It’s mid-March, we are ONE YEAR in and we’re far away yet!

Since Feb 17, when I left you with in the midst of those virus-filled days of doom till now, it’s been a straight road. Ha, anything but!

All because you wake up to the papers that allude to the psychologically negative impact of the “New C” upon patients long after recovery. The possibility of a relapse – under constant research as no one size fits all with this illness – keeps one ensconced at home for as long as possible. The fear of stepping out! You peruse articles that take you through the recovery phase of COVID patients with the caveat that you’re looking at a three-month recovery period and in the case of the worse-afflicted, years on end. You are greeted with headlines that alarm of the rising numbers in the state – 25, 320+ new cases – nay, the city, nay – wait for it – your suburb. My neighbour catches it; two friends alike, and a close family friend is no more. It’s really not just out there anymore, it’s here, it’s home, it’s not going anywhere for quite a while. 

Pin it on the train travel, shall we? The overflowing wedding parties, more likely? As officials ponder, the young and the reckless, well, the middle-aged and old alike – mask-less, frivolous, lawbreakers – go about town, painting it COVID. You have new strains emerge and spread, novel symptoms such as gastrointestinal difficulties say hey, the efficiency of vaccines are under the microscope while jabs are all the rage. Speaking of, my two senior folk are ready to CO-WIN the world over! 

As for me, their COVID recovering progeny: “There’s a glow on your face” and “It’s lovely to see you smiling and healthy,” say friends on video. Why, thank you! I owe it all to my daily tryst with my steam inhaler. Staying indoors and rest, too. Here’s how it went down post Feb 17: 

  • Headaches are a companion! As are the daily 9 am calls from the Municipal Corporation, Pune at that, to check on my status. A recorded message which pushes all your buttons, literally! 
  • A week into it and the doc recommends a CT scan of the chest, and a D Dimer to rule out the presence of a serious blood clot. Clear! Just continue with the meds and it should be fine.
  • 10-day medications are done. Course completed, what next? Headaches don’t want to bid me farewell and a spur of itchiness, runny nose, sneezing and coughing, and sleeplessness, accompany. Anti-allergy meds are back and a syrup to ease the cough and cold, too. Another 5 days, we power on. It’s close to three weeks since the symptoms and two since COVID brought its positivity.
  • Isolation is done after two weeks but the distance and the sanitisation is kept intact. My compulsive trait notwithstanding, or maybe a tad. 
  • The cold is flowing with abandon through the nasal passages and brings mild fears of an extended COVID. Especially since near and dear ones relayed their experience of being out of the woods in five days, some a week, but not more. 
  • Finally, Mar 2 is the end of all medication. Praise God. The headaches phase out and health seems to pick up. Save for a sudden blaze of red glory when the left eye shoots up and reacts terribly to the cold within. Like someone had scratched it with their bare nails, mum relayed, after she patched it up for the night. Could just be the sinus issues flaring up; medical marvels seldom cease!
  • A few days of recovering and distancing indoors carries on, with slight breathlessness after any activity that is now deemed “strenuous.” Headaches and the runny nose are sporadic. 
  • Day of reckoning: Mar 7 marks three weeks since my COVID test… the Michael household is officially COVID-clear. Dad’s been through four tests to this date!! All negative. Mum’s had two, with the same outcome. God’s graces. The euphoria to be able to hug mum immediately, for dad to pat me on the head now, for all three to not have to tiptoe around one another anymore in the space that is home… Joy!

The road to recovery is an uncertain one for a COVID patient. Unpredictable, as it is for anyone. All I can do is:

  • Stay put right through Easter and get stronger mentally, most importantly. 
  • Stick to the home remedies and rise up.
  • Read and do the crossword daily. Thank you mum for that ingrained habit. 
  • Immerse myself in work, housework, family, friends. Go back to scriptures and Lenten Missions – that our
    parish held virtually – a source of peace. 
  • Keep reading up on the one subject I would like to ignore: COVID and its components – those CT values
    (cycle threshold level indicative of the viral load on a positive report) always get the better of me.
  • Gain more insight on the virus and its spectrum of effects, through videos such as these: Part 1 and Part 2. by my dear friend, Fr. Roy Pereira – Creighton University’s Heider Chair. He sings in these, too!!
  • Write! My solace. 

As we look back upon the year gone by and forward to the one ahead, we stare in awe that we’ve come this far and we’re still so far. Rising numbers in the country – India records its highest spike at 24, 882+, Italy goes into a lockdown, and President Biden announces Jul 4 will be independence from COVID. We hope, we believe, we pray.

Or, we wish for the best. We think positive; wait, negative. Umm… that’s it, back to my book, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. A must-must, I concur. Hilarious wit and ingenuity in a classic telling.