A Tale Of A COVID19 Survivor - #COVIDDiaries
COVID-19 needs no prior introductions. We are all well acquainted with the invisible enemy floating in the air, looking for a host body to breed and grow in. We have been listening to so many stories about survivors and those who succumbed to the ferocity of the virus. The virus is a serious threat not just for its potential to become contagious in a matter of minutes but also what it does to a body it infects. Although on the whole, my case was quite mild and I am still recovering, but it has left behind a scar unlike any illness I’ve ever witnessed or been victim to prior. I was supremely confident of my hygiene habits shielding me from infection since I am a self-confessed cleanliness aficionado. I live on hand sanitizers, literally sanitizing my hands like an obsession, especially after coming in contact with unknown surfaces. But my habits had made me complacent and indifferent to protection and that's what made me vulnerable to contract the disease I realized, in hindsight. Nevertheless it was incredibly scary, both, the shock of testing positive and the recovery process.
The first time I felt unlike my normal self was when waves of weird sensations were travelling across the length & stretch of my body. To put things in perspective it felt like my body was short-circuiting and the entire system was on the brink of crashing. It was almost impossible to sit still as my entire existence felt submerged by the force of electrical waves passing through my body with incremental force each time. I have a genetic history of heart trouble issues in my family, what with my paternal side having undergone cardiovascular surgery already. Although I was way too young to contract cardiological complications at my age, I felt so unsettled physically that I gave in to my fears and made an appointment with my cardiologist. Surprisingly my heart checked out fine.
Reports concluded my heart was functioning in the best shape of my life. But that was the beginning of my troubles.
Gradually I lost sense of taste and smell. I could feel no sensation on my tastebuds even while eating the most familiar food items. First, I nibbled some pasta that tasted awkward. Next, I drank some orange juice and after a few sips I discarded it thinking it was an expired product. Then I had a cookie but the effect remained same, no taste. That’s when it hit me, maybe the problem lies in me and not the food.
Soon after I was engulfed by a low-grade fever that was intermittently repetitive in mild scales, followed by cough and cold with fever that was slowly rising sending the mercury tipping through the thermometer. The cough was weird too, as it was forced action by the body involuntarily without actually creating any productive result like disposing plegm or clearing the congestion in my throat. It just makes your throat hurt but my body still wanted to cough all the time.
That’ is when a heavy feeling of realization sunk in and I decided to get myself tested specifically for it. I have Lyme disease – an immune system disorder, so in my mind it made sense that my immune system could have been compromised. After some standards tests which revealed an abnormally low White Blood Cell count in my blood vessels, on March 19 the results were finally declared and much to my anticipated horror, I tested positive.
I was unwell for 16 days at a stretch with intermittent bouts of relapsing fevers which would deteriorate my physical condition in the latter half of the day. One morning I would think I was improving, only to slowly decline throughout the day. Then again I would feel better for a day only to become worse the next. I didn’t feel very sick consistently, but I also never felt like I had to go to the hospital. But the fear of succumbing to the disease and the blurry future that lay ahead, was a constant threat throughout, making anxiety keep company to me throughout my illness.
But as scary as it was, I stayed at home in isolation and fought myself to recovery. After a week of intense illness, my health started improving. My cough was next to bid goodbye never to return anytime soon. My sense of taste is largely restored although functioning with certain limitations. I can only smell things that are close to me. But still I am yet to feel like usual self in full flair.
The seriousness of all of this has really hit me really hard. The world feels scary. COVID19 is a silent assassin, watching and waiting to pounce on its next prey. It is so contagious that it’s almost beyond our comprehension. And to think of it that I was a carrier. Once I found out I had it, of course I stayed at home in isolation. But knowing I could have infected so many others, unknowingly, before I had my symptoms is a difficult feeling to come to terms with.
I’m only 34, but this has been a serious learning experience. I am a complete germaphobe now and hand sanitizer endorser. Despite my best efforts at hygiene and cleanliness, I still got infected. So please take this seriously. Any of us can be next. For mild cases like mine, serve as a stark reminder to the world that there are far more serious and deadly ones too. Once you have fought back to recovery – you feel a great responsibility to protect others from undergoing the same torment that I had to suffer.
I understand how hard it is, isolation and quarantine. But the sooner we adopt a mass enforced approach to preventive measure like wearing protective face masks whenever we step out in public, the sooner this will end at some point and when it does, we can all get back to doing what we want and we can finally be with who we want to be. What we all do now will determine whether our parents, grandparents, friends, and neighbours are with us when that day finally comes.