Gurmeet Singh Bekraar
I inquisitively tilted my head to the left. A bizarre sound of body patting echoed synchronously in the surroundings. In that Covid ward of Govt. Hospital, I along with my better half, having been bitterly bugged by Corona virus, vituperatively called as COVID-2019, were admitted.
In that assumingly unpropitious ward exclusively meant for COVID patients, no one could prognosticate what lay ahead in the coming moments. The doomed death twirled a macabre dance day and night around the half-dead laid covid patients. Time rolled back; on 30th April all of my family members fell prey to COVID when a horrific message flashed on my cell phone at 01:30 A.M. that we all are tested positive. Next day, X-rays showed severe infection in my wife’s lungs. We immediately rushed her to the Govt. Hospital.
We both got admitted in the same hospital. As a matter of fact, I should have not been there. My oxygen reading was 94 which is a normal level. I was there to instil a fighting spirit in my wife’s otherwise sagging morale. In the late evening as the natural light dimmed outside, fluorescent tubes grew brighter inside the ward. Likewise, the sound of body patting too grew louder. It is actually a physiotherapy exercise to increase oxygen level in the body for instant upgradation.
At around 8 p.m., an elderly couple, who must have been in there 70’s, from the neighbouring district, walked in to next bed of mine. The lady limped while walking. Her husband was diagnosed Corona positive. No one was with them. The thought of their loneliness while the lady barely managed to walk, shuddered me within.
Few bubbles of tears ballooned up in the socket of my eyes as I watched their harrowing helplessness, simultaneously realizing my own compunctious helplessness to assist them. By 9 P.M., I made up my mind to vacate the bed. I knew patients far more critical than me were waiting down in the emergency section to be shifted to COVID ward. When I asked a Doctor on duty to discharge me, he advised me that I should get discharged next morning. I somehow felt annoyingly squirming in my bed. I again entreated Doctor to discharge me right now. Luckily, change of mind, he acquiesced to my request and took down an undertaking from me that I am leaving the hospital at my own will and risk.
Once home on the very next day, I developed a minor cough in my throat. I rushed to get my X- Ray done which revealed a mild chest infection. The very next day I hastened to drive myself to CD hospital where Doctors had my CT scan done. They prescribed few medicines and advised me to go home and get quarantined as I needed no hospitalisation.
My kids who had mild symptoms of Corona were treated with the help of my Doctor friend’s consultation on phone. As my treatment went on, my weakness grew mani fold. Even little errands like going to washroom seemed an arduous task. Sometimes my oxygen level dipped below normal after a little exertion like walking few steps. On the other hand, my wife had toughest time of her life. One night she made a distressed call at 3 A.M., she sounded horrifically disoriented and implored me to take her out of this hospital. Before I could react, she hung up the phone. After few minutes, her sister rang me up.
Sobbing hysterically, she beseeched my permission to take her out. I had no reason to say no yet clouds of doubt hovered over my head for the simple reason that situation across the country at that time was too frightening as the oxygen supply had suddenly fell short to the tsunami rise of COVID second wave patients. For few moments, I realised that I was miserably mired in a queer quandary. Many a time it happens that when you are cornered from all directions, you surrender yourself to the fate. What actually happened was a death took place in front of her which blasted her morale to shreds. She was hallucinated to conclude that it was now her turn to go. Later, a doctor friend’s advice not to leave the hospital at any cost did wonders.
Back home I was woefully writhing in a ‘wreaking havoc’ weakness to the extent that chatting on phone for a minute drained all energy out of me. Negative feelings popped up their titanic tentacles as if to choke me to an oceanic floor bed. I was forced by my frail body and a delirious state of mind to question myself whether I shall ever be normal again? However, the only ray of hope which rekindled all my other decimated hopes was a singular thought: that my wife’s suffering at the hospital was million times more than me!
After a week, she was discharged from the hospital after her oxygen level improved and tested negative for COVID. Back home I managed to come out of my room for the first time since I was waylaid by COVID to welcome her at the gate. If merely a thought of her fight with CORONA could rejuvenate me, then why not a war with CORONA be waged and won by all of us!
Gurmeet Singh Bekraar