GUEST POST BY SMITA RAMANI
Sadly, the virus has touched every home out there, directly or indirectly. For many, the stress and anxiety after testing positive AND the fear for the safety of their family, have proved to be a big hurdle while trying to overcome the physical symptoms. We are surrounded by constant reminders of the destruction this virus can cause, and living in constant fear and anxiety seems to have become a norm. Like many of you across the country, my last few weeks have gone by in a state of despair and disbelief. Millions have been shattered beyond repair while a fortunate few like me and my family were able to come out of it unscathed.
In a small effort to try and calm anxious minds or offer moral support, I began sharing my COVID experience when I and my whole family, right from my 14 month old baby to my 65 year old in-law, were infected with this fast spreading virus. The response I received was overwhelming, especially from parents, who have been in a constant state of fear and panic, fuelled by grim reminders all around us and also the misinformation floating on social media.
Firstly, I would like to begin with the statistics which tell us that less than 10% of all COVID cases in India need hospitalization, while the rest 90% can be managed from home. Secondly, the reason behind this write up is to remind ourselves, not to panic and not to fixate on the worst. Keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass.
Within a span of three weeks my husband of 40 years, my son who is a little over a year, my daughter of 7 years, my mother-in-law of 65 years and myself of 36 years, all tested positive at different times. We were in home quarantine for a total of 28 days as a family.
My husband and I had the usual – fever, sore throat, extreme fatigue, body ache and loss of appetite. The extreme weakness was the hardest to cope with and it took about a week to ten days for us to regain our strength.
My mother-in-law, who we were most concerned about, surprisingly, had the least symptoms of us all. She had taken only her first vaccination shot before she was tested positive. She had a slight cold and minor digestive issues for about 2 to 3 days. So, not sure what helped – the vaccine or her strong immune system. We were just glad that she did not suffer too much, and she recouped sooner than we had anticipated.
As is the case of every parent, the health and safety of our kids was of utmost concern, especially since my son had just turned one. Fortunately, when my husband tested positive, I had immediately gotten in touch with my pediatrician and a few other parents whose kids had tested positive previously. They reassured me that most kids react much better to the virus and are way more resilient than the other age groups. For the majority of kids, their system reacts to the virus just like a normal flu. So thankfully, I was at least a little mentally prepared, when my son, tested positive. The initial 2 days he ran a fever every 6 hours. Apart from that he was mostly active. But, on the third day, he developed diarrhea and loss of appetite. Yet, he was active, which was a big relief. He refused most solid foods for two straight days, but I tried to keep him hydrated and nourished with fluids. After about 4 days of these symptoms, my son was a whole lot better by day 5. On day 6 he was back to his usual self. I was constantly in touch with our pediatrician throughout this ordeal.
My daughter was the last one to show symptoms. For her, the only symptom was fever every 6 hours and a little bit of tiredness on and off due to the fever. These lasted for about 3 days, post which she was, thankfully, back to her usual healthy self.
A few pointers that we learnt and that helped us to cope with stress and attack of the new variant and successfully get through 28 days of home quarantine, without transferring the virus to anyone outside the home, are as follows:
I know we’ve been told this on repeat, but this IS the MOST EFFECTIVE WAY to stop the spread. Unfortunately for us, we couldn’t isolate effectively due to a small baby, so, it spread to all of us. But, if you are able to isolate completely, that is the best way to protect the rest of your family.
If you have a COVID positive case in your house, it is critical you wear a mask, INSIDE THE HOUSE, at all times. As stated by many reports, wearing a mask cuts down the risk of the virus passing on by one person to another by 95%.
Separate and sanitize utensils, clothes, waste, etc. of the affected person from the rest of the house. Wear disposable gloves while handling these items.
Whether an adult, elderly or a child is affected by the virus, it is imperative to consult a doctor and follow their advice.
The new variant is more elusive than the parent. Remember that COVID symptoms can appear later. So, if you have already got a negative report but are still experiencing symptoms, go test yourself again, after a few days, all the time while isolating yourself until you receive your reports. Both, my mother-in-law and I tested ourselves twice. Though we had symptoms, our reports were negative the first time, but turned positive when we tested ourselves a few days later.
Make sure you are a responsible member of not just your family but also of the society. Follow all COVID and quarantine protocols to make sure you don’t pass on the virus to others around you. Eg. In our apartment complex, the garbage collection protocols are different for COVID positive homes. So, find out what the protocols are in your area and follow the same. Also, other members, even if negative, of a quarantined home should NOT step out during the entire quarantine period, as there may be a possibility that they could be carrying the virus around.
This I would emphasize on especially when others around you are also unwell and you are the caretaker. Many times we put our health on the back burner, especially us moms. So, remember to take care of yourself as well, take your multivitamins/medications, wash and sanitize your hands often, and get as much rest as possible. Reach out to family and friends whenever you feel anxious or overwhelmed. Don’t panic, don’t lose hope, but, stay calm. Both your body and your mind have to be healthy for you to be there for your family. So, in the midst of caring for others, don’t forget YOU!
Well, that was my story and my experience. I hope that reading this will help you get over the fear of taking that test and finding out its result. I hope that it will open your mind to a different ending to your COVID story. I hope that it will give you strength and remind you not to panic, or lose hope but stay calm all throughout.
I truly believe that one can be a listening ear to those around. During these turbulent times, you could probably help them by offering support or strength to get through them. If you think this write up could help someone get through these trying times, do forward the same to spread the message.
For anyone who has any further questions about my experience, or in case you are just feeling anxious and want someone to talk to, you can reach out to me on [email protected]
Till then, take care and stay safe!!!
About the Author
A mom of two and a true blue Bengalurean at heart, Smita Ramani professionally works for a digital marketing firm. Her hobbies are writing, reading and travelling. She is deeply passionate about causes that empower women to achieve their true potential.