If I had to sum up my experience of going through COVID-19, it will be “Heartbreaking”.
Few months back, when we (India) survived the first wave of COVID-19 (atleast that’s what we thought), and then became the first country to produce COVID-19 vaccines, everything started coming back to normal. People were travelling, parties were being thrown, weddings taking place all over the country, cafes witnessing the same crowd and gyms running at full capacity. I, did everything that I just listed above, thinking that because I am young and I am conscious about my health, COVID-19 would not be targeting me. I even went to the extent of thinking that I must had asymptomatic version of it during the first wave and because my immune system is rock-star, COVID-19 couldn’t impact me.
I was wrong!
India slacked off November onward and so did I. The second wave hit us like a bus. As I write this, we are still struggling everyday to come out of this second wave. So, on 22 April, 2021, I tested positive for COVID-19 and this is my experience fighting it!
Contracting the COVID-19 virus & symptoms
Before 19th April, 2021 I started experiencing fatigue during the work-days. I did not gave so much attention to it as this is something I tend to have every 3 months. I kinda overwork. Everyday I woke up for work, I felt the urge to just sleep and take the day off. But I just pulled myself up. I rarely take days off. This went on for a couple of days and then one fine night, I experienced the worst episode of shivering. I was sleeping and suddenly I woke up. The issue was I just couldn’t move myself. My mind wanted to pull the blanket up but my hands weren’t coordinating. Everything pained like hell. My mind screamed for help. My mind announced to my body – Boss, you are fucked up!
Thankfully, my younger brother was sleeping next to me. I cried for help and he covered me in the blanket. For the next 10 minutes all I was trying to obey my mind. My mind instructed me to move my legs, hands, get up and drink water but I just couldn’t do it. Eventually, I slept.
In the following days I got my RT-PCR test done. Waited for the results for 12-24 hours. Before results came out, my I started experiencing a sore throat and within 6 hours, excruciating pain in my throat. I couldn’t eat anything, speak, or even drink any fluids. The test results came out on 22 April, 2021 and I tested positive.
I will never forget the moment I read the RT-PCR report where my CT score as 24. My mom went into complete denial and did the only thing that you should not do around a COVID positive person – touch me. My mom outright denied that it is not possible that I contracted COVID and I’d have to be self-isolated for the next 14 days.
From the next day, everything I touched was sanitised, twice. The utensils were separated. I was under a house-arrest. A sense of paranoia started creeping in. The news was filled with the reports on how dangerous the second wave is, and hence one thing that kept going through my mind was – how dangerous I am for my family.
Staying inside for 22 hours out of the 24 hours drove me crazy. There is a limit a person can work, stream Netflix, watch YouTube and read. Once you are pass that limit, its just you and your thoughts. With every passing day I became even more paranoid and I could sense it. I stayed away from my parents and saw myself as a threat to them at all times.
Meanwhile, the impact of the second wave started getting published all over the news and it was – scary. People were dying, not because of COVID-19, but because of not getting basic treatment for the same – oxygen, medication, ICU, or ventilators. YouTube, national news and the international news ran front-page headlines on how the healthcare system in India collapsed. With every video I watched, I just got more worried and concerned for the people around me.
Passing on the virus
Soon after I tested positive, my dad started having uncontrollable cough. He took it as a common cough and got generic medication for it. The medication showed no signs of improvement and hence, after a good dose of scolding from my aunt on the account of my negligence in terms of my dad’s health, I got him tested for COVID-19 as well.
He tested positive. The results came out at 8:00 PM. CT score = 17.
Because I have been constantly following the news, I remember watching videos on YouTube where people were dying left, right and centre. The crematoriums were over-flowing. Pyres were discovered on the footpaths. This is no exaggeration, if truth be told, what you are currently reading is a under-reporting of how bad things were. As soon as the results came in, my head started spiralling into a vicious circle of negative thoughts. This had to happen because two of my school friends lost there dads withing a time-frame of 14 days a couple of weeks back due to COVID. I was not able to process that until then, and then my dad tested positive. To be honest, I am not able to process and accept it until today.
Post 8:00 PM, I started calling my friends to:
- Inform about the results
- Getting them to start looking for oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, and the Remdesivir injection
I told my uncle about it and he told me that dad would have to be hospitalised. The thing is, my dad has never been to hospital ever and with the current environment, when people are gasping for breath, I was worried if my dad would be able to take all of that. My uncle eventually asked me to get a HR-CT Chest scan and few blood tests the following day. The reports would decide the final call on whether or not he’ll be hospitalised.
At this point, I was already positive and got my dad too. The only members not positive were my mother and my younger brother. I was already stressed that even if my dad got hospitalised, I wont be able to do anything as I’ll be in self-isolation. One thing led to another and I found myself checking my bank account (in case he is hospitalised). The shit got too real, too soon.
I couldn’t sleep the entire night, and so my mother. We prayed. We were looking forward to get the HR-CT chest scan and the final call. The next day, we got the scan done and with a score of 6/25, we were in the safe zone. The virus mildly infected the lungs. There was no need for any kind of hospitalisation.
My dad got his first vaccine shot before he contracted the virus and that is probably one of the major reasons the virus showed mercy. So, anyone who is reading this and hasn’t got vaccinated – get it.
Home isolation for Dad
Withing 5 days, 2 of the 4 members went into isolation. The good thing about that was that I recovered pretty quickly and my CT score of the RT-PCR was 24 (mild). So, I took the responsibility of all dad’s medication, morning-evening walks, breathing exercises, getting him practice the proning position, and monitoring:
- Blood glucose (he is diabetic)
- Blood pressure (BP)
I had to create a daily chart for both his medications and monitoring his vitals.
We followed everything that needs to be followed for home isolation for me and dad. But still the tracking vitals was a intense experience, to say the least. Every time the SpO2 level dropped below 93, my heart skipped a beat. Every time the blood glucose shot up, my heart skipped a beat.
But my dad understood, for the first time, but he did.
Friends helped me a lot. From moral support to actually helping me medicines (as markets are running short on the medications), I would be always thankful to them for this.
Passing on the virus, again.
My younger brother has been in and out of hospitals, going out to get the medicines and helping other family members too in these desperate times. Sharing the room with me got him infected too, just that the symptoms were visible a bit late. He started having fever and cough, cold. So not wasting any time further, I got him and my mother tested for COVID-19 as well.
- My younger brother: 25
- My mother: 17
So, our entire family contracted the virus.
My Sister, Our Doctor
During this time, getting access to a doctor became a luxury. We are blessed to have my sister as our on-call doctor. From showing medical reports, getting prescriptions, and asking mundane questions about the medications and tests, she was there throughout and we couldn’t have voyaged through these difficult times without her. She was always on call and cleared every doubt on WhatsApp, while doing her COVID duty.
My dad thanks for her presence to me at-least once a day and appreciates her being there for the family.
Becoming plasma donors
The following days were a bit stressed but with a silver lining. My mother had asymptomatic COVID-19 and hence we got through this, together.
I did learn a lot of life lessons fighting COVID-19 along with my family, which I will definitely cover in the upcoming posts. But I thank god that we were able to live through COVID without any major casualty, when the world is falling apart, as I write this.
All four of us are now plasma donors and will donate once we are eligible to save lives. We were fortunate enough, blessed enough to get through this but there are people calling out, screaming, begging for help out there.
If you have any questions or going through the same, please feel to reach out: