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Vishal Wadkar

My name is Vishal Wadkar, I am a part of the India Marketing & Communications team and look after the social media channels for Capgemini India. It has been a great nine-year journey at Capgemini, so far.

My exposure to COVID-19 probably occurred at the end of March 2021 when my elder sister contracted a mild fever. We consulted our family physician and since her body temperature and oximeter readings didn’t cross the thresholds, the doctor continued treating her with paracetamol.

Amidst the tension and chaos, one extremely important thing we missed doing was to isolate my sister to avoid the spread of infection at home. But like many, we also believed that we have been following all the norms, so we won’t contract the virus. And this turned out to be our biggest learning!

Soon after, I started showing symptoms much stronger than my sister, with a fever as high as 101 degrees and above. My uneasiness was marked by breathlessness throughout. We soon realised this can’t be a mere coincidence and rushed to get ourselves tested. Turns out, we both were Covid-19 positive.

We both stayed in the same house as my mother who is 76 years old, my wife who is a diabetic and my 8-year old daughter. So, it was a difficult and tense situation at home. Once tested positive, I consulted our partner Portea and got registered for the COVID care program via tele-calling. To be on the safer side, even though my mother, wife and daughter were not exhibiting any symptoms, we got them tested as well and unfortunately, they all tested positive. This really got me down as they had underlying comorbidities and the age of my mother was also a worrying factor. During all of this, an important support system was my sister-in-law, a doctor who guided us throughout this period.

Among all of us, I was the one whose condition was worsening with increased breathlessness, fever and complete loss of appetite. Even in these tough times, I would joke with my family saying the ladies in the family are stronger than me! Especially, my wife who despite being diabetic with high sugar remained strong and took care of us.

It was day 2 after testing positive and my condition was not getting better. My sister-in-law advised me to get admitted so that I could be put under continuous medical supervision. I wasn’t ready to leave others at home. But I thought to myself that if I don’t get well soon, how would I take care of other family members? I decided to get myself hospitalized.

The first day at the hospital was depressing, it pained to see everyone around me suffering in sickness. An important invention that really helped me stay engaged during my time away from loved ones was a smartphone with my favourite subscriptions. I binge-watched my favourite series, video called my loved ones and listened to my favourite music. While I was at the hospital, it was good to know that at home everyone else was doing well, except my wife, who wasn’t very well. Yet, she remained strong to look after our daughter and others.

One thing I learnt while at the hospital was to converse more with fellow patients to know what struggle they are going through and learn from their fight for survival. This really made me think that my struggle or pain was nothing in comparison to theirs and this really motivated me during those difficult times. At the hospital, saw a couple of 80-year olds recovering from COVID-19 and getting discharged. I remember a gentleman who was also recovering had got his mom admitted to some other hospital. There was also a policeman admitted beside me who made sure he exercised every day to avoid getting bogged down by the virus. Another patient made sure he shaved daily like he used to every day, before going to the office to feel fresh and remain active. These are little things in a larger scheme but very important to remain above the virus and fight it.

An important support system were my colleagues and friends who help me to stay strong. Big applause to Capgemini and Sarika Naik for providing all the necessary support and motivating me throughout these difficult times.

Another boon during my stay at the hospital was the IPL! It had just started so the evenings with fellow cricket enthusiasts really helped me to stay diverted from the pain and enjoy the good times and discuss the game.

These little things really helped me survive the difficult times at the hospital. Not to forget, the doctors, nurses and support staff who worked relentlessly 24×7 and took care of each and everyone with the same dedication, motivating us to recover soon.

As I got home after 7 days of treatment, everyone at home had recovered too, except my wife whose fever wasn’t going down. Since I was home now and could look after others, we got her admitted. She too recovered soon and was back home within five days. The joy of having fought the virus together and emerging as winners was so overwhelming! We did it, finally!

As a family that recovered from the virus together, here are few things we learnt:

  1. Don’t ignore the slightest symptoms, treat them, isolate yourself and eat well.
  2. Stay connected with your loved ones.
  3. Speak to others, learn from their stories.
  4. Find motivation in little things and get the best out of it.
  5. Discuss your conditions with your doctors/family and don’t hide anything.
  6. Enjoy your favourite films, music, series to keep yourself distracted.

I feel extremely lucky to be part of the Capgemini family and the India MarCom team as each of my colleagues stood for me when I was away from work and supported me throughout. Capgemini is truly an organisation that cares about its employees and I will always be glad for the support I received during these unprecedented times. We will always be #StrongerTogether.