Surviving COVID-19 – an experience of Belief and Faith
“…I have gone thru a sea of emotions … first four days was having extremely high fever, cramps as never experienced before, body ache, and headache like never encountered earlier in life. I had no strength even to get up and have medicine, water, or meal. Though by the 5th-day fever reduced, new symptoms surfaced - sore throat, cold, blocked nose, and breathlessness... as I read a message about friend succumbing to the covid on the sixth day, my own condition of sleep-apnea triggered mortal scare, for a moment making me senseless, shivering, scared, and all alone in a dark room – characterized my state. I could not sleep the whole night, with severe body ache. I turned on the TV to hear about the rising second wave and increased mortalities. Today is my eighth day, and I am feeling much better...” shared my friend Mayur Satyavrat on the 10th of April. With fantastic support from his wife Vinita, who became a full-time caregiver on those trying days, they conquered the corona.
Little did I know that three days later - within a span of 24-48 hours, all five of us at home would be racked with similar anxiety. My son tested positive for the virus, and it took another two days to establish that four of us were covid positive. My younger son was spared, to become our primary caregiver.
At the outset, I must admit that an understanding of the Upanishadic adage ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पूर्णमुदच्यते । पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥ has biased my thinking over the years. “That is a whole, this is the whole, from a whole, the whole arises; after taking away from the whole, the whole remains.” A fruit plucked from a tree neither dents the wholesomeness of the tree nor lost its wholesomeness. Similarly, a seed is not just a part of the fruit but also a whole, capable of becoming a tree ready to bear thousands of fruits. In the same vein, every cell of our body is whole and capable of self-renewal, and the collection of body cells having the wisdom to heal the body. Medical interventions brought with fragmented understanding are incapable of deciphering the laws of nature.
I promptly refused to take any of the dozen medicines prescribed by a doctor in line with my belief; for, my symptoms were minimal even though I had just been declared RTPCR +ve. Operating bias being – these were premature interventions hindering the natural healing process and may cause more complications. My son unquestionably believed in the medical advice and took a similar set of medicines that I refused; the opposite approaches worked for both of us.
Belief and faith are the most powerful and positive constructs that aid a person when (s)he acts in alignment with that. My journey was not without hiccups and complications. By the eighth day, the dry cough and effort it took to breathing signaled a choking from within. It was scary to face death from close quarters. I remained calm through self-belief, readiness to face reality, with an element of surrender. Satya Nadella, in his memoir ‘Hit Refresh,’ has said, "If you could understand impermanence deeply, you would develop more equanimity. You would not get too excited about either the ups or downs of life.” In those moments, that resonated very well.
That night the pronal breathing techniques aided increase in the oxygen saturation. The next day, we visited a corporate hospital. At that time, all the basics (blood pressure, oxygen saturation, temperature, diabetic tendencies) indicated good health, a battery of tests, including a CT scan, indicated inconsistencies for which the hospital team was keen on hospital admission and start Remdesivir based medication. We opted to refuse the treatment (one signs a form Leaving Against Medical Advice) and instead banked on the advice of an accomplished doctor with a 30-year experience in infectious diseases, who prescribed a few pills and home recovery. His expertise, blessings of well-wishers, my caregivers' hard work, and a week later, the set of 5 tablets aided the body’s recovery very effectively.
Perhaps the virus impact was low, or maybe I was lucky, but the month gone by brought moments of flirtations with life & death. Did the equanimous view- at least momentarily held, save me? Or was I so immersed in life that the death hesitated? One may never know the precise answer.
The so-called second wave has unleashed trying times for us. The panic, anxiety, and death are widespread. Negative emotions and peace-shattering news is emerging from everywhere. The greed, indifference, and professional compromises have made most of us helpless. I hope in these difficult times, you are in touch with your own positive core and not falling prey to the surfeit of (mis)information and pseudo-expert advice.
With best wishes