Kathakali Dutta is a second semester student of the Master of Communication and Journalism (Integrated) programme at the School of Mass Communication, KIIT Deemed University, Bhubaneswar.
With the second wave of the pandemic, more and more young people are getting infected on an everyday basis. The recovery process takes a toll on the physical as well as the mental health of the patient.
Baisakhi Mishra, a 19-year-old student in Odisha's Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) tested COVID positive on April, 26. Speaking to The Logical Indian, Mishra shared the trials and tribulations faced during this phase and the journey of her recovery.
On April 25, at around 11 AM, Mishra along with her mother decided to get themselves tested for the virus since she was displaying all the symptoms of the disease. Soon after, their reports revealed that both of them were COVID-19 positive. Anxiety and fear accompanied the reports.
"My mother and I, we had our COVID positive reports but we were hoping that things do not go out of our hands, there should not be a situation where we need to be hospitalised. My main concern was that my mother is diabetic, so more than myself I was worried about her," Mishra told The Logical Indian.
Speaking about identifying the symptoms, Mishra said before taking the test, she just had fever but things turned when one night she could not sleep due to high temperature. The next day she experienced terrible headache and could not stand on her own due to extreme body ache. Eventually, she lost her sense of smell and taste. The last event prompted her to go for a coronavirus test.
After testing positive, she isolated herself but tried to continue her online classes. However, fatigue and fever would neither let her sleep nor concentrate on studies.
The most difficult and emotionally draining part was staying away from her mother and other family members. Since, they had both tested positive, they had to isolate themselves in different rooms. Mishra emphasised that COVID is a disease that secludes the patients from the physical presence of their family which is otherwise one of the most significant factors leading to speedy recovery.
"When we are sick or in pain, we want to be with our family and loved ones but COVID does not allow this," Mishra said.
"You will have to keep pushing yourself, you will have to motivate yourself that everything is going to be fine," she added, stating that mental health played a crucial role during the phase.
She further added that mental toughness has been more important that any amount of medication since situation can get challenging.
"I got very anxious and would find myself sitting with an oximeter in my hand. But there is no need to be anxious even though I won't recommend taking the disease very lightly, eating healthy and taking all the medications on time is very important," explained Mishra.
"I constantly found myself asking what if I had to get hospitalised and couldn't find hospital beds or what if I ran short of oxygen," she said, hinting at the negative thoughts clouding her mind and causing unnecessary panic.
"I personally stopped watching the news, because that took a toll on my mental health. What worked best for me is trying to distract myself by watching something light or reading good books. I remember talking to my mother over the phone for hours even video calling her though she was just in the adjacent room. That made me feel better," she added.
The initial five days of recovering from the disease were extremely difficult for her both on the physical and mental front. However, she could feel herself winning over the virus from the sixth day.
Mishra said that her fever was dropping, body pain and headache was fading, taste and sense of smell were coming back. Finally, on May 12, both—the mother-daughter duo tested negative for COVID-19.
"It felt great to meet my mother after what felt like an eternity. That was the best feeling," she said.
The disease leaves a lasting effect on the patient's body even weeks after they test negative. Even though Mishra has completely overcome the virus, her health has not yet returned to normal.
"My body has gone weak and I feel exhausted even at little things. My hemoglobin level should ideally be from 12-14 has dropped to 7 and terrible headaches still persist," she shared while stating that people who recuperate need to monitor their health even after recovering.
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