Mental Health Journey with Covid-19

Mental Health Journey with Covid-19

The past year has been like a roller coaster ride for most of us reading this. Dealing with a lot of emotions together was definitely a challenge for me as well. I would like to share a few past experiences that made me stronger. It was Mid-June 2020 and we were in the middle of the pandemic where cases were rising every day.

My father was not feeling well and had to be rushed to the hospital and they were denied entry saying beds were not available because of the covid situation. Luckily, we had a family doctor who was working there through which we managed to get a bed in the hospital. It took 24 hours for the results to come back negative and it was a big relief for our whole family. I never expected in my life that I had to deal with such critical situations like these where my both brothers were in the states and could not come down due to lockdown restrictions and it was even more difficult for me to update my mother and grandfather of the situation.

After the diagnosis the doctors said that his heart muscles were becoming weak and luckily there were no blocks found during the angiogram process as well.  After all this I came to a realization that it is very important to have medical insurance because we never know how and when things can change, in this case my father was a retired central government employee of the South Central Railways and the private hospital in which we took him was not accepting his railway medical card. 

I even came to a realization as to how important doctor’s contacts are. I would like to show my sincere gratitude to all the frontline workers working tirelessly day in and out in this pandemic to save lives. The feelings that I have gone through in that week was of fear, pain, sadness and a lot of anxiety as to what will happen. My support systems were my brothers from the US who were constantly in touch with me and who were providing all the financial help needed at that point of time and guiding me properly as to what is to be done. 

Hardly did I know that it was just the beginning and the second wave was yet to come. In early 2021 my elder brother got married and there were still restrictions of the guest invitation limit in the city.  Just after 2 months in Mid-April, I lost my grandfather to covid.  I still could not believe that he is not with us anymore. Whenever I see his picture now, it reminds me of how jovial a person he was who loved to spend time sitting in the garden and enjoying the view of the beautiful flowers. The situation this time was far much different than the last time wherein we at least got admission into the hospital somehow but this time we could not because people were waiting outside the private hospitals for more than 36 hours just in a hope to get admission.

My father contacted his friends through which we got admission into a nearby hospital. It was mandatory for someone to stay with the patient in case of any emergencies. In this case I was sitting in the room with him wearing a PPE kit. On the first two days there was improvement as the doctors were monitoring him with antibiotics and the oxygen was being given through a mask. I still remember we could not get hold of ‘Remdesivir’ an antiviral drug because of shortage. The staff at the hospital said that it would at least take 2 days for it to reach the hospital. We tried everywhere in the city to get it but we could not. 

On the evening of the third day ‘Remdesivir’ was available and it was given to him through intravenous and that is when things turned more serious. The next morning as soon as my father reached the hospital, my grandfather had passed away. It was extremely heartbreaking and that was the first time I ever saw my father break into tears. I never thought that this would ever happen because his health was starting to improve the first two days but suddenly when the antiviral drug ‘Remedisivir’ was given, his body could not cope with that. It was more difficult for me to break the news to my mother and even she broke down after hearing the news of the demise. 

The worst part was we could not even get the body to our home, we had to take police permission and take the body directly to the cremation ground where I was horrified to see so many bodies being burnt at a time. It was very disturbing to watch, I was trying to help my father to perform the final rites. The next day our RTPCR results came as positive and it was more of a shock to me because I was not expecting that at all as it was asymptomatic. No doubt it was very difficult for our whole family to deal with the loss of a close member but at the same time we had to take care of ourselves.

Being in quarantine was not easy at all because feelings of loneliness, sadness used to crop up very easily and there was a fear of what was going to happen next. Our family members and our close relatives started calling us to sympathise about what had happened and everyone had the same question of ‘How did my grandfather get covid’ which was quite irritating for me to answer at one point. 

Even the word ‘Bad’ also cannot be used to describe how the situation was. I started following a lot of mental health pages on Instagram and since then I have started using grounding techniques to deal with a lot of my emotions. There are a lot of lessons that I have personally learnt through these experiences which made me stronger emotionally. I humbly request everyone who is reading this to please follow covid appropriate behaviors and take vaccination at the earliest. Some of the things that keep me occupied these days are painting, gardening, listening to instrumental music and playing outdoor sports like badminton. It helps me to focus on the present and allows me to approach all my emotions and feelings in a more gentle way. Thanks for reading.

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