Monday, March 30, 2020

Jan hit mein Jari

So, this is a post I was never very keen to write for a variety of reasons. And I am doing it mainly because i have been asked about my experience so many times and many friends have asked me to put down my experience on paper.

I have been so petrified of everything i have read on COVID 19. I wished there was something, anything that was not scary. Hence I have just one expectation from this post. This is for that person who desparately needs to read of a case which does not scare the living daylights out of him/ her. This is also why I have tried to keep it light. Nothing about COVID 19 is funny, I know, but a good sense of humour can help make things easier, cant it?


I will never know for sure whether I had covid 19 because they are no longer testing in the UK but if I have to bet my life, my house , all my earnings on one thing then it will be that I did.

 My case would be categorised as a mild case and I am insanely grateful for that.

On the outset you will know if you have covid 19. You will know that something is very different. You will just know it. I did from the very start. The symptoms were flu like but it is NOT THE FLU.

Talking of symptoms, here are mine and how they progressed.

Day 1: Dry cough on and off, nothing that would worry me.

Day 2: I am helping my 4 year old change clothes (don't judge pls!) in the midst, simply find myself laying on the carpet, exhausted. This is weird. And completely unfamiliar but I ignore it as I am a very busy mum of two who has no time for all this dramatic laying down in the mornings nonsense.  Later I am walking on the road and feel dizzy, put it down to high heels, because why else.
But, as if to prove a point, it happens again a couple of hours later.
By afternoon the dry cough worsens and after spending a fair amount of time on the NHS website, I self isolate as per UK government guidelines. I tell myself I am over thinking it but it is best to be cautious as I select the spare bedroom and plant some supplies I don't really think i will need.

Day 3: Fever strikes and with that comes the sinking realisation that this could very well be covid 19. I call my Mum and her voice on hearing that I have a fever will remain with me. Both of us knew that that I had the virus. The 'killer virus' everyone is running away from.

Awake through the night coughing and with fever. Sleep for a bit at 4.
Cloves help. Ginger + honey helps specially with those non stop coughing bouts. Body aches in funny places that i did not even know existed. Fingers also hurt. Wrists hurt. The space between fingers hurt.
Breathing feels heavy, chest feel weird. It is NOT flu. Or if it is , it is the worst flu of my life.
I hate swearing. There are only 2 times in my life when I have. 36 hour labour with 1st kid. Brutal post op recovery from second C sec.  Have started swearing again. That makes me realise how bad this is.

Day 4,5: Shivering followed by a lot of sweating. Need paracetamol every 6 hours ( who invented paracetamol? I want to send him a thank you card with hearts on it. On second thoughts writing a card seems like too much work, will think about it later. Thinking seems like too much work too. I will think about thinking also later. Phew. Let me sleep.) .
Coughing nonstop. I stay awake nights tossing and turning. Listening to music. Weird combination of music. Love ballads from our very own Arijit Singh and lenka with some Jonas brothers thrown in.

Brain feels foggy. I have not combed my hair in 5 days but still don't feel the need for it. Combing hair is over rated. Changing clothes is over rated. I need to sleep. Sleeping is not over rated.

Everything at once will be my covid song forever.

Day 6,7: coughing continues pretty much non stop. Chills have stopped to probably once a day.  Sweating has stopped. Lungs feel heavy, every breath feels laden with something, i dont know what.. I feel like things are getting better but then the fever hits again. Need PCM everyday almost like clock work at 6:30 pm. Hate 6:30 pm. Almost feels like this insidious virus is working its way downwards. Chest also hurts when I cough. Feel extremely toxic. Don't want anyone coming within a million feet of me. Have not touched kids since i isolated. Have been talking to them through the glass walls in the door.
1)Thank God for glass walls.
2)It breaks my heart.
3)Does Covid make you all hormonal or weepy? or is it just because I am sat alone in a room not able to be around people I love, scared of what may come?
Folks from back home keep an hourly check on me, cheering everytime we see some tiny improvement. Friends from all across the world message every day. I am probably single handedly using up most of whatsapp's cloud space. Sid manages both kids.There is an outpouring of love that I am grateful for.

Day 8: No fever.(I pumped my fists in the air when i check temp at 6:30 pm and get 36.7. I don't think I have ever pumped fists like that. I want to say a loud, jubiliant 'Whoa!' but a timid frog like croak is all I can manage.) Coughing is reduced but still ridiculously frequent. Lungs feel okay. I hope I am past the worst. Then realise that using any more cloves is resulting in swollen gums. Also have completely lost voice (which husband seems inordinately pleased about from the other side of the door. Doctor Uncle from India tells me, dont talk and certainly dont shout. Husband finds that funny. He should be very glad that there is a door between us. )
Day 9: Coughing at same reduced but still high  level. Voice is beginning to come back- has this really sexy hoarse ring to it. On further investigation and opinion seeking, find that apparently I am the only one who finds it sexy. Feel deflated for a bit, but who wants a sexy voice anyway). Beginning to feel better but still feel weak. Took a walk in the room and felt like I had exercised 30 minutes with Joe Wicks (40 seconds exercise and 20 seconds break, repeat till you feel like you are dying. You would have lost 10 calories.Yay.). Head is clearer though and i begin to feel like myself. I find a comb. I still dont use it, but i keep it by my bed next to the paracetamol, ginger honey and thermometer. Good progress.

Day 10: Coughing. Feel extremely weak. Lungs feel heavy. Going to the loo makes me get slightly breathless. Anyone who asks me if i have been tested for COVID in a slightly incredulous voice will regret asking the question. DOES THIS LOOK LIKE EFFING FLU?
Keep reading that a lot of people have felt breathing problems start on day 10. SO feel quite anxious. Monitor every breath and realise that will make me go crazy. Watch some netflix. Work on my book. Knit.
The book, my 5th, has seen me through some really difficult days and I wish there was a way to say thank you to it.

Day 11: Was hoping to come out of isolation and called NHS 111 to discuss. They have suggested that because i still have the cough, best to complete my isolation of 2 weeks. 4 more days of this! Miss the kids. Okay. Miss them when i can hear them being orderly. Otherwise just put on headphones and pretend I am in college again. Have not had a lie in in almost 5 years. Maybe this is God's way of helping me. God, after all, works in mysterious ways.

Day 12: I did step out today for a bit.  Felt quite tired after about 20 minutes. Mask. Gloves.  Touched everything with an antibacterial wipe. Washed hands like 20 times in the few minutes I was out. Scream in utter horror if someone comes within 3 feet of me. I cannot imagine ever holding the kids without being utterly horrified. Covid had messed with my brains, I realise now. See myself in my head as some highly infectious person who should remain in isolation forever.

Sat in the TV room with the kids playing far from me. Older one pauses, looks at me, smiles and says ' I really feel happy that you are in the TV room, mumma'. I pretend I have something in my eye and leave hurriedly back into the safety of my isolation room.
Classic case of covid hormones.

Day 13:
So I called NHS 111, coughing is quite less, no fever for many days and now lungs and chest dont feel heavy. And they said 'YES!'
I leave my isolation room. I still feel weak, like I am returning from battle. My body feels different. But I am insanely grateful that I am fine. That I had the love and support of SO many people. That my husband took such ownderful care of our kids. I take big naps. I dont feel like speaking too much but i dont feel toxic any longer. i still dont want to hug my kids. I still recoil whensomeone walks close to me. I still yelp when my husband touches something i have touched. However time is a wonderful thing and this too shall be over soon.


I HEARD YOU said...

WoW! It's an eye opener. Your first person account of the symptoms has been really revelatory and a pretty big jolt for us back in India who are still not taking this disease seriously. The primetime news has been just flashing numbers like it's a cricket match going on. Aaj covid ke 26 run aur bane ! They've taken out the human side of those numbers. Your post was really needed. So thank you for sharing 🙏
And who could've thought my favourite blog writer would end up getting corona?! I am so glad you're fine now ! :-)
I hope your brother,sister in law and father are also taking good care of themselves. Hats off to them if they're still serving in such times!
Wish you luck:)

Unknown said...

Take care Ruchita. Sending hugs

Unknown said...


Rashmi Singhal said...

All prayers for you Ruchita and so many others suffering from this dreadful disease

Aarthy said...

You have been a warrior indeed! Everyone needs to read this and realise that its not just the aged population that is vulnerable.
Your write up totally brought out the physical and emotional difficulties that an affected person can face.
Am so glad you have recovered and like you said, time will heal the mental agonies that still remain.
Thank you so much for this post and take care!

Dr Neelam Tewari said...

Glad that you have recovered Ruchita, more than physical it's an emotional turmoil and numbness a patient feels when isolated. Your write-up is definitely going to be of help to many. It's going to break the myth that only elderly are more prone to get affected by CoronaVirus. More power to you girl'. Much love and hugs. Best wishes for the complete recovery.

Vijay said...

Congratulations and my admirations on your recovery. Couple of Qs though:
1. Was paracetomol the only medicine you took? Does NHS advise any other medicine?
2. Any idea how you got infected? Were you taking all the precautions before you got the infection?


King said...

Congratulations ma'am on recovery, stay healthy, stay safe and happy.
And thanks for giving us such beautiful works to read, I am from India and bored of the lockdown and randomly came across ur work- Someone to love and just now finished reading it, really helps making the lockdown bearable.
And again stay safe happy and healthy and thanks

Rajeev Mishra said...

Take Care, Eat Well

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