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Shaerish Patel

Multitudes of people had a close encounter with the virus in 2020. Many people who I knew fought the virus successfully. Unfortunately, some couldn’t. The truth is, we are living with an invisible monster in a room. One may not realize how serious a threat it is unless one goes through it. People with serious comorbidities must be extremely careful to prevent it at the outset.

25th August 2020. I remember the date vividly.  My dad was 60 and had underlying comorbidities. When he first contracted the virus, his initial symptoms looked like a normal seasonal allergy with manageable congestion. We treated him with anti-allergen and antibiotics. He suffered from recurring fever & suppressed cough. As he was able to hold his breath for more than a minute, I concluded it was not COVID-19, considering all the myths that floated around those days. I thought the anti-allergen & antibiotics would do the job.

After three days, when my dad started feeling better, we got a bit relaxed.The days passed normally after that but on the fifth day, my father started experiencing severe chills. His fever shot up to 103 C. Continuous cough and fever drained his energy, it made him so weak that he could barely walk. We waited overnight & rushed to our family doctor early morning. Looking at the symptoms & comorbidity, he suggested we further consult the chest specialist as he was unable to talk & breathe well.

We then rushed to the chest specialist. When we reached, we saw the hospital was bustling with patients. We panicked, looking at the large crowds. We were there wearing double masks and sanitised our hands repeatedly, but the fear of a considerable crowd still loomed largely. We got our appointment an hour later. When our turn came, the doctor checked my dad’s body, analysed his symptoms and recommended a few chest tests along with the COVID-19 test. We awaited the COVID-19 reports for further medical directions.

After 24 hours, we finally got the report and as feared, it came positive. For about 15 minutes, I felt panic had gripped my mom and me. But we knew this was not the time to lose our composures. We decided to connect with the doctor and was guided very well. He made sure we didn’t panic. The doctor recommended home quarantine with all requisite medicines. My gut feeling, too, said it would be better to manage the disease at home. For us, the hospital had to be the last resort. No one else in the family had any symptoms of COVID on that day.

As the doctor suggested home isolation, we let my dad be in one room and gave medication as prescribed. He took steam and gargled with turmeric and salt three times a day. He consumed power foods like Vitamin C enriched fruits, soups and simple home meals loaded with proteins.

As a caretaker of a COVID-19 patient, I learnt that one must always have a thermometer, BP instruments and oximeter at home.

Day 1 passed.

On Day 2, I got up with the loss of smell & taste and body ache. As I was with dad all these days & visited the hospital with him, I was now sure that I had contracted COVID-19. I called up the doctor, he asked me to get the RT-PCR done. My mother and I, both got our tests done. After 24 hours, we received the report. As expected, I tested positive, but fortunately, mom didn’t. It was a relief to know that at least one member of the family was safe.

I called the doctor back, he guided me on the further course of action. I then isolated myself in another room, took the medications and steam and gargled often. From day 4 to 14, we recovered slowly & gradually. We passed our time watching Netflix, TV shows, doing breathing exercises, chatting with family & friends and simply eating & sleeping. We ensured our room had good ventilation. We also made a point to change the bedsheets and sanitise the room every day by ourselves.

As the medication was of higher dosages, we got good sleep but also felt hungry regularly. Our mom had to be in the kitchen the entire day, making 6-8 meals. Dad & I met each other after seven days with double masks inside the home. We also asked mom to wear a mask while she came out from her room for making food or any other work. We are grateful that the symptoms were relieved & we were out of it after 14 days.

We were ecstatic that we fought the virus. After few days, we became quite relaxed and thought everything would now turn back to normalcy.  But NO! We experienced severe weakness, we were unable to walk or jog for even 20 minutes. This was the onset of post COVID symptoms.

Then came the brain fog moments.

Blurry vision for few seconds.

Hair fall after two months.

It’s been eight months since my dad and I recovered from COVID-19, yet we suffer from weakness. We get tired easily and are still coping up slowly. Consuming multivitamins and healthy food is now a part of our daily routine.

As a COVID-19 survivor, all I can suggest is:

  1. Do not Panic
  2. Put up a proper Mask
  3. Sanitize well when you come home
  4. Try to build up a healthy immune system by having meals enriched with proteins, carbs, minerals, multivitamins
  5. Consume one citric fruit every day
  6. Breathing exercise is a must
  7. Do not step out if it’s not necessary & urgent
  8. Do not rush into crowded places or shops
  9. We can prevent the virus on our own by taking these measures
  10. Visit the doctor for a monthly check-up post-recovery for 6-8 months

Remember, good quality proteins are essential because they boost antibodies. Fresh fruits & vegetables also help in keeping the inflammation down.

Here’s what I ate during my recovery days:

  • Dal paratha
  • Moong dal chilla
  • Sprout salad
  • Egg Frankie
  • Veggie juices (beetroot, carrot, cucumber, tomato)
  • Milk with Protein-X powder

Please remember:

“Good nutrition is key to regaining strength post covid-19″