Yesterday, I completed the compulsory isolation period of one week after returning from a 12-day hospital stay for moderate covid treatment with Oxygen support as lung involvement/pneumonia had developed. Prior to this, one week was the home treatment protocol, when I was detected Covid positive. In fact, isolation had started even a few days earlier to test reports being received on the slightest hint of symptoms when lots of my office staff were reporting positive.
So it was a day of Special Gratitude, although Gratitude has been the attitude since the beginning.
Gratitude, that it was only me in the family, who tested positive and rest were spared by the Grace of God.
Gratitude, that my infection did not spread to them as good sense somehow prevailed and I isolated early at home.
Gratitude, that we had the advice of an experienced Covid physician and the support of my doctor sister to navigate this journey.
Gratitude, that one of our helpers had just been through Covid with the mild disease a fortnight back and by the time it struck our home, he was free from Covid and non-infectious and offered to stay with us and take care of household chores while other part-time helpers could not be called as our family was quarantined and advised to stay home.
Gratitude, that so many people who had just navigated the disease advised me to watch the symptoms and take early or timely action.
Gratitude for my former Boss, who brought to my notice the 6 min walk test, when I told her about my becoming Covid positive on 20th April, when not many knew about this test and were simply monitoring resting oxygen saturation readings. This information became a lifesaver for me because when my oxygen dropped to 84 even on going to the washroom for 5 minutes, I knew it was time to seek a hospital bed.
“Gratitude to God that good sense prevailed and I was aware that I had to perceive how I was feeling from inside and not just rely on the readings of the thermometer or oximeter or what the predicted course of the disease would be.”
Gratitude to God that good sense prevailed and I was aware that I had to perceive how I was feeling from inside and not just rely on the readings of the thermometer or oximeter or what the predicted course of the disease would be.
As soon as I felt pain in my chest worsening and on regularly inspecting the sputum coming out on coughing, noticed that from yellow to greenish-yellow it was now coming out tinged with blood, I somehow knew that I would be requiring hospitalisation. Search for a hospital bed and mental preparation for the hospital stay could thus be started.
Gratitude that CT and blood tests were done on the correct number of days from start of symptoms so that medications, mainly intravenous steroids, and remdesivir could start and control the infection. I am finding out now that if there is a delay in hospitalisation, the course of Remdesivir cannot be given or does not have any benefit. Timely use of steroids also saves lung function from irreversible deterioration.
Gratitude, that being a Government Servant, I was able to find a bed in the best public hospital in Delhi, even if it was in the general ward.
Gratitude, that when the lonely journey of test of my faith in my God and his will for me started, as my husband dropped me at the hospital emergency and I was taken inside on a wheelchair, I had the blanket of prayers, love, and concern of so many loved ones, well-wishers and friends accompanying me to the Covid isolation ward.
Gratitude and faith in the medical professionals and care-givers in the hospital. That despite their cumbersome PPE kits and exhausting duties attending to the heavy patient load at the time of the peak of the most virulent wave, they were dealing with us so patiently and professionally without discrimination or favour to anyone.
“if I could bring my more than 10 years of Yog practice into practical benefit in the hospital situation where I was tied up to the bed, with the oxygen pipe like an umbilical cord.”
Gratitude, that I was able to keep my wits about me and focus my energies into assisting what the medications and doctors were doing. I remembered to be calm, talk less, recollect what I knew about infection affecting the body and try if I could bring my more than 10 years of Yog practice into practical benefit in the hospital situation where I was tied up to the bed, with the oxygen pipe like an umbilical cord. I realised that I should be avoiding sugary food like cookies and juices which could increase the secondary infections.
I have advised my neighbours also accordingly because the concerned families were sending over packed juices and cookies and other snacks for their family members in the hospital. While most of them were on steroids, their sugar levels were already higher than normal. I tried to adopt a few relaxing yoga body postures while in bed, like sitting in a butterfly pose of legs so that chest and groins are opened and relaxation and calm of Baddhakona asana with back supported by inclined bed & pillows, opens the chest and pelvic area to give relief from chest pain, tightening and causes stomach & intestines and nerves to relax, aided with application of ayurvedic massage oil.
Gratitude for the jovial Ward boys ,who sometimes joked with the patients to make the mood lighter and bring a sense of homeliness to the tense and nervous environment. Gratitude for my neighbouring patients, who kept a watch on me and guided me about how to seek assistance from the care-givers, when I newly arrived in the Covid ward and also to the new entrants, who gave me the opportunity to help them similarly.
Gratitude, that this stay in a public hospital general ward made me realise that it is most imperative that we citizens demand from our Government better healthcare facilities in a public setup and ensure that our medical fraternity working in public setup, who are the most competent doctors & nursing staff, are given best training, best facilities, timely recruitment and promotions and the respect that is due to them from the bureaucracy and public.
In my humble opinion, in a country like India merely making five-star hospitals and a private insurance-based hospitalisation model will not be an effective solution. The citizens have to make the Government & Politicians accountable for what matters the most.
“Also have to channelise my inner strength and energy into healing myself consciously with positive thoughts to calm emotions and not get agitated and succumb to fear of the disease and the worst that could happen.”
I experienced that my unwavering faith in the Universal Soul or the Supreme being, whatever form one may visualize it, made me face the diagnosis with courage and a sense of responsibility for my own healing with the assistance of the doctors and medicines. I felt that my God is there holding my hand through this like my father and mother would when I was young; and whatever he has decided for me, I am under his protection and should accept his will. If the doctors and the medications are trying to heal me then I also have to channelise my inner strength and energy into healing myself consciously with positive thoughts to calm emotions and not get agitated and succumb to fear of the disease and the worst that could happen.
“I know of, have had panic reactions and gone into a traumatic state and stopped eating well and this has probably led to further complications in their disease prognosis.”
I firmly believed that this attitude helped me in remaining upbeat in the hospital and in early recovery from covid pneumonia. I also observed that other patients who were doing prayers or listening to spiritual music were calm and composed and recovered well. A few youngsters, I know of, have had panic reactions and gone into a traumatic state, and stopped eating well and this has probably led to further complications in their disease prognosis. Prayers for the souls we have bid goodbye to this pandemic.
“Veena Joshi is an officer of Indian Revenue Service and presently posted as Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi. She practices Iyengar Yoga, upcycle and create beautiful objects of household use. Her interest lies in Indian Arts and Philosophy. In this present article she defines her near-death experiences due to prevailing pandemic and the unfathomable power of faith and gratitude.Her motivation and continuous strive to cross the threshold of death is an inspiration for everyone.We at InnoHEALTH are happy to be her platform for the numerous people who are still fighting for their life in this new normal.”