#26: The Five Stages of Covid
For two whole years, I’ve been running frantically from this miniscule, microscopic, invisible to the eye, god-awful virus. After two whole years, I’ve finally been caught. I’ve had quite a few close shaves with Covid, and I was arrogantly tempting fate by narrating this to a friend recently. In retrospect, I should’ve just kept my mouth shut! It felt like everybody in my vicinity was down with Omicron, and so was I at the end of the day.
Covid has been around for a painstakingly long amount of time and has unquestionably overstayed its welcome. I thought that I’d be fine with the fact that I caught Covid initially, but here’s something they don’t tell you - Covid makes you frightfully irrational. I kept fixating on the fact that even though I was exceptionally careful, I still caught it. I had also just gotten the booster a week before I fell sick, I remember thinking just how it came and infected me. I was being plain stupid, I’m studying medicine right now, I of all people should know that it takes two weeks from taking the booster for an immune response to build up and that taking the vaccine doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t get infected. Omicron is also making its rounds in the community so it’s no surprise that a hell of a lot of individuals fell sick. But did all of this strike me then? No, didn’t even make a dent on that thick skull of mine.
Akin to the five stages of grief, I felt like I went through the five stages of Covid all at once in multiple rounds. Here’s a dump of what I felt.
The very first thing that I noticed was that I felt a kind of a lump form in my throat. It wasn’t all that noticeable. I attributed this to my having banana ice cream the previous night that my mother made. I constantly thought about whether I drank hot water or not following the ice cream. I settled on the fact that I didn’t and felt at peace. The next morning, I was running a fever, and you guessed it, I was still in denial. “This is probably some random viral infection going around”, said the medical student, with Covid being rampant and her showing typical symptoms of Covid. Like I mentioned before, Covid makes you irrational. The next day, I took the test and failed. I was positive.
“How can I possibly get Covid in the first month of the new year? How? HOW? 2022 was supposed to be different. Things were supposed to be semi-normal at the least. I was not being careless and moving around in crowds, I was fairly mindful about my social life, how did I ever fall sick? Why is Covid ruining everything STILL? I can’t be stuck inside any longer. I want to throw something out the window. I don’t deserve this. No one deserves this.”
( This probably sounds melodramatic but I truly needed to get this out of my head, I feel lighter already!).
I intensely retraced all my steps over the last few days, and all the people I interacted with. The clues were meagre. “ Did I wash my hands properly after receiving that package? I should’ve done that. I should’ve worn an N95 instead of just a surgical mask. I shouldn’t have touched my face all too much.” There’s no point in even trying to figure out where you got the infection from because it’s impossible to say. It’s circulating in the community, God knows where everyone got the infection from. But of course, this didn’t hit me in the heat of the moment.
Barely existing in absolute isolation is mind numbing. You lose track of the days and somehow, at the same instance, time never seems to move. The horrendous cycle of waking up, keeping your plate outside your door each time for a meal, eating, washing that plate and repeat made me a robot. Initially when the infection wears you out, you’re too dazed to notice. But, once you’re on the road to recovery, you don’t have a readymade option to while away the time. A gift in the disguise of an online exam made sure that I passed the hours to some extent or so.
To be frank, I still don’t think I’ve wholly processed this whole Covid ordeal. Saying it out loud helps and like intrusive thoughts, the fact that you had Covid will seep its way into your brain at the most random of times - when you’re trying your best not to get run over by that stray vehicle while crossing a busy intersection.
As the famous Tanglish phrase goes, that’s enough of putting depression. A few aspects of the whole isolation situation were quite amusing in retrospect. Since one can’t access anything that’s present in the isolation room, one will have to make do with what they have. My family could not treat their hair to shampoo for a few days as all the bottles were stuck in my room. My brother also had to make do with my father’s running jerseys for the very same reason. Here’s a tip, since isolation leaves you to do everything on your own, it’s best to wear what can be washed easily!
Links you’ll love
100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying.
Jordan Klepper vs. Anti-Vaxxers in SoCal - I have no words.
Monsoons in Madras - such a wonderful, nostalgic read.
NFTs explained - took me a while to grasp this very concept, I’m not gonna lie.
double mask all the way all of you,