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'Welcome to the Covid Club': A Patient's Account of Being 'Positive' in Times of Coronavirus

By: Rajen Garabadu

Last Updated: September 14, 2020, 23:34 IST

A doctor checks the heart rate and blood oxygenation readings of an asymptomatic COVID-19 patient. (AP/Representational Photo)

A doctor checks the heart rate and blood oxygenation readings of an asymptomatic COVID-19 patient. (AP/Representational Photo)

If the coronavirus does not kill you, constant questions about how you got it and how you are feeling may well do the damage.

What is so positive about being COVID-19 positive? Then why call it positive? It should be negative, right? Only good things deserve the adjective ‘positive’. If you have the coronavirus in your body, there is nothing positive about it.

Before you jump in to explain, I know the genesis of this nomenclature. The result of a clinical examination indicates ‘positive’ if the virus is detected. Like it was in my case. Now that you know I am Covid-positive, you will hopefully understand and pardon my rant. This can happen to the best of us, even those who know well why such terminology is medically accepted universally. Human mind can work in complex ways, especially when confronted with adversity.

The news was broken to me by a senior HR team member who patched the company doctor on the line. “Welcome to the Covid Club,” said the doctor in a half-humour manner of speech. I was not really seeking membership here, so I don’t know if I muttered anything under my breath. Twenty-five years ago, when I started my professional journey in Delhi, I fancied a membership in the Delhi Gymkhana Club and a couple of other premier clubs in Lutyen’s Delhi. I soon abandoned the thought once I realised, the membership may come, if at all, many decades later when I may be too old to enjoy the benefits. Ever since, I have not sought access to membership in any club. Certainly not the Covid Club.

Now that I have briefly digressed, let me get back to the health crisis. Most families do not take the virus seriously unless it hits home. The moment a family member is infected, deep realisation sets in. The first thought is disbelief. How could it happen to you? Are you sure? Hope they did not mix up the samples. These are not uncommon to hear from a loved one the moment they hear you are infected.

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The next few hours are overtaken by a mixture of fear, anxiety and apprehension. What are the first things to do? It is not always easy for the ‘patient’ (I am using this term to distinguish the infected from the rest of the household) as he or she does not get the time to even process the news just broken to him or her. The patient’s phone starts ringing. From the health department to the DM’s office, the calls come one by one for verification.

The Health Department representative visits your premises, checks your pulse oxymeter reading, inspects the household, lists out dos and don’ts and leaves after pasting a sticker outside your door cautioning that a Covid-positive patient lives here and mentioning the period of home isolation.

It is said that the Covid-infected person should not stress as it can adversely affect the patient’s health. Say it to a newly inducted member into the Covid family and chances are it may not resonate with him or her. Of course, it is human to worry when you find out an uninvited intruder has entered your body. It is also natural to stress about the health of your family members and all those who are at home till you are absolutely sure that they are spared of the virus. Till that happens, how do you keep away from worrying? It is easier said than done.

If the coronavirus does not kill you, constant questions about how you got it and how you are feeling may well do the damage. The moment your near and dear ones get to know, they will call you out of concern. It can be deeply disturbing and difficult to repeat the same lines over and over again. So how does one deal with it. Just send a message thanking all for their concern and requesting them not to call. Let them know you will update as and when there is an opportunity to.

In my case, I rarely spoke on the phone as it would tire me. Any conversation of a minute or more, I would frequently pause to catch my breath. My symptoms have remained pretty much the same for a week. I get fever once a day, usually late afternoon in the range of 99.4-99.8°F. I do feel tired while conversing. My doctor first prescribed Azithromycin 500 once a day for five days. This was before I got tested. When my test result came, I was given Bandy Plus, again once a day for five days.

I have completed the course for both the antibiotics and have now been prescribed Microdox-LBS once a day for the next five days. I feel better today as for the first time in 10 days, no fever has been recorded. I share my pulse oxymeter and body temperature reading twice a day with my doctor and he was happy to note the first positive sign in a week and a half. It was a good enough reason to start writing.

I continue to remain isolated at home in a room where I live, read, exercise, eat, sleep, and now write. And I continue to live positive – literally and figuratively.

A word of caution: Do not take the coronavirus too lightly or too seriously. Both are risky and can endanger your life.

Disclaimer:The author is a Chief Executive Producer at News18 Network. Views expressed are personal.
first published:September 14, 2020, 11:49 IST
last updated:September 14, 2020, 23:34 IST