For the last one and a half years, the first thing I had been doing on getting up in the morning was to place the backside of my hand over my forehead to assess my body temperature. As a physician, because of my exposure and interaction with the corona patients, I fall in a vulnerable segment that runs a high risk of contracting the lethal virus.
One morning, when I woke up and as usual did a manual temperature check, I felt warm. I tried to brush it off as my underlying anxiety. But when I drank water, I felt a pain in my throat. Again, I blamed it on the tangy pickle I had in the dinner and went ahead with my plan to sweat it out in the park.
Halfway into my daily routine of morning walk and I was feeling utterly exhausted. My friends tried to pep me up to complete the daily target, but I couldn’t. As I returned home, my temperature had shot up and my throat was aching badly. I decided to take a day off from the clinic. My mind refused to believe that I could contract Covid.
“I always wear a double mask and have been vaccinated against Covid-19. How could I catch the virus,” I tried to convince myself.
Even after 24 hours, neither did the fever remit nor the pain in the throat subsided; rather a mild nagging cough and severe myalgia appeared to make matters worse. Now, it was the time to get investigated. And the ominous came true. I was Covid positive.
The first thing that came to my mind was the prospect of living in complete isolation for at least two weeks. Used to an active lifestyle and hectic routine at the workplace, the mere thought of locking oneself up in a room for two weeks to recuperate sent a shiver down my spine.
With the sense of smell and taste gone, I had to gulp the liquids instead of drinking and swallow the solids instead of chewing to keep myself hydrated and energised. I had long wished to binge-watch my favourite series on OTT but my head hurt and the aching body couldn’t bear the brunt of the noisy merriment. Therefore, I chose to sleep through the days and daydream during the nights to keep the nightmares away.
Though thoroughly enervated, every time my phone rang, I had to gather every ounce of energy to answer my advice-seeking patients’calls in a robust and reassuring voice, lest their faith in their healer was shaken.
Two weeks of isolation, and I am back to the place I belong to, my clinic. I still don’t know where I faltered and fell into the trap of the highly contagious disease but one thing is sure, after going through the agonising incarceration, my empathy quotient has certainly risen by a notch.
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