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The View from my Room - My COVID Diary

<< There is a podcast at the end of this page, in case you are lazy to read this blog but prefer to listen>>

This has been the view from my room since a week. Yes, I'm on self-isolation (home quarantine) due to being tested low positive for COVID with RdRp Ct Value of 30.20 as on 08-May-2021. Writing all these for a memory purpose and when years/months later, if I get to come back and read my blog, I know the details of my experience.

Coming back to my room, while there are few birds humming and crows cawing, there is sudden stillness in the wind and the liveliness comes to a halt making the view look like a painting.

It is so soothing to hear the birds sing and so relaxing to see the trees dancing while sometimes there are monkeys playing around the branches of these trees..

Hang on - I know you may doubt if I'm living in a jungle :) But NO - I live in a place called Ranipet and the house that I live in (we moved a month ago) has such peace and serenity all around and of course lot of people too on the other 3 sides of my house.

Today, the view pushed me to write this blog as I felt all my emotions have been captured in one image that I have been dwelling with over last 3 weeks.

It shows that there is a tree which is dry and no leaves on the left side but there is so much greenery on the right side. I relate to it as so many lives(families) deserted in these difficult times while there are many who are still blessed to be unaffected and with their loved ones - safe and sound. My true, honest and humble prayers for those souls to stay unaffected and be happy. My prayers that I don't get to hear or read any more loss of any near and dear ones. We are like the these trees, grounded in this world (for now) witnessing every unexpected happenings.

3 weeks ago, my mom was tested +ve for COVID on 28-Apr-2021 and that her oxygen levels started dropping to 80's and slowly to 70's. She was in Chennai (India) and me at my home in Ranipet (India) which is about 120 kms of distance by road.

My younger brother along with my aunt (mom's sister) weren't able to decide what to do with her. Should we treat her at home or get her admitted in the hospital as we started getting various advices and suggestions. On the other hand, me being away from mom, it was a moment of heavy heart, disturbed mind, panic and a sense of insecurity over the situation that we were facing for the first time within the family. Until that day, we had only heard of people being infected for COVID. Me and my husband ensured we stay away as much as possible from the social media and news channels on this particular topic, just to ensure that our minds doesn't play the devil's advocate. Basically we wanted to stay positive and only positive with an aura of protective (positive) thoughts surrounding us securely for our mental peace.

My mom didn't eat properly or drink properly that whole day after knowing that she was COVID +ve. She fell sick all the more. My aunt suggested to consult a doctor the next day and they did so. Doctor advised to get her admitted in the hospital and keep her on oxygen as her O2 levels were dropping and that she is 63 yrs old. Now, the biggest challenge of these trying times was to get a bed with oxygen facility in the hospital. I decided to seek help from everyone around me as the doctor's advice created a panic within me but I was playing bold outside. I put a WhatsApp status seeking for help on my situation. Believe me, I had responses and information flooding my inbox from people who never ever spoke to me for more than 2-5 years but had only been quietly following my whatsapp status. This day I felt the power of humanity along with the power of technology. My sincere gratitude to each and everyone of them who stood by me even if it was through WhatsApp and trying to help me. May God Bless every soul on this earth, who even think of helping someone in such distress.

I finally decided to take care of my mom and left to Chennai with so many mixed emotions of leaving my 2 kids and husband back home. They were scared to death and unwillingly sent me. I had to promise my kids that I will come back home soon knowing that I would fall sick too. The wetness in my elder daughter's eyes rolled out her uncertain emotions of what I was feeling for my mom of what if I may lose her in this battle. Definitely it wasn't no lesser than going for a battle. My younger daughter was bold enough to handle her elder sister ensuring that their grandmother needs their mother so that she recovers fasters and that their mother (me) is strong enough. I felt a storm deep within me, leaving my kids and their belief in God's hands for good.

After running around hospitals to hospitals and with endless calls through relatives, friends and informations on WhatsApp, finally we found a private hospital with a bed where we admitted my mom on 29-Apr-2021. But they never gave any oxygen support to her saying she is stable and will recover naturally. I must admit, the vibes were very positive in that hospital and that everyone worked round the clock ensuring every patient is attended with care, medicines and their focus. Since attenders were allowed to stay, I stayed over night with mom and my brother would come around 11 am in the day. He stayed till 9pm where I took over the turn of night shift. My aunt used to send breakfast to the hospital, my cousin sends lunch to my dad's home. As I was fasting for Ramadan, I didn't/couldn't eat much being in the hospital and sleepless nights where I had to sleep on the floor in between the beds of COVID patients. I couldn't sleep on the floor at home but these situations never demanded any comfort but the good health of the loved ones and my presence with my mom. I saw unexplained pain and fear in everyone's eyes in the hospital during our stay. The 4 days stay at the hospital created a sense of unusual bonding between the people where everyone was supporting each other physically, mentally and morally giving hopes to one another. One good thing about that place was, those were only patients who were stable and out of danger in that floor. Those who were critical were in another floor. So we didn't get any waves of uncertainty but only hopes of recovery and getting back home at the earliest.

On 03-May-2021 evening, doctor gave a discharge note and we came home with mom. I thought it would be easy and comfortable at home for mom and everyone, where we were juggling between hospital and home untimely without any rest, without proper sanitary, etc. To all the efforts we put, oximeter did not show any good numbers of my mom's O2 levels. The actual struggle started after coming home where her O2 levels dropped to 55-60 every time she walked to the wash room and couldn't come back on her own. She took about an hour just to get up from her bed, sit and settle her breathing, slowly walk to the wash room, pass on the nature's call, get back on her feet and then... she was all sweating and breatheless before even she was out of the wash room. 2 of us had to hold her on our shoulders and bring her back to the bed. This 1 hour of exercise would exert her and drain all her energy and O2 levels which scared us all the more.

Many of my cousins were in constant touch with me on her health. While I was explaining these challenges, they pushed us to decide to get her back to the hospital. This time we decided to go for another hospital. Luckily my brother's friend who is a practicing doctor and working for the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital(RGGGH), Chennai, suggested we get her to RGGGH at the earliest. On 05-05-2021, my brother got her to RGGGH around 4pm all by himself as I developed symptoms of COVID on 04-05-2021 and I had already used all my energy on my mom that my health did not support me to go along with them to the hospital. She was given first aid in the emergency (casualty) ward but until 10 pm there wasn't signs of moving her to a dedicated bed. Again, no proper place to sit, no food, no wash room made my brother wanting her to be move out of that place. Again, there was a panic amongst us of finding the hospital that had bed and oxygen supplies.. This time, my brother's friend who is a doctor at RGGGH advised that if we plan to shift my mom, she needs to be taken by Ambulance with O2 supplies and also the hospital should have High flow Nasal Oxygenation or C-PAP mask (which I literally didn't know what it means). Basically we needed a bed in the ICU. The situation was critical if I had to think about those moments, I still feel nervous. However, miraculously my brother called back in 15 mins just to inform that there is a bed allocated at RGGGH itself with the required O2 supplies. It was no less than a miracle or a blessing or magic.

Knowing that she has been allocated a bed, I wanted to give a break to my brother who has been with my mom since evening. I decided to stay over night with her at the hospital despite my fever and symptoms of COVID. This time, the scenario was quite different at RGGGH. There were mixed stages of patients. I could barely sleep in this hospital where there was an old couple - the old man had been taking care of his old wife since 7 days continuously and no one had been there to give that old man a break. It was so heart-breaking to see such helplessness around due to this cursed disease where even your loved ones dare not to take care of you. My health started deteriorating slowly and I asked my brother that he takes the night shift next night and I could probably do the day. But I was feeling weak and sick that I felt I should get back to my home. On the other hand, the hospital didn't allow anyone until 1 pm after 9am. They moved all the attenders out for doctor's visit. Since, I felt my condition was worsening, I decided to come to my home. I wanted to be with my children and in my home. For the 1st ever time, I had to ask my husband if I can come home with the infection with a doubt of what if my husband would not let me in. And various thoughts prevailed my mind of not being sure on the severity of the infection I had and what will the coming days bring to me. Luckily, my husband was kind enough and acted very brave that He drove me home all by himself. And I have been given his room for isolation.

I know I will get better once I'm home as my husband would take care of me very well with regular steaming process to milk with turmeric to hot water with herbs, etc, etc.. To handle this isolation, my husband started cooking despite He taking care of kids. He learnt many new dishes as I instructed him from the room. And during these 3 weeks, when I checked my weight I had already lost nearly 5 kgs. By God's grace, before I travelled back home, I did the COVID test to ensure the level of infection which was only low positive as I had already started taking the multivitamins and supplements from Day 1 that I started attending mom. And as I fell ill, my cousins who were already infected passed on to me the prescription from their doctor on the anti-biotics and other meds. Thankfully, COVID did not affected me much other than tiredness, odourlessness and tastelessness. Tiredness to the extreme that it took me 4 days to start drafting this blog and 5 hours to only draft, that too with regular breaks. All time put together to draft this is just less than an hour but I definitely wanted to write down everything that has been in my mind so that I feel relaxed of jotting down my thoughts somewhere and the best place is my own website.

There is no big purpose of writing this down but just to make myself better from the emotional burden that I had been carrying for weeks on the rough days that I had witnessed and the deaths that have occurred of known people around in these 2 weeks. Realising that I'm alive and that my mom is alive from those scary times of O2 levels dropping to 55 where there seemed to be very lean chances of her survivals still makes me feel on how Karma, prayers of everyone around, positive thoughts and all the will-power of my mom have played a very crucial role in bringing her back home today with O2 levels increased to above 95 without oxygen after 10 days at RGGGH. My mom has seen people dying everyday in the beds just next to her on either sides and someone simply falling down from the bed and died of helplessness. The mental agony of being surrounded by people dying in front of her, she definitely did have so much courage to face-off even the death and God Willing, she is amongst us today. My heart is still heavy for all the losses I have heard of people I met in the hospitals and the unexpected demise of their loved ones, just not because of the COVID infection but because of heart attacks, BP, unattended timings, lack of medical support or late response or late action taken. These weeks and these experiences have taught me that death cannot be denied. If it is your time to move on from this world, no one can stop it from happening. But do not be afraid if you are tested +ve for COVID. Along with these uncertain deaths, I have seen and experienced myself that lot of us are recovering even with the O2 levels gone to 55. Keep up your spirit and expect to experience the happy times with your family and friends. This infection is not the end for everyone. It is just yet another infection. It has been cured to those with strong mental health faster. I have seen people die just out of fear. Fear is your biggest enemy! Don't die in the hands of your enemy. You are stronger than you think you are - Fight back and wish to rule the world with all your goodness and aim to share your story of fighting back in this battle to your children and grandchildren. Believe me, I'm recovering and the main objective of writing all my thoughts is to feel better and recover faster. If you are not willing to recover, even God's Will will be denied. So, be willing to recover and be with your loved ones.

Now that I have poured down all my thoughts of experiences and heaviness here, I truly didn't mean to pass on any negativity but only to share that whoever is reading this, I'm sure you are amongst the blessed ones. You are like the green trees that is next to the dry tree in the above image. Breathe easy, Breathe nice!

I have also experienced the humanity and kindness across all the places I have been in the last 3 weeks. While I left my mom at RGGGH a week ago to take care of myself, so that I don't worsen my health and rely on someone for my basic needs, my brother had been with mom over nights. During day time, my mom was all by herself at the hospital. By God's grace, everyone around her had been so kind and very helpful to her. I have not met them or seen them but my sincere gratitude and my prayers for their well-being and their loved ones to get well soon.

Not to forget about the financial expenses, even we faced the challenge with the financials where couple of great souls helped without asking any questions. May God bless them abundantly in their incomes.

Here at my home, my sister-in-law sends food every day for lunch and we were managing breakfast and dinner somehow with my husband learning and trying new dishes as I instruct. Knowing that I'm isolated (through my house-help), my neighbour started providing breakfast, idli batter, some gravies and curries for lunch which is excessed that helps for our dinner. I do not know what am I really feeling at this moment. Blessed or helpless? I think I feel more blessed to have surrounded by such people who are helping everyone of us without any expectations. My neighbour hardly know us as we moved in very recently. But they have been too generous and kind, not letting us feel isolated. May God bless their family and everyone with such helpful thoughts who are supporting and helping people like us during these difficult times.

My kids ask us on why and how our neighbour send food everyday despite we telling them not to send and despite that we hardly know them. I know, this was the moment to teach my children life's moral lessons and practical lessons of what humanity is, what kindness is, what selflessness is all about. And as usual, I grabbed the opportunity to make them understand that no matter if we know them or not, we should help people in times of their needs and helplessness. Being Empathetic and Compassionate is what is keeping this world still balanced and that we teach our children the forgotten lessons over the last few decades. I remember such stories been taught in the moral science or scripture classes in my school days but today we get to experience the power of being Indian and taking care of neighbours in such untouchable times of COVID.

This image is of my kids waiting for my recovery with a longing face to hug me, be with me and play with me - they do this for almost 10 times a days. I tell them, this is much better than me not being there at all for them.

Clarity in your physical body manifests as health. Clarity in your emotions manifests as ease. A clear mind manifests as creativity. A clear spirit manifests as being open to infinite possibility. Be the clear and a strong Spirit!

Share your experience and inspire others with what good you have realised or seen in these COVID times!

Listen to my podcast on the above blog:

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