On June 22, Inspector Neeraj Kumar, posted as SHO, A Division police station in the city, was on Covid-19 duty, visiting several residential colonies to create awareness under the Mission Fateh. Soon after completing a round in a local colony, he started feeling feverish.
“I got tested for Covid-19 and was announced positive later in the night,” said Neeraj Kumar. His subsequent 23-day hospitalisation was an experience he remembers clearly and doesn’t want anyone to go through the ordeal. “I was amongst the most critical patients of Covid-19 in the city and my survival and recovery is nothing short of a miracle for me as well as the team of doctors treating me,” shared Neeraj.
A frontline warrior, Neeraj worked in relief distribution work throughout the lockdown and had visited extensively the clusters vulnerable to the infection. “I knew the risk to health being a frontline warrior. But it was only when I contracted the infection that I realised how scary the entire experience was,” he said. Neeraj had been diagnosed with critical symptoms of the Covid-19 pandemic and he was put on ventilator the second day after being hospitalised.
During the 23-day period of treatment, he was intubated with life support and oxygen throughout as his lungs had severely been affected. He lost 16-kg weight during the period. “The situation did not improve even after the report of my sample came out negative twice after 15 days. My lungs were not functioning properly and the doctors treating me too were worried about my condition.”
But what makes him a survivor was his will and determination to fight, as is expected from a police officer. “I would say that it was definitely the most dreadful experience of my life. Every day I spent in ICU with ventilator being my only hope for survival, it was like waiting for the unexpected any moment. Luckily, for me the unexpected thing was my gradual recovery,” he said. Living in a 14-member joint family, Neeraj’s biggest support came from his brothers and his children.
“Contrary to my fears, my family members did not contract the infection. But my sister, who was visiting us during that time, showed mild symptoms but later she recovered. I used to avoid sharing my critical condition with my family.” He said he and his family got unrelenting support of his peers, friends and family during the time. If there was one thing that his experience made him learn, it was the extreme dedication of the healthcare professionals towards Covid-19 patients.
“It used to take one hour for doctors and healthcare workers to wear their kit and approach the positive patients for collecting samples. I used to get pricked multiple times to get a single blood sample. Yet, the doctors and nurses used to motivate patients with a smile on their face.” His welcome party after being discharged was a warm, sweet family affair. “My three children and the entire family threw a small house party to celebrate my win over Covid-19. I would like to say that people, who are still not taking the disease seriously, need to re-think about it. I could manage to survive, but I consider myself quite lucky. There are so many who have succumbed to the virus and precaution is the only way to save yourself and others.”
He is eager to return to his duty this month.
— As told to Neha Saini
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