6 AM, the nurses announced, “Milk & Rice water (Ganji) is available, you can collect it”. My world had turned upside down. I wasn’t used to this schedule.
7 AM, the breakfast was served, Bisi-bele bath. All the meals came in these packed portable boxes. There was an option to opt for Raggi Ganji or normal food. The diabetic patients received a different kind of food too. On some beds, the patients were too tired to even eat, the food was left unattended on a table beside their bed.
They gave us medicines based on our present condition. The nurses and the workers were always on PPE suits, so it was really hard to recognize them. I could hardly differentiate them as to who came in what shift.
The bathrooms and toilets were shared and it had running hot water 24/7. There was a risk with shared bathrooms, and we didn’t have an option about it.
The nurses were always available at the nurse station. They operated their mobiles through a clear plastic mobile pouch. They would wear multiple layers of mask and hand gloves and often sanitize. I wondered how suffocating it may get for them to be in that situation and here I was crying over being locked.
Some patients were on oxygen support. Some coughed like it was the end of the world. Some would play loud music on their phones, and some would scream their sickness every 2 minutes. I had forgotten what was it like to be silent.
The main doctor would visit each patient once a day typically after breakfast. When the doctor visited me on day 2, I asked him when will I be discharged, I already wanted to run away by now. He said you are just here, you would need to be here for a minimum of 10 days. I was shattered to hear that. I said, “ but I don’t have any symptoms”, to which he replied, “According to the govt rules we cannot release you based on that “. I was disappointed. I found the discharge policy online and skimmed through it and found his statements true.
It was just day 2, and I felt like a prisoner counting my days. We weren’t allowed to move out of our wards. The in-movement from outsiders was also strictly restricted. From the blood test, they found that my dad was diabetic. It came as a shock to us, as we had no clue about it. Last 2 years, he was stationed in Mumbai, and he had skipped complete body checks. The doctor also said that diabetes can occur due to stress. I watched both my parents get insulin shots. It was painful to watch my mom more.
There were many things I wished I could have brought from home. I plugged into my earphones and tried to distract myself. The tablets given to us would put us to sleep and it made the days pass sooner. The food was edible to some extent, but I really wished they gave us some pickle. I worried about my beautiful plants back home, my loved ones assured me that nature will nourish them.
Every day they would monitor our oxygen levels. Pulse oximetry is the method that measures the percentage of blood hemoglobin carrying oxygen. The accepted range value is 94 and above for a healthy person. I hit 100 most of the time and wondered if I was even needed here. But at a later point in time, I realized maybe my purpose was to be there for my parents. In a place like this, it was better to fall sick together rather than being alone.
The doctor told me that it was okay for mild cases to be home quarantined as long as we had the resources to monitor ourself and we stay isolated. If we were home quarantined we would have never discovered that my dad was diabetic. Slowly, I started realizing that everything happens for a reason.
On day 5, the doctor told me if I am stable like this, the would discharge me on the 7th day. My happiness was beyond bounds. My sister and brother in law managed to pass on to us some of the essentials like fruits, disposable masks, some clothes, and pickle on the same day. I remember the nurse calling out my name out loud. They weren’t allowed to visit us. Our ward was near the emergency exit, which was sealed with gates. My sister managed to look at us through them. I told her to hurry back home as I was worried about her. Staying at a place like this for a long time was a risk. Deep inside all the clothes, she had hidden a Cadbury Silk. I smiled looking at it.
We had to wear masks all the time, even to sleep. It had become a routine. The workers would sanitize the floor so frequently that after a point of time they smelled of bleach alone.
One morning, I noticed that my shoes had changed color due to all that bleach on the floor. My corona shoes made everyone there laugh out loud.
As the days passed by, people were getting more friendly. Everyone had a similar story on how they arrived here. The broken windows and peeling walls started to bother me less.
People helped each other. The younger ones carried the food from the nurse station to different beds. One frequent question everyone had was, “How long are you here for?”.
It slowly dawned on me that patience is the only key. People often have this fear that being covid positive means that you are on your death bed. It does get serious for some people. I started getting well wishes from some of my farthest relatives who had not even texted me once in their lives. I had to even request some of them to stop calling me for every point of update and leave us alone to heal.
Patience, space, time, and faith was all that was required. As one of my friends rightly pointed out, fear kills, not the disease.
Click to read further https://anjalisn4.medium.com/covid-19-my-journey-part-4-4109d55e854a
Originally published at http://anjalisn4.blogspot.com on November 7, 2020.