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“I would never have the strength to say these words out loud.”

Two green oxygen tanks against a dark backgront
By Anubhav Bangari

New Delhi

My name is Anubhav Bangari and I live in New Delhi. I am pursuing my B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology) degree and I am just about to graduate this year.

Since I would never have the strength to say these words out loud, I decided to write down what happened this past month. I somehow need to remember this narrative. I need to think that anything is possible in life and all you can ever be is ready to fight.

My mother, father, and I got COVID in the second wave in India. It began as mild fevers. My father and I thought the fever would go down on its own if we gave it time. We all then developed a high fever. For my father and I, the high fever ultimately went with some medicine.

But my mother’s fever just wouldn’t go away. Meanwhile, after two weeks, I tested negative for the virus. I tried to bring my mother’s fever down although I knew I could be reinfected. I took all the necessary precautions. We started consulting with the doctors, but the medicines they prescribed were not available anywhere.

My mother’s fever of 102 F wouldn’t go away. We were so worried. Three days later, it finally came down to 99 F.

When the fever finally went away, I was so happy that my mother was feeling better. But that happiness didn’t last very long. My mother got her blood test report on 27th April which informed us that her CRP was high. It was 32 mg/L which was much higher than normal. We started giving her blood thinners and steroids as prescribed by the doctors.

Two days later, my mother had a HRCT scan done and it indicated that she had developed a severe pneumonia. We consulted with a doctor right away at a nearby hospital and started her treatment immediately at home. We were informed that her situation will get worse, and we might need to admit her to the hospital soon.

With so many COVID cases in our country, this was a very difficult situation. My father started blaming himself for being late in starting her treatment.

My mother’s oxygen levels were hovering around 90-92. I couldn’t sleep those nights knowing her situation could get worse at any time. I monitored my mother 24 X 7 in case she needed anything. During the night, I would check to make sure her breathing fine.

I honestly never felt so helpless before, but some people reminded me that I needed to stay strong for my family. I did stay strong at least in front of my folks.

Thank God her condition didn’t further deteriorate. After all those sleepless nights, her recovery kicked in. She still does her breathing exercises to this day.

I have no idea how we got through it. Maybe it was the doctors who gave me advice every step of the way or my friends who gave all the moral support I ever needed. Maybe it was my friend who arranged an oxygen cylinder for me. Knowing that we had oxygen in case of an emergency allowed me to finally get some sleep.

I give so much respect to all the corona warriors out there who have been risking their lives and treating patients in this pandemic. They definitely saved my mother’s life.

My mother is still recovering but having that oxygen cylinder [which has been in short supply in India] made me feel guilty. What if somebody else needed it more than us? We have given it to someone who needs it more than we do. Keeping the oxygen just in case my mother needed it again shouldn’t have been a predicament.

Meanwhile, I have seen people struggling to things like oxygen or medicines because some people have decided to hoard them to inflate the prices. They are taking advantage and risking the lives of others just so they could make more money in crisis.

I am trying to be positive and look at the silver lining of all we went through. My family and I are closer than ever. A difficult time is not a burden if we shoulder it together. We survived. We are very grateful. I can’t imagine what people who are losing their family members are going through.

Some people were kind enough to get us through all this. I wish I could do the same and pay this kindness forward to the world. The least we can do is stay at home and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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