my family members and advising them to isolate. I came to know about it only the next day, when a visiting doctor assured methat I would recover soon. Fortunately, none of my family members, guests at the party or colleagues at work tested positive.
I continued to stay at the hospital for the next 14 days. Every morning, I would have my vitals checked, breakfast at 8 along with prescribed medication. I was allowed to spend my time doing yoga and reading books. I would video call my family and friends. My daughter would kiss me on the forehead in the video chat and say, ‘Papa, come back soon’. It would make me very emotional. But it’s also that support from family, which helped me stay strong. More than anything, there’s a lot of panic among people on social media. You do get worried because you’re not sure what your recovery process is going to be like. But the hospital staff was extremely caring. I have immense respect for the doctors, nurses and housekeeping staff. They put their lives at risk for us. The house keeping staff used to clean my room twice a day. The doctors and nurses would visit me 6 times daily. On Holi, I also received a call from Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Health, who inquired about my well being and promised me of everything until I recovered. That was extremely assuring, giving me hope. I was tested twice again and both the times, the reports showed negative. I was finally discharged on 14th March 2020 and was advised home isolation for the next 14 days by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare.
After experiencing it all so closely, I want to request people to be cautious. Doctors, nurses, healthcare officials and the government are working for us. If we don’t cooperate, nothing can be done. We should act responsibly and stay hopeful in these critical times. There’s no need to be stigmatized if we follow all the government orders. Let’s maintain social distancing. We’ll fight this together by staying away!”
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