“I was facing extreme difficulty in breathing. Every little body movement came with excruciating pain. I lay awake all night in the Covid ICU ward, less than 10 days after first showing symptoms, gasping for breath. This was coupled with fear for my family’s health and a constant worry about how they would live if something happened to me. Next morning, the first thing I did was share all my financial details with my wife. My instincts made me question the superior being, ‘Why God!? Why me?’ That’s when I heard a voice in my head say, ‘Fool! You didn’t ask “why me” when you made it to the best colleges, found a beautiful life partner or had a lovely daughter. Why today? Get up and fight!’ That’s when I felt my body shiver as though a heavy bull got off my back and galloped away. Almost immediately, I felt better.
It all started with a small fever. As a nephrologist, I was seeing patients even through the lockdown, only to find out that 9 out of my 35 patients tested positive for Covid-19. Unsuspectingly, I was exposed to the virus at close quarters not once, but from 9 different sources.
On 20th June, I felt a mild fever. By the 22nd, all the symptoms were showing- high fever, diarrhea, loss of smell and taste etc. I realised it was the virus, immediately quarantined myself in a room and started medication. I was keeping tabs on my oxygen levels as well. A week later, my symptoms hadn’t improved, rather my chest had begun to ache. Within hours, everything changed. I started feeling breathless, the oxygen levels dropped and my condition began to deteriorate. I was rushed to the hospital immediately. I knew, as a doctor, that things looked bad. But I did not know that the worst was yet to come.
My oxygen levels kept getting worse, but I began to recuperate and managed without a ventilator. I was extremely uncomfortable, however and lacked hope. It was the following day that I experienced the ‘delirious’ vision of the bull. As a doctor, I had heard about such experiences from my patients, but never once believed them. I found it unscientific. However, on the other side of the table, things were different. That day onwards, I kept getting better. I kept thinking this was the dark before the dawn. I was hopeful again! By the 2nd of July, I was much better.
That evening, however, on a video-call with my wife, I found out that she was in the Covid ICU ward herself. The dawn seemed distant. She had tested positive, but made up her mind to return home healthy and happy, together. I was concerned about our young daughter who was left alone at home, but our househelp had agreed to stay home with her. The two of us started getting better and a couple of days later, we were moved to a two-bed room.
The dawn finally seemed to arrive. Just when things began to look better, we got a call from home that our househelp had high fever and cough. Soon, she tested positive too. Our worries didn’t seem to end. We had her isolated in one room and put on medication, while my wife and I managed to go back home to self quarantine. Our worries had peaked. Three patients in one house and a young child! As all of us gradually kept getting better, my daughter’s board results were announced! Her performance was unparalleled, with cent percent in 6 subjects! It almost felt like the first ray of sunlight over the horizon. This was followed by my wife clearing the internal auditor exam with flying colors and one of my papers being selected for publication in one of the biggest nephrology journals. That was our dawn, our silver lining. Today, we’re doing much better.
Three patients in the family, we made it. From cov-ictim to cov-ictor!”
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