Day 2: It has finally sunk in. I am an untouchable by normal human beings and even our 3 cats and 2 dogs who, I am told, are susceptible to the virus. Now, having the disease is no longer a scary mystery. So many dark clouds ahead, but one silver lining or, maybe, two. The dark clouds are the ongoing feeling of having been put through a wringer. My body has periods of near normalcy at the strangest of times. Just after bathing for one, as I eat breakfast, lunch or dinner for another. The rest of the time, I get this depressing urge to curl up and die. I have no fever, but my body feels like it did after I recovered from pneumonia which I got almost 5 years back. I have many more days of this to look forward to.
Day 0: Google failed me: I had my COVID 19 test report in my hand. It had the dreaded word “POSITIVE” writ on it, with a CT score of 15 for me and 16 for my wife. That did not sound like it was too bad. I googled a CT score of 15 asking what it meant. Google returned a load of information from which I could glean that the safe limit was 37 (hooray!) and between 31 and 37 it was marginal. At 16, surely, I should be negative. How was I positive? Was there an error by the lab. I sent an office boy back to the lab (which was across the street) to ask them if they had made a mistake. “No, they said, the result was positive”. I turned to the trusty Google again and asked a different question. “Is a lower CT score worse than a high one?” Google returned the same answers as before. So, I was not smarter. Bad Google!
I called a doctor friend and asked him. After blinding me with scientific and technical stuff about viral loads which flew over my head, he said “you have a decent viral load”. What does this even mean? How can a virus be described as decent? So, it turns out that, unlike golf, the lower the score the worse off you are.
I spent the next 24 hours in a form of dazed denial. This cannot be happening to me. I used every possible means of protection I could. I almost bathed in sanitisers, I soaped the door handles of my office toilet and only then used a naked hand on them. The first thing I unpacked from my golf bag was always my sanitizer. I showered twice a day. I wore masks, I wore a glove when shopping or at the ATM I sanitized my debit and credit cards after usage, I never kissed the wrong sort of women. Actually, I only ever kissed one, and she is a fellow victim now. My wife, she with the CT score that is marginally better than mine. Grmph!
After the 24 hours of denial, my wife and I reluctantly resigned ourselves to remaining isolated in solitary (is it dualitary?) confinement. I now have to wear a mask at home. Our daughter decided to surprise my wife by showing up on the eve of her birthday as a birthday surprise. On my wife’s birthday, we were presented with a report that said, forget about dinner out tonight. Go home, stay home and do not be seen outside for 2 weeks.
My daughter has been exposed to our infected lungs, so she is also stuck here for an indeterminate period of time. Some surprise!
CORONA DIARY – II
November 17, 2020
Day 4: I am now on Day 4 for of the 14 day quarantine period. Remarkable things have happened in the last 2 days:
- Symptoms will last only 2-4 days (this from someone who has had this awful disease – maybe a mild version of it) I have news for all. It lasts a lot longer than that for us mere mortals
- The real killer for me, now that the questions about “how did this happen” have died down, is the virtual flood of advice from people who know nothing of the disease, mainly because they have not had it. The ones that have had it ask me to stay positive (no pun intended, of course) and hang in there. You will eventually get better. But the people who haven’t had the disease are full of advice. Haldi milk, Tulsi tea, Pranayam, Yoga (a few other Sanskrit words that escape me), sleep on my stomach, etc., etc. I am just astonished at how many experts we have on this disease amongst us. And the assertiveness with which they offer the advice is also astonishing.
- The entire household has tested positive, so our isolation is almost fun. I say almost, because my daughter, a really negative person (Corona speaking, of course) came to visit last Thursday just as we were testing ourselves. It was a visit to surprise my wife whose birthday was on last Friday when we got the good news about us being tested positive. Well, the surprise backfired. Last night my daughter developed a temperature and pretty much the same symptoms as us. She gets tested this morning. This would complete the misery of this household.
I try not to answer calls these days. I could, of course, leave a recorded message on my phone saying that I am all up to date on medical advice and appreciate but do not need any help. I do not think this will deter the really intrepid advisers.
Yes, this disease sucks big time. The only thing I can say is that I have not seen 2 people with exactly the same symptoms. Everyone seems to have the disease differently.
CORONA DIARY – III
Day 18, November 30, 2020
I keep looking at my latest test report as if I do not believe it. I am officially COVID free. But the journey was not smooth and is still somewhat bumpy.
I had started to write an update on Day 6 that we both were feeling unwell but hanging in there. But on Day 7, my wife was hospitalized with moderate to severe COVID induced pneumonia. Her Oxygen had been dropping and was 93 when we rushed her to hospital. They admitted her and over the next 6 days she received 5 doses of Remdesvir, tons of Steroids and Flexion and finally a plasma transplant.
The Plasma story is better described in my daughter’s journal, “Scribblemarks” is her penname and her blog describes her travails in getting the Plasma donation done. Not easy, I might add. The price she paid for it was that on Day 10 she had enough symptoms to be tested and on Day 12 she got the confirmation that she was COVID positive. Hooray! This made our house a COVID zone. We were confined to Quarantine.
On day 13 my wife was discharged from hospital with tons of medication prescribed for her. Neither my daughter nor I could go to pick her up due to our being in quarantine. Our driver and our finance manager went and did the needful to get her discharged and brought home, in a weakened state, with a further 2 weeks of recommended homestay.
The disease debilitates, no doubt about that. All 3 of us are getting better but at different rates and with different internal symptoms. Our journey is still a bumpy one. Climbing stairs is a major challenge. Appetite is variable and tiredness sets in very easily.
Tomorrow, on Day 19 I will go back to the office for the first time since we were diagnosed with COVID19. I wish to thank all of you for the innumerable messages of support goodwill and good wishes. Mixed into these were well meaning but misplaced pieces of advice. One gentleman actually sent me a 54 page pdf document with a guide for people who have come home from a hospital. This came to me during my recovery and at the point I was no longer infectious. It had a step by unfortunate step guide on what to do every minute of the day. I politely thanked the gentleman.
The greatest amount of advice I have received is hearsay and forwards from people who have had no personal experience of the disease, which makes it ironic because I have lived through the disease myself. No matter, it is all in good faith.
All I can say is it has been an eye-opening experience for me. No fears left, just a healthy respect for a virus that has beaten the best scientific minds in the world so far. Vaccines are being developed dangerously fast and I see a potential disaster in the making. New diseases take at least 3-4 years to develop vaccines, if not longer. In the case of the HIV, decades later we still do not have a vaccine. 1.5 million people have died so far of the COVID19 virus. How many more will go, only God knows. A dear friend predicted many more will die before this is over, and another virus will come soon after. I pity future generations if this is true.
Thanks for reading. This is the last update. Stay safe stay healthy. I am taking the same paranoid precautions I did before. I do not want to be that statistic which demonstrates how easy it is to be reinfected.