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Surviving the Coronacalypse! - Ruturaj Patil

Three weeks, several medicines, and what felt like an eternity of time away from home & family. They say it takes 21 days for a habit to set in. And I was now habituated to Co-Vid, an experience you really don’t want to live again. My ‘home quarantine’ began and as I now sit isolated in my room, I can’t help but reminisce those 21 days and share my quaran-time with my online family. It was on the afternoon of 19th August when I first started feeling uneasy. I was on the field with the COVID relief team. During an on-going meeting, I started experiencing health issues. Not wasting another minute, I left the meeting mid-way to get a swab test done. With an inkling of what was to follow, I isolated myself that very day. The next day, I was tested positive for CoVid. Preparations for my home quarantine were made as my symptoms were mild. However, the treatment does not depend on the outcome of the swab alone; it requires a CT scan and X-ray to determine the exact extent of the infection. My CT scan revealed that the infection had considerably spread. I was advised to admit myself to a hospital immediately. It’s ironic, all these days I was trying to get beds for others, and here I was needing a bed for myself. Amidst all this, there was one thought that kept coming to me constantly - ‘What about Arjun?’. My son, Arjun, was just 5 months old. He was born amidst the Corona pandemic which has been haunting us since March. Thus I could not experience ‘Fatherhood’ during his early months. I was constantly on the field and had to keep a distance from him as much as possible. Now the possibility that both Arjun and my wife Pooja would have to face difficulties because of me kept me worried. Meanwhile, my younger brother Prithviraj tested positive too followed by our house-help. We moved my grandmother, parents, and Pooja-Arjun in separate rooms immediately. All my loved ones were segregated, away from each other, and pretty much-taking care of themselves. Prithviraj and I were admitted to the hospital. The only person to manage the family, as well as the city, was Bunty Uncle. He took it on him to care for all of us and the citizens whom he thinks of nothing less than his own kin. As many front line staff of our AjinkyaTara was also tested positive for COVID, the team was loaded with work. There was a sense of panic for the first 2-3 days when we decided on what to do next and how to go about in these tough times. In all this haste, I may not have been able to pick up phone calls or respond to messages of some of you, I sincerely apologize for that. The next 10 days were nothing short of a challenge. The coronavirus attacks your lungs. The body and mind have to be strong enough to produce antibodies to counteract it. You may have heard that in order to achieve this peace, most patients are not allowed to use a TV or phone so that the body and mind can cope with the COVID virus. I was trying to do that too. But, the father and public servant inside me did not let me sit still. I used to make video calls to Arjun for 4-5 times a day to see if he was doing okay. Pooja was fighting alone like Abhimanyu of Mahabharata. It killed me to not be able to help her when she needed me the most. I missed my parents while at the hospital. On one hand, both their sons had tested positive and on the other hand, they were away from their grandson in such hard times. At this point, more than 15 of our close relatives in the family had tested positive. Mom and Dad stood firm in the face of all this pressure. They supported us emotionally and mentally without giving us a hint of the worries they had or the pressure they were going through. Thinking of what was going on in their mind brought a storm of uneasiness to mind. In spite of handling all responsibilities as State Home Minister and Guardian Minister of Kolhapur, Bunty Uncle kept a close eye on our treatment. He called up the doctors and me every day to make sure that I was fine and the treatment was going smoothly. I remember the countless number of people who left Ganpati celebrations and ran to our aid. In all this, whenever I got the time, I responded to all those calling for beds and medication. I tried my best to help them all to whatever means possible. Meanwhile, I was on medications. Generally, the experience to date is that the infection decreases after 6-7 days. However, due to all the stress, the doctor did not find that my infection had abated on the 8th day of the examination and so he started the dose of the 'Remdesivir' injection. I felt a little better after that. On the 14th day of the test, although the infection was reduced, I was still positive. However, after 14 days the chances of you infecting others are almost zero. I decided to not hold on to the hospital bed and moved to another place. I got isolated, but here too I was away from my family and lonely. Finally, with the doctor’s advice, I decided to self-isolate at home for a few days from today. There are still infection patches in my lungs. The doctors have estimated the healing will need 1-2 weeks more. I will take care of myself and follow the doctor’s advice. But, for now, it seems like I have almost won my personal battle against COVID. To sum it up. let me tell you again the important things I learned from this. 1. COVID is serious. But with the right treatment, you can overcome this infection. 2. None of us are invincible. ‘I will not get infected’ is not the right attitude. Young, old, or children anyone could be infected so do not think that you can't get it. 3. With the right diagnosis and treatment, COVID can be completely cured. Therefore, if any symptoms appear, test immediately, do not try to self medicate. 4. Whether you are an MLA or a business tycoon or a common citizen - your battle with COVID is your own. You have to fight alone even if there are people who want to be by your side. Always keep this mind that if you are tested positive, you have to fight this battle and win. A strong will power makes a lot of difference. 5. A healthy diet, positive thinking, good mental health, and medication are the four major weapons to defeat the coronavirus. Proper use of these weapons can withstand a great deal of adverse conditions. 6. Those who have successfully exited Corona should not rush to work as soon as the report is negative. Even if the coronavirus is gone, it takes time for the lungs to fully recover. Due to not giving recovery time to your body, many untimely incidents of readmission have started. Complications are increasing because of this. If this is to be avoided, it is in the best interests of all patients to take a complete break without trying to haste to go to work. The world’s Battle with Corona is not over. Therefore, we should all fight this battle with due care. I will be working on the field with new vigor soon. Now that I have gone through this infection, I can fight harder for the greater good. But, I wanted to share with you my experience through this blog. I am sharing this blog as a father, a husband, a son, and a public servant. I just wanted to share with you what I went through. This may help you know a few additional things related to COVID and its treatment. I pray to Goddess Ambabai that this crisis of Corona by which the entire humanity is suffering should be resolved as soon as possible. But until this crisis ends, we all need to strictly follow all the rules of social distancing, wearing a Mask, washing hands regularly. I am sure we will definitely defeat this virus and will get back to our normal life soon. The rest of politics, my duties towards my oath & family will continue like before from hereon. This is only a heartfelt dialogue between me and you. - Ruturaj S. Patil

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