My father’s proactive measures and my mother’s mutual cooperation is helping my family battle COVID-19 to come out victorious. Here’s a survival story that will give some practical insights on how to deal with Coronavirus and why you must not panic due to Coronavirus!
Today, 2nd June 2020
Yesterday morning I woke up to 2020’s biggest fear – one of my family members being tested positive for COVID-19 and my inability to be with them due to the lockdown. I received a call at 9 AM and my mom explained that she has tested positive for COVID-19 and there’s a team of 6 odd people who’ve entered my parent’s apartment in the city of Indore, and they’re sanitizing every corner for the possibility of contamination.
And it begins…
The journey started almost 2 weeks back when Anupama Changle, my mother complained of extreme body-ache and high fever (101.2F) on 21st May. She had been showing these symptoms but her throat was completely fine. My mother proactively discussed being home-quarantined unless proved otherwise and my father, being a risk manager with SBI before retirement, instantly agreed. She was left in their room with an attached toilet and proper ventilation while my dad moved out to another room. Sohan Changle, my father has been managing the home, from getting groceries, to cleaning, to preparing food for my mother, 21st May on wards. He made sure she doesn’t have to step out for anything. She hasn’t moved out of the room since then except for four separate occasions.
Her symptoms were the same on May 22nd too.
On 23rd May, she reached out to our family doctor who prescribed her general antibiotics and multivitamins via Whatsapp since most of the clinics in our area are closed due to the lock down. She was also recommended to get tested for Malaria, Typhoid and Dengue and that’s exactly when she stepped out for the first time to go to the lab and submit the blood sample. But due to the weekend, labs also denied tests and asked to revisit on Monday i.e. 25th May.
On 24th May the situation didn’t improve and she continued to experience body-ache but milder fever. She also developed a sore throat for the first time around this time and had extreme difficulty swallowing food.
On 25th May she stepped out for the second time for the prescribed blood test but didn’t get the result on the same day due to less staff at the lab on account of Eid-ul-fitr.
On 26th May her throat got better with no fever, and no ache. Her blood test report came in and looked completely fine. She had tested negative for typhoid, dengue and malaria. The doctor also had a look at the report via Whatsapp and said she was fit and fine.
On 27th May she decided to step out and take over the household chores as she was already feeling normal and active now. Also, being quarantined in the room for almost a week had a negative impact on her mental health. She felt isolated, cloistered and demotivated.
But my dad insisted her to stay inside and keep no contact with the outside world. This resulted in a huge disagreement between them and further left her with negative feelings. This is when she decided to engage in some activity every day inside the room to stay motivated and happy. This continued on May 28th as well.
On May 29th she learned that Nagar Palika and Government teams had come to our township for collecting 100 random samples and testing for COVID-19 in our apartment complex. She thought this was an opportunity to prove it to everyone that she is fit and her infection was not a case of COVID-19 but maybe common seasonal Flu. She stepped out of the home on this day for the third time and waited in the queue in scorching sunlight for 4 hours before submitting her sample.
She kept waiting on 3oth and 31st May but had no idea about what happened with the test! She called back the authorities but they said many teams were deployed to work on this project and this team has no idea about what would have been the result. But they told her that if she was positive she would know within 3 days. Otherwise, there will be no communication from their side whatsoever.
On the morning of 1st June, she was 100% convinced that she is COVID-19 negative and stepped out of the room to go to the kitchen. She was busy preparing her morning tea when she received a phone call from the local police about her being COVID-19 positive and a team force reaching our home as soon as possible to help her in the current situation. She immediately moved inside her room and couldn’t believe what she had learnt on the phone call for some time.
She called us up and explained the situation. My brother works in Bangalore and I live in New Delhi with my in-laws. We panicked as we thought now she would be taken away to be kept in a government quarantine facility. As she was already on her mode to recovery what worried us more was the fact that my father and my cousin who’s staying with my family since the lockdown might also be infected.
But much to our surprise, the team disinfected every corner of our home and suggested her to stay quarantined in the room for 15 more days. They also prescribed her medicines like Hydrocholoquine and multivitamins. They gave her some pieces of equipment like pulse rate monitor and asked her to furnish some details about her health on an app called Indore 311. She has been assigned a doctor who video calls her at least 4 times a day to monitor her progress. Also, she receives multiple calls from Ayushman Bharat who’ve become her everyday therapists and are supporting her like an infant. She would be tested on June 15 for the second time and only after two consecutive negative tests would be declared COVID-19 free.
Her advice to people:
- Don’t walk out of the home unless absolutely essential. She most probably contracted the virus when she moved out to get vegetables. She had walked out only till the main gate. She has been washing hands with soap and using the mask. She hasn’t moved out of the colony in months and neither has someone entered our home post lockdown 1.0 started. Apart from her, only one more person tested COVID-19 positive in our colony who works as a sweeper. She cleans the staircase and common areas of the building. She comes from an adjacent sub-urban colony.
- Aarogya Setu App is really good. You must download it now.
- Be positive. Every day she engages in something creative to stay positive while being in one room. Throughout the blog I have shared her pictures. She keeps saying that you can confine a human to a room but you can’t confine the human spirit. Get it?
Her blood test was very positive and promising. She has such good immunity that doctor had ruled out COVID-19 when her first blood test report came in! We may have to live with this virus for an year or more so the best way is to prepare our bodies to put up the fight no matter the age group you fall into.
How has she boosted her immunity?
- She has been drinking the traditional Kadha for months now. She drinks it every day. She adds laung, kali mirch, daal cheeni, methi daana, adrak, saunth, tej patta and tulsi to make the traditional kadha.
- She has been very active despite her age. She is a regular when it comes to yoga (surya namaskar and pranayam), cardio and dancing.
- She drinks green tea, amla powder in water, and turmeric milk on a daily basis.
Some more learnings from our first-hand experience with the COVID-19 monster:
- Many people stop showing symptoms but continue to be COVID-19 positive and put other people at risk. Minimize human contact as much as possible to safeguard yourself.
- Quarantine yourself proactively if you feel even a bit unwell to protect others.
- Not enough testing is being done in India due to limited supply of COVID-19 test kits. So the numbers that you see on the internet are just the reported cases. There are many who go unreported if the infection is mild. You’re allowed to get tested only if you face breathing difficulties so it’s almost impossible for people with milder infections to be sure of their infection.
- Last but not the least, not everyone will face breathing difficulties, so the best way is to quarantine oneself proactively if you feel even a bit sick. My father always said that’s the only way to minimize the risk and that’s what worked for us and many others who could have been infected due to my mother.
Jun 2 onwards
Our messages and phone calls were flooded with people genuinely wishing her well and lauding her spirit. Not just our relatives and friends but also residents of my township, Shalimar Palms, have been extremely supportive as if they were our own family. People offered everything from khichdi to groceries knowing that my family members can’t step out of the home. They also know that we can’t visit her due to government protocols. I love Indore for the fact that the warmth that towns have can never be felt in the metropolitan cities.
My dad has been her biggest support during these difficult times. As a hero, he has taken over everything to make sure that my mom feels well. Meanwhile, my mom is also engaging in everything productive and creative to stay fit not only physically, but also mentally.
Last two weeks have been hard for us but we’re all sailing in this bumpy journey with loads of courage and hope. I can’t wait for her to be COVID-19 negative and fly down to Indore to see her. I love you, Maa. I love you, dad. I love you bro, Swapnil.