Winning health back from Covid

Two asymptomatic ladies recall their ‘positive’ days in-home quarantine, writes Kulsum Mustafa

They are not related, in fact they both have never even seen each other, they live in two different parts of Lucknow. What binds them together are a number of similarities. Both are in their mid fifties, they were asymptomatic before they tested positive and were taken aback when they tested Covid-19 positive, both opted for home isolation, the relatives and home workers of both who are staying in the same house as them have tested negative, both have defeated the deadly Covid-19 in two weeks and last but not the least both agree that the Uttar Pradesh Health Directorate team is providing excellent to cases of home isolation well.

Meet Farah Naqvi who tested Covid-19 positive when she went in for the mandatory procedure which she had been following whenever she had to accompany her husband, Kazim for his chemotherapy. She has been asymptomatic, except for a slight sore throat. Kazim and domestic help tested negative. So while Farah immediately went in for home isolation in the ground floor, Kazim shifted to the first floor with their daughters. The day after the positive report a medical team visited her, gave her the required medicines, downloaded the home isolation app on which they would monitor her parameters. They also tested everyone in the vicinity and there was also a municipality driven cleaning up drive in the area.

The second lady a symptomatic positive case is of Lalita Pradeep, additional director, primary education, Uttar Pradesh. Surprisingly Lalita had been strictly following all safety norms. In fact in all her social media posts she had been appealing to everyone to follow strictly the safety rules which included wearing masks, social distancing, and using immunity boosters. She also regularly followed a disciplined yoga regime and asked others also to do so.

But it was after she returned from a official visit to a nearby village on October 1, that she felt fatigue coupled with a mild cough that had a peculiar sensation. When the CMO office was informed a team of health Care workers reached her home and conducted Rapid Antigen test on her, son Tanmay and domestic help Pawan. Only Lalita tested positive. Further RT-PCR. Was also positive.

She took some books, laptop, chargers etc. and isolated herself in her well-lit and highly ventilated bedroom. In fact she also cordoned off the adjacent smaller room with chairs covered with a bio-degradable plastic bags, to enhance safety. It was here that her food was placed daily.

Both Farah and Lalita though caught off guard took stock of the situation fast. They quickly made arrangements on phone.

Both are full of praise of the government health machinery who took care of them through these two weeks which included follow-ups

“Throughout my two week quarantine period I was closely monitored by the CMO office. There were three to four calls a day and I was asked if needed hospitalization said Lalita

“I receive four calls a day from different sections and they ask all questions pertaining to the symptoms, advise what I should take, “said Farah who was being looked after by her daughters from a safe distance.

Though outwardly brave the two confess negative thoughts plagued them throughout and at times they wept at this helpless situation where your dear ones also have to stay far.

“While we housewives  crave for free time believe me this isolation was killing and highly depressing. Had it not been for my family and friends who kept calling time would never have passed, Said Farah adding that she filled the time catching up with reading, a hobby she had totally given up due to work pressures.

For Lalita it was more difficult, she was worried about those whom she could have infected during her work, she was also concerned about half a dozen sub-staff working at home, moreover she was deeply anxious how her 75 plus mother was coping with this news. Although Pawan kept his deceptive calm and started managing on logistics, arranging money to pay staff salary, the escalated kitchen budget medicines and calling people to
stay away.

During the illness, she did not want to neglect her official work. So she conducted her sessions on National education Policy as well. She also completed her two assignments on her Course for which she is enrolled with IIEP, Paris, and met her deadlines of Module 1.

But this confinement taught Lalita the biggest lesson of her life –self dependence and waste management. From a Covid 19 patient room nothing can go out it is a one way traffic. So just in a couple of days there was a lot accumulation of service utensils in her room. Pawan started serving food in disposals, but storing them was an issue besides she had to find place for steam-machine & electric kettle. Lalita lined up the big her Laundry basket with plastic. The disposal were washed, wiped and than stacked neatly in the bin.

“This way my room was clean and odour free. A big relief for a person who is a patient but also has to do all work of cleaning, washing clothes not for a day or two, but two full weeks. No care givers,” said Lalita.

But Lalita could not afford to get disheartened. She had to take things in her grip and send no signal to the her two boys- Tanmay and Pawan that she was feeling low.

“I discovered a spot from where I could get the morning Sun. I sipped my tea, did video chats with Tanmay an animated walking “Home Isolation App.” Questions were about fever, cold, coughing, tiredness, oxygen level, throat, any pain etc Both these young boys came on video call, and said strongly, “We are not going anywhere. We are here with you. We will look after you, the way it is possible.”

“I used to get calls from CM Helpline, Covid Control Room, DM Control room etc.. The number of such calls was generally 4-6 in a day. Each time, but questions were same. You expect me to fill all info there every day, and I never see any connection between your interview and the information I have filled up?”

“Example of Peoples thoughtfulness is etched in my heart. There was this lady teacher who came all the way and left with Pawan a packet containing  Aloe Vera juice, corona kit, and Giloy juice.”