When I first began experiencing tremendous fatigue and headache, it didn't dawn upon me that I had come down with COVID-19. I dismissed it as an aftereffect of my previous day's cleaning spree. It was when my temperature rose to 99°C, that I turned into a bundle of nerves. The back pain was so bad that it was impossible to 'sleep on' it. By the time I rushed to the doctor, my temperature was 100.8°C. Skeptical, the doctor asked me to rest for the next 3 days and keep an eye open for symptoms, just in case.
I wobbled back home and slipped under my bedding, a blanket wasn't enough for my cold chills. When I woke up at night after around 12 hours of sleep, the pain had subsided, so did the fever. Nevertheless, I decided to act like a responsible citizen and get myself tested.
It was around 9:30 am on March 28 when I got a call from the BMC. “You have tested positive,” said a voice from the other side. Collecting my calm, I chose to quarantine myself at home, since, being a bachelorette, living all alone in my apartment, there was no risk of me infecting anyone else. I decided against sharing the news with my family to avoid feeling the weight of their fears.
However, I was worried about how my housing society will react. Didn't want to hush it up either. So, when I called up my society secretary and informed him about me, I was relieved to find him supportive. "Let me know if you want anything anytime. Don't hesitate," he said.
But what happened next warmed my heart. Two complete strangers paid me a visit (after the secretary gave everyone a heads up) and offered me help. "Don't be scared. We are all there for you," they said. I was touched.
Testing positive on Holi proved to be a hiccup. Half the medicines were not available in the nearby shops. Even online pharmacies promised to deliver two days later. So, my treatment started almost 32 hours after testing positive. However, after the initial snag, I never faced any difficulty, thanks to prompt response from the local medical shop owner, who didn't think twice about delivering medicines to my doorstep even after knowing I have tested positive for COVID-19.
Since I was mostly asymptomatic, I spent the days sans souci. I shifted my focus on diet—uninstalled Swiggy and Zomato, loaded my fridge with fresh fruits, ensured intake of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, and protein. I fell back on my grandmother's recipes and reconnected with the traditional food culture of Bengal. No wonder, I was always hungry!
The only harrowing experience was steam inhalation and gargling thrice a day amid the sultry Mumbai heat. Nothing beats the fury of hot steam scalding your face while you are in a muck sweat under a blanket on a hot and sweltering day.
Days went by uneventfully, with one exception when my oxygen level dropped to 66 and pulse rate went up to 120, accompanied by restlessness and body tremors. For the first time, I panicked. My doctor however said it's nothing to worry about.
After 7 days, I underwent CBC, CRP tests, reports of which were normal. On the 15th day, I tested negative.
Not everyone is lucky like me. A friend, who and her entire family tested positive on the same day, lost her grandmother to COVID. I could hear the despair in her voice when she told me how she couldn't see her grandma for the last time and the family wasn't allowed to perform her last rites.
On the other hand, the building opposite mine, which has been turned into a quarantine facility, reeks of anxiety—of the fear of dying alone, of not being able to meet loved ones, of health taking a turn for the worse. A quarantine facility is not a place anyone wants to be in. Yet, everyone is putting on a brave front, with hopes to win the virus war.
As India battles COVID-19's second wave, we request that you share your stories of beating the virus with us so they may serve as a guide & as hope for those who are currently in its midst. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'My COVID story' as the subject.