My encounter with SARS much before Coronavirus
I know it might hit some people hard as to how can I make a comparison of the pandemic that Coronavirus outbreak is with something that happened to me.Not even me, actually ,this happened with my best friend,my inspiration,the person I can never imagine my life without,my mum.And may be that’s why I remember the most intricate details about it.
An incident which brought my world topsy-turvy and I felt like sand slipping away from the shore of my life.
So this happened in the extreme heat of May.My exams were just about to end. Might be that was the reason my mother didn’t let me know about her ill health.On the day of my last exam ,I had not even begun to embrace the celebrations of my exams getting over,that I recieve a phone call from my younger brother who seemed quited tensed and told me that maa wasn’t well.She was weak, feverish and shivering with cold.She had taken a paracetamol in the morning,her fever went down,but rose up again.We had to take her to the hospital but she won’t go for just a high fever thing, because of the iron lady she is.Yes,she was so strong that I don’t remember a single day when she asked either of us to massage her body even when in immense pain.Infact we could never imagine anything happening to maa at all but this time it was different.Little differences that made all the difference.
I was not that terrified though and hoarded the bus next day .I jst thought monotinity of life had made things worse.Ill spend timewith her,take immense care and she’ll be fine. she was sleeping when I reached home but her face lit up as soon as she saw me.She took a sip from the bottle and then took a paracetamol and said she really wanted rest and nothing else.I changed my clothes and started preparing the lunch.I wondered it was no long that I ws making plans of meeting my family, hugging my people, spending some good time wid them before starting to fruitfully utilize my summer break that followed my semester exams.I had already made plans about morning walks,taking mom for a movie,some shopping, trying different new dishes , totally unaware that destiny had already planned my holidays.
. Shouldering all responsibilities that she’d purposefully never surrender went on fr one and half days more. Finally we decided to get her new medicines coz her condition had worsened.When she went there,the doctor immediately admitted her and finally we were a bit less worried as we knew she’d not get any better elsewhere.
But to my surprise,there also she was feverish,though the piles problem had reduced a bit.Coughing and sneezing followed by weakness was all being treated with paracetamol tablets and I found this quite disturbing.This continued for around 3-4 days until she finally gave up and wanted to escape.Her tests were normal,a chest xray was extremely normal,the doctors had no complain,no great concerns as she laid on the bed mostly sleeping , attending people usually relatives who came to meet her.I also came in the evenings after wrapping all chores and tried all households remedies I’d watch videos of,but only some worked that too for a while after which her temperature again rose exceesively.Paracetamols increased in number but there effect were only reduced to bringing her fever down for an hour or so after which she again needed tablets.Now let me tell you something important here.My mom had suffered from pneumonia long back once in her childhood,when it gripped her for around a year.Her entire body was swollen with water and it took a long time for her to heal.Then some tablets didn’t suit her,she vaguely remembered but in her mind she thought it was paracetamol.It made her so scared of these tablets ,and of sickness ,of being in the hospital that she started planning to escape asap.We had almost planned to take her somewhere else next morning.However that night she called me that she has kept an attender as she was really feeling miserable.I pleaded to come tgere and stay wid her but she plainly refused as it was already late at night.I agreed as there was atleast some one around.The next morning when we reached,she narrated the incident of how she due to the negligence of the attender she burnt her back and we were simply shocked.Doctor had advised her to sit in a warm water tub for her piles,but the attender didn’t bother abt the temperature of the hot water and my mom accidentally touched her back on the water,fell down with the reflex and then somegow came back to her bed while the attender was already attending another patient.Maa was so mch in pain that she couldn’t even complain to anyone but the nurses who gave her an ointment without properly inspecting the severity of the wound.
I felt so shattered, disgusted and ashamed the next morning that I fought to stay with her from the day on as more of her tests including ultrasounds began.I remember it was already 5 days and she just wanted to escape anyhow.She’d plead to take her anywhere,away from here but we were helpless or the high fever she had developed.But that time her body started to swell and we couldn’t take her away from the hospital in such a fragile condition.I pleaded her to wait as I sat beside her almost the entire day,gazing at her swollen face and holding her hands in the chills that fever gave her.She used to cough a lot and wake up only a few times in a day when she felt extreme heat or cold or to take medicines.She didn’t complain at all about the wound as she was always almost dizzy and nobody realized what she was going through.Not even the doctors who took it very casually.She was in the High Dependency Unit(HDU) for two full days until the night she started coughing badly,unstoppably.I asked the doctor what to do,but they simply suggested a cough syrup in addition to rhe regular paracetamols that they gave.I remember I was so disappointed and felt so helpless that everytime they’d give her two tablets, I’d hide one for the fear that when she’d see them she’d be all the more sick and afraid.
The doctor suggested the oxygen mask and went away but she started feeling very suffocated at the very beginning and would pull it off everynow and then to finally feel better.I remember sitting beside her almost awake the entire night and taking her mask off every 20 mins so that she didn’t suffocate and could sleep peacefully.That night I cried a lot for the how clueless and helpless I felt seeing the apple of my eye in such a state.
They could never find her veins properly and so most of the times when she was to be injected or when a bottle of medicine got over she had to be injected at different places over again to find the right spot.Due to this her hands were turning black and there was no space in her hands left unpierced.I felt so terrible as I watched this everytime.
The next morning I felt things were in more control as she had started to use the wheelchair but was walking today holding my hands and talking to me.I tried to make her smile and promised to take her away as soon as she recovered a bit more.
For breakfast she had bread,but asked for cashew nuts.She had started eating everything minimally but she was liking the change of taste nuts gave her until it brought about an attack of cough again.
She started coughing violently and then vommitted badly and started falling short of breath as she shivered in cold.I shouted fir help as I was so shocked and speechless .The doctor said,take her to the ICU and my heart skipped a beat.I couldn’t control anymore and started crying badly in anger ,frustration and mostly fear while collecting her stuff seeing her being taken away in a stretcher.
The next five days were no less a struggle for me.Since none of us were allowed in the ICU,my father asked me to go home and take some rest while he sat in the ICU waiting room.I called my masi,my brother who was attending college due to his exams and controlled my tears just to not let the fear of what I saw grip them.I went home,washed her clothes,my tears more in quantity than the bucket beside and then got up again cause I knew I had no choice but to remain strong.