This post was first published here on Geethism and is republished with the kind permission of Geetha and her family.
Well, where do I begin, right at the beginning is a good place to start as any I guess. My health journey, when you hear the saying “health is wealth” it is not a cliché, believe me. My battle with my health started when I was 12 years old, 6thgrade, I had a very bad case of jaundice, for 3 months and a relapse for another 3 months, I did not go to school for 6 months. It felt strange to go to school for last 3 months of the academic year, how I passed that year is anyone’s guess.
Next episode was when I was 24 my first born was just 3 months old when I was diagnosed with cancer, surgery and therapy followed. I could not hold my new born for months, major torture. It was all downhill from then on as far as my health was concerned. I have had kidney stones, 2 slip discs, ankle fracture, appendicitis, severe case of typhoid ( first knock ) and hysterectomy over the last 20 years. There was only 1 year in between where I wasn’t in hospital and my insurance gave me a bonus!! That felt like a huge achievement to me, until the following year.. 2020… a hell of a year for anyone all over the globe. I was tested positive for Covid 19…
I have been home for 2 weeks and only now am I able to look back and write about my experience. Why me??? I stopped asking that question long back. I accept there are things not in my control and thanks to the past year of my counselling course I learnt a lot about myself. I am served a few issues on my plate, it is up to me how I deal with it. What is served is not under my control, just how I deal with it, that I can control! So I do the best I can, I deal with it. End of the day that is all we CAN do!
Of all the health issues I have been through, up until now the toughest was being away from my child of 2 years for the second time. After a year after my cancer surgery we shifted to London, there the doctors said the therapy I went through in India wasn’t enough to eradicate all the malignant cells, so I had to go through therapy again. Since my son was young, my husband stayed at home with him, while I took a cab and checked into the hospital, with a suitcase, alone, like I was going on a holiday. For a week I was in isolation, no one came into my room, I was nauseated, exhausted and depressed but I got over it.
2020 is the cherry on the cake!! This one is a killer, unkown, deadly. My son and husband returned from London on the last flight before the lock down. I thanked my lucky stars that at least all of us are home. We took all the precautions. They each quarantined, themselves in separate rooms. I did not let anyone enter their rooms. Only me and one of my help served food with mask and gloved hands, washed and kept the dishes separate. 2 days after their arrival, my husband had fever, the second day I drove him to do the testing because we didn’t want to take any chances. I got a call a day later, in the evening from a bbmp officer saying his result was positive. That same day I had developed fever, they sent an ambulance and I told the officer, I have symptoms as well and that I was going along with him to the hospital. I was afraid for my kids. It was just one man help who was there living with us. So I thought kids were taken care of. As I was walking out the door my boys were in shock to see both their parents going to hospital in an ambulance for the virus that is rocking the world. My poor babies. The ripple effect started.
Before I go through my experience I will just tell you the sequence of events. My husband and I went to the hospital on a Saturday, my helpfell ill with fever on Sunday. With the help of my sisters they arranged for him to go to the hospital on Monday. My kids were alone at home with 2 dogs to feed and take care of themselves. They managed, good kids that they are somehow figured out and took care. Then the new rule was enforced. The kids had to be tested too and they have to stay in hospital until the results came. I was in no state to coordinate anything, my sisters and friends stepped in again and arranged for my dogs to be taken care of. Both my boys came to hospital and were kept in separate rooms. This was Wednesday.
From the day I went to the hospital I had high fever, 103. Even with IV paracetamol and all the other drugs they were giving me it never came below 101 for 10 days. The first few days were hell. I was almost in coma, I had no energy, could hardly open my eyes, could hardly sit or eat anything. I was constantly cold with the fever(knock) I was being poked every morning and evening for blood tests, by the end of which I felt like a drug addict my arms and veins were fully bruised. Due to the amount of medicines I was taking or the classic covid symtoms, I started having diarrhea on the 5thday, I was so tired to even get up. All my levels dropped due to my previous illnesses. Potassium, calcium and magnesium were astonishingly low. They had to constantly pump me with the supplement intravenously. But this could not be done through the veins in the hand as these supplements needed bigger veins to go through. So they had to put a cannula in my neck. I have had 2 natural deliveries but believe me this was more painful than either. 2 people had to hold me down to insert this huge needle in my neck. No painkiller or numbing injections. Remember high fever, diarrhea, no energy. One holding my head, the other my shoulder. I screamed! That was the worst day of my 14 days ( knock)
From then on, I could hardly move as they were constantly giving me supplements to bring my levels to normal. I could not move my head, it was stiff cause there was a needle on one side, I had to sleep straight in the hospital bed which is worse than the floor. I started having stiff neck, bed sores and shoulder pain. This was the day I had a strange experience, I actually felt a black cloud hovering over my head engulfing me and I couldn’t breathe. My husband would call me every few hours cause obviously he was freaking out I could hardly open my eyes but I did answer his call and he would keep telling me to fight it. I did not speak to anyone for the 10 days. My cough started on 8thday. Nonstop cough where I could not even stop to take a breath. This is when they almost moved me to ICU ( knock) I could see the fear in Doctor’s eyes. The doctor was really good to me, she stayed that night in the hospital to monitor me to shift if necessary. Medications were changed and I felt slightly better. Maybe the worst was over.
On the 11thday my fever started improving. And on 12thday I was rid of fever. My levels finally improved. And I told the doctor that the virus had left me. I could just feel it. I was still not able to take a deep breath but I knew I was better. Throughout the nurses and doctor were in protective gear, I could not see their faces, I still don’t know what they look like, I am hoping to go back to the hospital when this is over and meet them and thank them for taking care of me and my family at a great personal risk. There were times when I just didn’t have the will power to push through, the pain and constant torture over the years and probably the fever felt like enough is enough….I had lost track of time and days at one point, to this day I don’t remember, I just remember feeling am I going to wake up from this?
With all the things I was going through, my kids results came. Older one was positive and younger one negative. They had been there for 3 days. The decision was what to do? Do we send him home, alone, no one at home or request hospital to keep him for a few more days?? My son decided he wants to go home and he was confident to manage. He is 15. He was home alone for 5 days. Food was delivered outside the gate from my mom, sister and friend. He managed to handle himself, clean the dishes and stay in the house by himself very bravely.
The rule is you need 2 negative results to go home. My husband, son and myself had given tests on same day, but my result came quicker. My first negative came on Thursday and my second negative came on Friday. Exactly 2 weeks after I went to hospital I was allowed to leave. Both my husband and son came positive.
I came home but still maintained my distance from my younger son. Didn’t want to take any chances. It was another week before my son and husband came home. They both had no symptoms while in the hospital but they were positive. The results would take forever, 3 to 4 days to come. Though they say testing is 6 hours. The day they came home I gave them a hug and it was a first time I touched another human being in 3 weeks. They both were absolutely fine but in a small room, at the hospital, no one came into their room cause they didn’t need any treatment. No sunshine, or light. My husband who is a workaholic and never stays in one place and is also claustrophobic stayed for 21 days in that small room. My 20 year old son for 2 weeks. It is a mental trauma more than anything else. But both are strong individuals and they managed.
I am just grateful for the small mercies, definitely no why me? Just glad that we are all home finally and over this traumatic experience. Or so I thought. I never anticipated the social stigma this caused due to a few experiences which I won’t go into details. Ican totally understand how the untouchable castes felt when they were treated like this. Though I am in the clear I haven’t stepped out of my home.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I always make light of things and never have I described in detail about my personal experiences, but I felt this was different, I had to make a record of this so people who are going through the suffering have hope that they can come out of it or others who take things lightly need to know the depth of this illness and take precautions.
The things that helped me during this crisis or any other was my yoga, meditation and pranayama. The minute my cough reduced, I was doing pranayama as much as I could. I personally feel this stopped the infection going to my lungs.
A sincere thanks to all the individuals who are on the frontline helping and to all the people who are suffering from this very clever virus, we can beat it. If I can come out of this I believe anyone can.
My Covid- 19 symptoms in sequence for the record:
-Loss of taste & smell
– severe headache
– eye soreness, could not open my eyes
– high fever
– irregular heartbeat