My COVID Story

Hi I am ARUNESH SINHA. I have a lovely family, other than me it has MAMMA, PAPA and my little brother. We used to live very happily together. Fighting, shouting, laughing and our lives were going on just fine. Actually, Papa had an extremely transferrable job throughout his career and because of that, we both the brothers have lived majority of our lives with our mother only at a static place and used to go to Papa’s destination ‘at that time’, during our vacations. Fortunately, in 2017 he was transferred to Ranchi itself and suddenly we all were together. Then one day, a virus, named CHINESE VIRUS entered the world which completely shook my whole family and dismantled it down ……

4th April 2021 : The Start of the Apocalypse

From April, the vaccination was started for anyone above 45 years of age. Papa decided to go for vaccine the very first Sunday, that was 4th of April. My mother was a little sceptic and asked him to wait as she had heard some news of some hospital giving fake vaccine or something. But, everyone including me rubbished the rumor and my father went ahead. I wish we would have listened to her. After vaccination, he was quite okay but caught mild fever by the night.

Well, that is normal after vaccine, so none of us were actually any worried. Though, we asked him to rest that day but he still went for shopping on Sunday and to office on the two subsequent days. Surprisingly, he still had fever and instead of coming down it was only rising up. Not only we all forced him to stay at home after that but also called upon doctors. Initially no one recommended a COVID test and just prescribed medicines. But, when fever still didn’t came down after two more days, we straightaway called for a COVID Test. The report came out positive, which automatically meant that we all too need the test. Also, the rest of us had also started showing symptoms by then. And after the test … we all were positive.

13th April 2021 : Search for Oxygen Begins

Life came to a standstill for us when four members were lying on four beds, just taking medicine, steam and gargle. On 13th of April Papa had his 56th birthday, awkwardly none of us even wished him as ‘Happy’ word in the Happy Birthday had no place for us at that moment.

In 2-3 days, three of us, except my father had lost the symptoms and was just having fatigue. Papa’s fever too went down, but, suddenly we came to know about this new thing called ‘Oxygen’, which in my father’s case was going below 90. We started calling all oxygen cylinders but no one had any left. My eyes fell on the newspaper after many days as I wasn’t able to read anything for last few days because of my fever and headache. I saw about the plight of the country and the acute oxygen shortage going on.

Things started going out of hand

We started searching for hospitals by calling almost every hospital but were not getting even one hospital bed in the whole city. Many doctors whom we talked with said that it’s impossible to get a bed, try curing him at home only. The situation started getting serious and we started calling almost everyone we knew in search of any oxygen. Fortunately, we got one who gave us a 10L cylinder at 13,500. We used it throughout night and by morning, it was almost empty. We knew that this game will go very long, we called for more cylinders from that guy, but wait … his price had suddenly jumped to 18000. We asked him to refill the empty one but he said that refill will also cost the same. Because, oxygen was about to finish, we had no option other than quietly taking whatever we get. During this whole episode, he was perhaps the biggest gainer as he really pulled out a huge chunk from us.

Initially, my father required oxygen for some durations, but slowly his oxygen started to remain at 80 permanently. It meant, he needed oxygen tank constantly and we needed oxygen cylinders in surplus. We got a few more sellers of the oxygen tank but the supply crunch ensured that we are calling here and there throughout in the quest for cylinders. Situation became such that despite having virus ourselves, we all had to work tirelessly. Neither were we getting any rest nor food properly, because by that time my father had become extremely weak and needed my mother to feed him. While my brother used to keep the towel around and I used to rub over his chests as he said that he felt much relieved from that.

The Pain of being Diabetic

Being a diabetic made the situation even worse for him, it meant his medication should be done through saline and injections only. After much difficulty, we arranged a compounder who used to come twice a day and do all the medications. But the story was not that simple, being diabetic means that you need to be given ‘Insulin’ injection right at your stomach. Each day he had to take around 5-6 injections and every bloody one of them made him undergo tremendous pain. Watching my father crying in pain daily, became a routine for me. I too wanted to cry but restrained myself from crying in front of him. Though, I used to fulfill my want whole-heartedly whenever I went to bath.

The compounder strictly told Papa not to lock the bathroom from inside whenever he went in because if anything adverse happens inside, no one would be able to help him, but he still used to lock the door, maybe he felt shy in keeping the door open. We somehow arranged the C-Pap machine for him (though we were , as it is supposed to help in fixing respiration. Out of weakness his voice had anyways broken down . After this machine, his real voice further got pressed inside the machine’s sound and I don’t remember his original voice anymore.

20th April 2021 …. His Last Day

Papa went to bathroom and I requested him not to close the door and fortunately, he didn’t this time. We all were waiting outside, while he sat on the Indian Toilet, but … suddenly he called us. We rushed inside and saw that he was not able to get up from there, out of weakness. Both of us held him from each side and brought him out. I don’t know why but that felt as the lowest point of my life. While he was laying down and I was rubbing his chest, suddenly he rose a bit and touched both my cheeks with his hands. His eyes were moist and I never knew that it would be the last ‘proper’ touch that I will ever receive from him.

On the very same day, we suddenly got a call from a distant relative that a hospital bed is arranged. We rushed towards my father and told him about it. He felt scared going there saying we all won’t be there, how will he manage. But, we pressed him to come citing he needed proper treatment. Sometimes, I think I should have listened to him. Anyways, we both reached the hospital with the Ambulance leaving mother at home. Registration and other formalities started quickly, while my father was taken inside the ICU. Everything happened so quickly that now I wish, I should have hugged him once for the last time.

The End is Near

I had the main doctor’s phone number. After a while, I called him to know about the condition, he called us outside the ICU. He was angry as hell and said that why have we brought him so late and his oxygen has gone below 50. He further said that the condition is extremely critical and asked us to be ‘mentally prepared’. Both of us felt as if there is nothing beneath our feet. We were sitting in the floor below. None of us including Mamma had eaten anything since morning, because of the Oxygen Emergencies that took place without any pause throughout the day. We called her and told her to eat, but she has this bad habit of not eating before feeding us.

We tried getting more updates, but weren’t able to. We also asked if we should leave to home now and will return tomorrow, but the doctor asked to wait further as my father was even serious now. All the bad thoughts possible were entering my head, despite how much I was resisting them. Then I saw my brother staring at my father’s photo in his phone, and my mind just started getting burst. Suddenly, we got a call, it was from the ICU … and we were called. No one calls someone in the ICU for updating about an improvement, so we knew what we were gonna hear. We rushed through stairs but were not able to feel my legs as our whole body was shivering knowing what we were going to hear.

And …. he was gone

We reached there and doctor came forward, moving his head slowly ‘to and fro’ and uttered the words ‘Nahi Bacha Paye hum inko’. Our heartbeats stopped for a while, I wanted to cry but my brother held me saying that we need to be strong. It being a COVID case, ensured that we got to see him only from a distance. We rushed to home fearing about Mamma who had already got the news. But, we coming from COVID ward made sure that we can’t even hug her.

I thought of crying in the bathroom, in the terrace and even while sleeping. I genuinely wanted to cry but … tears didn’t came at all. I don’t know the possible reason behind this peculiar thing. But, the most probable reason seems that I was so emotionally DRENCHED during this whole episode, already crying daily because of helplessness and fear, that there were literally no tears left inside my eyes.

A Month After HOLI

It was just around a month after Holi. On Holi, we didn’t went anywhere though, we just cooked dishes, put some colors on each other and enjoyed together. Who knew that time, that it was the last celebration we would ever be having together. Sometimes, I feel, if the world would have ended just at the Holi’s night, it would all have been perfectly all right. The only satisfaction I have today is that during PAPA’s last walk (from house to the ambulance downstairs), both of his sons were holding him by his shoulder.

Many people lose their loved ones, and are losing their loved ones. But when you lose someone like this, seeing him breaking down piece by piece, with you standing right there helplessly, not able to do anything. It not only makes you feel guilty but also breaks down your whole confidence and leaves you completely shattered from within, and I am feeling the same. I might have got Negative now, but in this journey from Positive to Negative, I lost something too precious. When he came to Ranchi after his transfer, if just I would have known then, that I only have 5 odd years with him, trust me I would have spent these 5 years very differently. Also, what could have been a better example for teaching anyone the true meaning of the lines lines “HAR PAL YAHA JEE BHAR JIYO ….. JO HAI SAMAA KAL HO NA HO”.

I hope that KAL happens one day … and in that KAL I meet you …. PAPA.

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