The beeping sound of monitors, helpless moans of ailing patients, rustling of doctors’ shoes running to and fro and I: peeking through our door to get a glance of nothing less than a scene from Qayamat, the end of the world.
It was one fine day just like any other. Working as a gynae resident at one of the most prestigious institutes of the country, I was busy as per my routine in the labour room. 08:00 in the morning and I felt absolutely fine. Wearing my mackintosh I was ready to take everything the shift threw at me. By midday I felt feverish. I thought it could be the exhaustion from the heavy workload and I ignored it. By 16:00 hrs I was sweating as if I’d lose all my body water content that day. By 18 00 hrs the body aches kicked in and I realized then there was something wrong. A shiver ran down my back. Was it what I thought it was?
From my shift I went straight to get tested for Covid-19. The next day, I had a 24-hour duty.
How I spent that day only I know. And then I received a text message from my husband.
“You are positive”.
A billion thoughts rushed through my mind as I made my way to my car. The first being: What about my daughter? She’s just 1.5 years old. I went home to find my husband lying wrapped up in a blanket and the first thing that I thought was: What if he’s positive too? The next morning my husband got tested and reported positive. My symptoms were pretty bad from high fever to body aches, but I didn’t know this monster of a disease could do much worse.
My husband’s symptoms started from high fever and body aches, the same as mine for three days. On the fourth day we parted ways. God turned me to the right and I walked on the road to recovery. And God walked my husband to the left which went downhill. His fever kept sky-high despite any amount of Panadol that was ingested and then on day five he became short of breath. His oxygen saturation dropped and dropped. The readings dropped till he was no longer able to move and they dropped till he passed out. Tests were run and he was diagnosed with severe Covid pneumonia and started on oxygen therapy. I stayed up all night just to check his saturations every now and then, constantly staring at his chest to confirm that he was breathing. The bubbling of the water in his oxygen cylinder reminded me of my dead grandfather who stayed on oxygen for a good six months and it made my heart sink. Sink like it had never sunk before.
My husband was finally hospitalized and since
I was Covid-positive myself; a blessing in disguise, I was allowed to stay with him. As I was stepping into the Covid unit, it felt as if someone had taken my heart out and crushed
it in their hands
Twelve long days we spent at home in absolute misery. Eventually he had to be admitted to the hospital and that journey was one of a kind.
My husband was finally hospitalized and since I was Covid-positive myself; a blessing in disguise, I was allowed to stay with him. As I was stepping into the Covid unit, it felt as if someone had taken my heart out and crushed it in their hands. The constant voice we generally hear as doctors “hospital mei admit hua tha, wapis nai aya” echoed in my ears. I was glad we were here where he would be looked after, but at the same time, I wanted to run away. A place far away from the present. A place back in time because the future – I wasn’t sure of it any more.
The experience of that Covid unit was one that I’d never forget. I would walk around the corridors of the unit and look through doors to see suffering,pain and agony. Patients of all ages lying in prone position, crying out of pain, gasping to catch their breath. It was devastating. Heartbreaking. So much pain I had never witnessed before. I would sit on my bed, hold my breath for just two minutes and try to imagine what pain they must be going through. My husband was doing well in hospital. This time around God held his hand and turned him to the right on the road to recovery. Alhamdullilah.
That stay in the Covid unit was an awakening for my sleeping soul. It taught me patience, faith and gratitude. Every time I would see my husband’s low saturations I would say “Thank you Allah at least he’s breathing”; every time I would see him feel chest discomfort, I would think that at least he’s not on the vent; every time he would have difficulty walking I would think that at least he was walking!
That stay in the Covid unit was an awakening for my sleeping soul. It taught me patience, faith and gratitude. Every time I would see my husband’s low saturations I would say “Thank you Allah at least he’s breathing”
Soon he was discharged from the Covid unit as a warrior, nothing less, I would say. And I left with him as a completely new person.
As we walked out of the Covid Critical Care Unit I had nothing but gratitude in my heart and mind.
Gratitude to the Almighty,to the beautiful relations that He has blessed me with, to all the small things in life we usually take for granted,to life itself! Simply grateful for being alive with my husband by my side today!
This deadly disease taught me more about life than I had ever known in the past 26 years.
Life is not “I”. Life is “we,” life is “us,” life is “all of us.” Life is to give and to care and to love. Life is to remember the One who sent us here. Life is to serve His mankind. Life is to live.
Life is gratitude.