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Here’s how my 75-year-old mother and I coped with Covid-19 all alone

Published on:21 May 2021, 19:55pm IST
The Covid-19 diagnosis was really scary, but by focusing on the positive, eating well, and listening to our doctor’s advice we came out on top.
Meghna Kriplani
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Covid-19 recovery
My mother and I both tested positive for Covid-19 on the 6th of May.

I would like to think I am speaking on behalf of almost everyone living through the second wave of Covid-19 in India when I say: The pandemic has never felt more real.

I am not just saying this because of the frightening numbers that flash on our TV and mobile screens all day long. It’s because we all know someone or the other, who is a part of the statistics we dread so much.

For me, the Covid-19 pandemic got real, when my mother and I tested positive for the viral infection in the first week of May. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me begin from the beginning.

The first in my covid-19 recovery was denial!

When on the first of May, my mother had a temperature of 100.4, we were quite certain it was dehydration. With the soaring temperatures in Delhi, being dehydrated is a common summer affliction—pandemic or no pandemic. But when on the second, the fever refused to recede despite ample hydration, we called the doctor.

fever
Fever was the first indication for both my mother and me that Covid-19 had come home. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

His first few questions were expected. Did you go out somewhere? Did someone come home? Does anyone at home has Covid-19? So many questions, all with but one answer: NO. We hadn’t left the house or let someone in since mid-April. Groceries were ordered online and left on our doorstep, which was duly sanitised before being put to use.

We had shut ourselves in, only making trips to the staircase and the balcony—that too never without an N-95 mask. There was no way in hell or heaven that coronavirus could have come home.

On that note began a general treatment with antibiotics for my mother and a battery of tests—including RT-PCR—to determine the cause of her pesky fever.

Four days later, something unexpected happened

I woke up on the fourth of May in a panic. My mother still had a fever and now I had a violent cough. A few hours later, my fever topped the charts at 102.7—and what was once a suspicion, was now confirmed. We had Covid-19.

While my mother seemed to have a mild infection, fever being her only companion, my coughing fits seemed to be competing with my temperature, in a bid to see what would do more damage—the phlegm in my chest or the raging fever.

As advised by our doctor, we got our RT-PCR and blood tests done on the fifth of May, and the reports made our affliction abundantly clear. We were both Covid positive. While my mother’s blood reports showed everything in range, I had inflammation in my body—presumably the reason why I was constantly struggling with a high fever.

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That’s when we got serious about taking care of ourselves

Given the rate at which Indians are getting infected by Covid-19, it’s no surprise that almost everyone has some advice to offer. While not all nuggets were doable or useful, there were some that really helped us. Here is what helped me and my mother on our journey to Covid-19 recovery:

  1. We ate and ate and ate. From breakfast to dinner, not a single meal was missed—even though there were days when we found it really difficult to cook. I am not ashamed to say that on days when the energy was lacking, we shamelessly ordered in, opting for a doorstep delivery so as to not infect anyone else.
  2. Our diet was rich in three things: protein, fruits, and liquids. Protein-heavy dinners were the norm for us during those two weeks. And every meal was followed by freshly-cut seasonal fruits. But more than that, we paid attention to our hydration levels. Three litres of water, coconut water, freshly squeezed lime juice, and nimbu pani were our staples without fail.

    protein myths
    A protein-rich diet was the staple for us. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  3. We didn’t take to bed rest—despite the conventional advice. While we refrained from doing heavy-duty household chores, we mostly cooked our own meals, moved around the house as much as we could, watered the plants, did the dishes…. you get the drift. Of course, we listened to our bodies and rested when tiredness took over.
  4. We binged watched TV and Netflix. Sounds odd, I know, but this is what distracted us from the fact that we were Covid positive. Focusing on happy and positive content, listening to cheerful music, and joking around with each other helped my mother and I feel like nothing had happened and we were not sick.

    eating habits
    Watching funny series on TV helped keep us in good spirits. GIF courtesy: Yi Pan via Giphy
  5. We broke up with social media and news. With so much heartbreaking news all around us, we made a conscious effort to switch off and focus on the more positive side of things. This especially helped my mother who has generalised anxiety disorder with a propensity for panic attacks.
  6. We followed our doctor’s advice to the T and reported each and every update—no matter how insignificant it seemed.
In the end, both my mother and I came out strong

I am happy to report that our Covid story has no dramatic turns and twists. We both had fairly mild infections—as CT scans a few days later would show—and we were very lucky to have come out unscathed. While we are still coping with the fatigue, there is very little impact on our lungs.

But what helped us wasn’t just taking care of our bodies—but also our minds.

Meghna Kriplani Meghna Kriplani

Waging a war against diets one cookie at a time, Meghna is a content creator and editor focusing on women's issues, wellness, and lifestyle.