A battle with Covid-19, unassailable personal loss and a second chance at life

Raghuvir Gakhar

My life changed within 15 days as COVID-19 hit home in the month of April, leaving me with a fragile body and a pain of personal loss. While I have been blessed with a second life after spending 10 days under critical care at the hospital, my father was not so lucky, and succumbed to the virus during the same period. My COVID-19 ordeal can be chronicled as a near-death experience. Here I share the details of how my Covid episode unfolded.

It was on 14th April, 2021 when I first experienced coronavirus symptoms including mild fever and weakness, followed by body aches. As soon as I returned home, I isolated myself and began monitoring body temperature and SPo2 levels. I got the RTPCR test done the very next day. While I was still awaiting my test results, my condition was stable, and I continued home isolation.

After three days of getting tested, my results came back as positive. My temperature hadn’t come down but I was doing fine. It was on the ninth day after getting the first symptoms that my situation began to deteriorate. My body temperature was still higher than normal and my oxygen level was dropping rapidly.

Alarmed by my condition, my family, friends and colleagues immediately started looking for a bed in hospitals. Since it was the peak time in Delhi, it was impossible to find a bed anywhere. We went to a private hospital and waited three to four hours only to get our hopes thwarted. After long hours of search, my office managed to find a bed at a nursing home with seven to eight hours of oxygen supply left.

My condition was only getting worse by the minute as the SPO2 level reached 79 the next day. Feeling extremely weak and unable to breathe without the oxygen, I was still waiting to get a hospital bed. It was only after my wife’s relentless efforts that I got a bed in a hospital on 26th April. I was immediately put on oxygen, where I stayed for the next eight days.

Deeply sedated and extremely weak, I was barely conscious for the next four to five days. As my condition got better after a few days, and reached the recovery stage, I was in for another shock. I had woken up from the sleep spell induced by drugs to the news of my father’s demise.

While I was battling for a second chance at life, my father had succumbed to the virus. Now, it was not just the fatigue from fighting a disease that was setting in, but it was a deep sense of loss, grief and unspeakable pain that had taken over.

I was out of the hospital after 10 days, and my life had changed completely. I still had a lot of residual issues such as weight loss and weakness. However, it only took 15 days for the virus to make me realise its unassailable speed and power to impact lives across the globe. While I am still recovering from the damage done by the virus - both to me and my family; I advise everyone to follow COVID-19 protocols strictly.

Meanwhile, I will continue to pray that nobody has to experience this dreadful encounter with the virus. It is also important to put on a positive outlook while recovering and maintain a healthy lifestyle to battle this disease.

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