Even after having contracted the virus, this frontline warrior is back to work with the same spirit, but his story is far from being over here. His family, right now stuck in Hyderabad is unaware of the fact that he was COVID positive because he feels that would make them more anxious.
We talk to this warrior who resides in Omaxe, New Chandigarh. His name is being withheld to protect his identity and we address him as a ‘warrior’ in our cover story.
The warrior has been working in the infectious diseases department of PGI since 2007 and also saw those days when the city reported its first swine flu case. “I never thought I would be admitted in the same ward where I had been treating patients. But since I have seen patients getting fine, I was positive about my recovery but could not tell my family as it would only make them anxious.” His family is in Hyderabad where they had gone for a short vacation in March but got stuck there because of a lockdown.
“I was asymptomatic and it was only after random sampling was done that it was detected that I myself had the virus. The hardest moment came when I was admitted in the COVID ward after my sample tested positive on April 29, and when I was under quarantine in COVID ward it was my daughter’s birthday on May 3 and on video call she was asking me to show her favourite doll and her birthday gift to her but I kept convincing my family that I was on duty at the hospital”, he says, adding that he will tell the family once they are back.
“I was a little upset to get admitted to the place where I was treating patients one day before. I had two choices – either I surrender myself to Coronavirus or go ahead and face it. I decided to face it as I am a warrior myself. Psychological support plays a key role and my friends kept my morale high”, the warrior adds.
“I could hear the running of the nurses and doctors outside of my room and that really scared me when I asked the nurses, how other patients were doing and one of them said, ‘Sir, Number 5 has passed away’, and they were just beside me. That was the most frightening moment of my life”, he says.
“I have been handling all kinds of patients suffering from infectious diseases since the last 12 years because serving them gives me satisfaction. After having been a patient myself I have realised it’s more of a mental challenge and if you are strong mentally, you can defeat any disease, be it COVID. I realised yoga, meditation and high protein and Vitamin-C rich diet was effective in fighting the virus. I got to learn a lot from Osho’s book on meditation and yoga. After 14 days my sample tested negative, my oxygen levels were high and above all when I returned home, I got a rousing welcome by residents of Omaxe”, adds the warrior.
The warrior says, “I want you to know that once you have symptoms, you need to immediately isolate yourself. There’s no way you can take the risk that the elderly or high-risk groups in your family will get contaminated or will get the virus. You need to go to the hospital to get yourself tested. People must know that they should not fear going to the hospital and that’s the only way you can protect your loved ones.”
On a positive note, he says, “A positive indicator is that our recovery rate is consistently increasing and is comparable to the best in the world. We have to learn to live with the virus. The peak is yet to come, and it may take longer to go. So, social distancing, hand washing, wearing masks and avoiding crowds should become a way of life.”