Life in isolation- A short journey of a Covid patient by Shaibal Nandi

The second wave of Corona virus in India has fallen so heavily that it exceeded daily infection and total infection rate of first wave in the year 2020 and so far highest in the world.

The second wave of Corona virus in India has fallen so heavily that it exceeded daily infection and total infection rate of first wave in the year 2020 and so far highest in the world. The spread of Corona virus this time is very high in few States of India including West Bengal. People are being suffering heavily by losing their life, family and livelihood.

My family includes myself and my wife Anupama. We both are in government service. As we are both working as frontline workers, we are to attend office on regular basis. In spite of outside exposure, we were safe and were leading our normal life. Apart from government job, I took photography as a passion and therefore, I along with one of my friend planned to go outside Kolkata for photography purpose. Airport authority has made negative corona testing report mandatory for all passengers for availing flight. In the meantime, my wife was feeling of having temperature with cough. So, we decided to undergo RT PCR test for both just before my proposed tour. Her report came positive. As an immediate action, I had to cancel my trip and concentrated on her treatment and care.

Though Anupama was mentally prepared that she might be affected from corona at any point of time, still there was an initial setback for few minutes. However, we recovered the shock and put focus on her treatment without any delay. At first our bedroom was selected for her isolation room which is having attached toilet. She was having only mild fever, body ache and cough. She is actually asthma patient since her childhood which was our primary cause of concern.  The doctor was consulted over phone and he prescribed medicines and suggested few blood tests. He also asked for complete isolation, simple diet containing more vitamins and protein and inhale water steam through mouth and nose as many times as she can. 

In the initial reaction, Anupama was little bit morose thinking she had to confine in a room for 24 hours for at least 14 days. However, she accepted it as there was no option. In this situation my role was crucial. I had to take care of her from outside, prepare food, clean house and manage other pretty household affairs. It seemed to me that I am in a battle field where I am the sole soldier who has to win the battle.

After taking first dose of medicines, fever did not relapse further and she was only complaining cough. I used to prepare soup, fish with minimum spices, chicken etc. during this period. In first two days I was watched that she was recovering. She was spending her time by watching television, reading newspaper, books, listening music and taking rest when got tired. Only thing is that we had to be extra cautious while providing her food, water and health drink, etc. so close contact could be avoided. Interestingly, she took up painting to spend her time qualitatively rather than always watching TV and sleeping. It seemed after 7 days that she recovered remarkably.

After initial period is over, I found few external changes in her. She was not having any health related issues but it seemed to me that sometimes she became little bit unmindful and responded late in replying to me as if she was not in this world. Sometimes, she looked at outside through the window blankly. When I called her by her name, she did not respond promptly.  Sometimes, she was watching me helplessly doing all household works and cursing her. She used to say “my watch has stopped functioning and stuck at the same position. No phone calls, no target to be achieved and no workload….it seemed to me that I am in a desert and my eyes only find sand and sand….” Such psychological changes of her made me worried. The doctor stated that it happened in few cases where the patients were very active in their daily life and this confinement made them psychologically depressed. It is very temporary phase. Apart from the above problem, there was no other health related issues except weakness. After 5-6 days of infection, she became physically very weak and preferred to spend time in sleep.

The doctor was right. Anupama was recovering steadily over the times. Our sweeper used to come daily and cleaned her room wearing PPE kit. Similarly, one nurse was attached with her to look after her as and when required. The nurse served her food, gave her medicines and helped her in managing routine affairs like changing bed sheet, setting steam machine and other works as necessary from time to time. The nurse always used PPE kit while entering her room for her safety.

During her isolation period, I used to observe her from outside and discussed her physical conditions, pretty household matters, sharing humorous stories so that she does not feel isolated. Most of the time we used mobile phone for such conversation or I used to sit in our living room and chat with her. I always boosted her up to keep her mental strength. After 14 days she came outside her room and went to our small balcony breaking her isolation…she was so happy and relieved. Her isolation period was over and her test report was this time negative.

One day during isolation period she said “we are so close still so physically apart that we can’t touch each other”. Those words struck my mind and I felt that she was like a little bird confined in cage and wanted to fly desperately but couldn’t as her wings did not support her to fly. During this isolation period, I have seen her in different moods and I felt that I would lose some rare moments of her life, if I could not capture those moments through my lens. Her depression, weakness, gloomy smile, helpless look, pain…. put a huge impact in my mind. I thought it is important for us to capture her moods in this crucial time which may be a good documentary value in our family life. Then I started clicking and this photo story was made. At present, she has joined her office and started work again in combating covid and related works with her fellow officers. Vaccination programme for frontline workers are going on under her leadership.

About Shaibal Nandi

He is an amateur photographer of age about 53 years practicing photography seriously for last 3 years. By profession he is in government service and has taken up photography as a passion. He has very little knowledge about photography before and started with Nikon D5200 with 18- 140 mm Nikon lens. Presently he is using Nikon D850. He is basically interested in street photography with human interest, different rituals, cultures, traditions of people across the country. Beside those, he also like creative and abstract works. His works have been published in few international sites and magazines. His social media links are given below.

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