Covid-19 has hit mankind in the worst possible manner; it has left human beings bereft of hope, faith and peace.
This disease has wrecked havoc in the daily lives of people from the time WHO declared it as the worst pandemic after the Spanish Flu that hit mankind in 1918, killing at least 500 million people.
When such an adversity hits you, it tears you apart from everything but what it fails to tear away, is the bond between the family that only gets strengthened over the period of time!
However when something that’s being dreaded by the entire world affects your own home, all your theories related to it become futile and meaningless!
The evening of 29th May is still etched fresh in my memory; my husband came back from work feeling a tad too tired. He didn’t seem to be his usual self and that resulted in an uncanny silence in the home. The next morning when he woke up with mild fever, my heart sank. Was it something that we all had been dreading until then? Was it the deadly virus that had creeped into the safety of my home? Was this at all real?
For quite sometime we both couldn’t see eye to eye because we knew we would break down. We mustered some courage and spoke to our family physician who calmly advised us to undergo the test. We followed her instructions.
What followed next was a restless wait for almost over 24 hours. And finally when the reports arrived, it was anything but pleasant!
“Covid-19: DETECTED” stared at us! The soil beneath my feet began to crash into an abysmal depth. Now what? Is he going to meet the same fate as being highlighted in all mediums of communication? Is he going to be taken away from the care and safety of his family? Is the society going to “ostracize” us? The questions that clouded my mind for quite sometime did not feature “will he be fine”.
This is exactly what happens when you are struck by a monstrous misfortune. You feel numb as this was something you had probably never imagined or prayed for. No one actually does. Isn’t it?
I could feel insanity taking over my senses; normality was fast fading away and future seemed nothing but dark, uncertain and complex. However the moment I laid my eyes on my husband I could sense his guilt overpowering his despair and concern. This is another thing that most Covid-19 patients undergo. The burden of culpability takes over them leaving them bereft of hope and aspiration to live. It is again none but the people around them who needs to be held accountable for this.
With all the tormenting thoughts in our mind we went ahead with the rest of the protocols as laid by the state government and medical practitioners. Our complex authorities were informed, and there lay the greatest fear-what if they wanted us to be taken away to a care center or worse, what if he alone would have to be sent there?
To our biggest surprise the empathy and cooperation shown by the complex authorities helped us overcome the first battle-the stigma of being ostracized! No, neither were we going anywhere nor was he being taken anywhere. Except that he would undergo some basic medical examinations to understand the intensity of the infection. Thankfully it was all under control. There again we won the second battle-the disease had not reached a life threatening situation, just as how it is often portrayed in newspapers or news channels!
Having been through the worst, I wish there was some responsible journalism that one could read or see! As they say, half of your ailments are cured when there is a ray of hope showered upon you. And pro activity is something that helps in this particular ailment. It is highly advisable to seek medical guidance the moment one finds any of the symptoms underlined by WHO.
The next stage included him to be self isolated completely from the rest of the family. Fortunately being endowed with certain privileges, we are blessed with amenities that are still a luxury for many!
We read everyday how a Covid-19 patient and those who have been in close contact with him/her is being shunned by the society. They eventually land up in overburdened hospitals or unclean care centers. Not that they are in such a state deliberately, however because of the increasing number of cases every day, the health care department is unable to meet the demand and supply ratio.
On one hand there was a small speck of relief that he would be kept at home, on the other a big cloud of apprehension was killing us from within when we were informed, being his close contacts we too had to get tested for the disease. It wasn’t something that I did not see coming but somehow it seemed like another unnecessary burden that was being superimposed on my mind.
Finally the day arrived (exactly 3 days from when he was tested positive). We all were escorted (by uniformed individuals from Chennai Corporation) to the government testing centre. It was obvious for my anxiety levels to shoot up because all I knew was, my family comprised of two members – one well above 60 and the other below 10! And the last thing I wanted was any more “positives”! As they rightly say these days, “negative is the new positive”!
This time the wait for the reports seemed way longer than the first one. One day passed, two days passed, there was still no news from the corporation. On the third day, my husband who himself was battling it out there, mustered his courage to call them. Their response, “Had you been positive, one of us would have reached for further procedures” was the best statement that we had come across after days! There was another ray of hope that we could cling on to! However, pragmatically we wanted a concrete evidence to put all our worries (if not all but at least some of it) to rest. On the fourth day, an uniformed official stood at our door with the reports that read “Covid-19: NOT DETECTED”; this broke the dam of tears that had pent up for long now. Breaking down seemed the only sane thing to do and so did we relent!
This was the fourth important battle that we had won. Having learnt that none of us were potential risk factors to self and each other we could now focus all our attention to the one who needed it the most then-my husband. That day my faith in the bond that a husband and wife share was reinstated. Someone has aptly said, “there isn’t anything known as a strong marriage, it is about two strong individuals standing up for one another when faced with the worst possible threat”.
That day onwards I could see a sea change in my husband’s health conditions-both physiologically and psychologically! The pall of uncanny silence and a brooding uncertainty that dominated the house was finally lifted. The road to recovery and well being wasn’t too far then!
As my better half completes his final day of home quarantine and self isolation, all I know is, it is my undying, relentless faith that has kept us afloat. The constant reminder to self that it is not as bad as it is projected or imagined to be helped me maintain my sanity. There were moments when I would silently break down only to stand up again and give a tough fight to the misfortune that had befallen on my family. In spite of the tumultuous crests and troughs of emotions I did not allow that to leave an impact on my daily activities. I indulged in pursuing my passion of writing, gardening and cooking. Being a parent to a 6 year old I couldn’t have let all this affect her sanity. I spent more time with her, explained as to what kept her away from her father. My calm demeanor was based on a strong foundation of hope and belief.
The biggest lesson that I learnt through this excruciating experience is that pessimism pulls you down while optimism keeps you afloat!
My personal account of experiencing SARS II Covid-19 can be rightly summarized in the words of renowned Jamaican lyricist and singer, Bob Marley, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice!”