“Having grown up in Durgapur, West Bengal, I had a very grounded childhood. Almost all of my extended family was in the medical field, and urged me to choose a field dedicated to healthcare and compassion. Money was never the driving force for any of them, and it isn’t for me either. It was a very wholesome experience to grow up surrounded by gardens, nature and trees; in fact, all our vegetables came from our very own backyard. The thought of growing up playing with gadgets is unimaginable to me! What I think the city truly gave me was being down to earth, kind and caring about people.
For my Physiotherapy course, I moved to Calcutta, a city so big and bustling, it made it really challenging for me to fit in. I realized I had to evolve with the pace of the city, to learn to take care of myself as a single girl away from her family for the first time. Following this, I moved to London for my specialization. The moment I landed, I called my parents and told them I wanted to come back to India. I was terrified, but my father convinced me to give it a try; he did not bring me up to run away in the face of adversity. There were days I was snowed in with no food in the house, but it only taught me new lessons about life. Getting accustomed to living in a different country was hard, but it really made me grow as a person.
In January, China was the only country that was actively reporting COVID-19. Having a lot of patients flying in from the USA, I had my guard up. However, at the time, we were not sure about what the virus was, or what it’s implications were. I went in to work wearing protective gear and a mask, but it was not received well by several patients. There were times I would get yelled at for insisting on wearing masks, but I was being very cautious, and rightfully so. We were always in PPE kits, not allowed to drink water, use the restroom or attend to phone calls due to risk of contamination.
At some point in February, I had my first patient showing signs of Coronavirus. Thankfully, we had conversed over the phone, and my intuition served me well. Starting from there, I started getting several calls from patients showing strange symptoms. At the time, we didn’t have proper medication for treatment, so all I could tell them to do was to isolate themselves and their families. So at that moment, I think I had safeguarded a lot of my patients and a lot of doctors in the clinic from getting this bug by taking the decision of preventing that one patient from coming in.
Being a healthcare worker, I’ve dealt with a lot of negative responses from the people around me. It felt like a war zone- my neighbours seemed to see me as a walking virus. I was harassed, embarrassed and abused. Fearing the virus is one thing, but taking it out on the workers on the frontline seems cruel. I ended up practically living out of my car for two months. I know several doctors, including myself, that have had to sacrifice their time working to protect the elderly in their homes.
The world needs to hear the voices of the elderly. There is so much mental and emotional trauma that they are dealing with- the inability to leave the house for groceries or medicines definitely takes a toll on them. To manage taking care of my elderly parents, we began an online consultation program called Telehealth. I’ve also been helping COVID-19 patients through teleconsultation, and it’s all free of cost. We are also assisting them with breathing protocols and counselling them to be able to return to their normal lives.
This is when we need to hold each other up; I am ever so grateful for the few good souls who have been helping us through these trying times. I want 2020 to be solely dedicated to the people that are more vulnerable to the disease, and for the rest of us to be selfless and follow the safety guidelines. As humans, our calling should be to stand together for the country and the world. Let us come together and fight this, so we can come out of this as winners.”
#frontliners #COVID19 #Doctors #HealthCare #CoronavirusPandemic #Sacrifice #Resilience #Physiotheraphy #StaySafe #Compassion #Empathy #Society #Responsibility #Telehealth #HealthcareWorkers #Inspire #Motivation #Hyderabad #HumansofHyderabad