In mid April and throughout the month of May, I remember having my phone flooded with messages from people I know asking me what do next, the next medicine to try, the next hospital to go to and my phone going off the hook with calls from unknown numbers from cities I haven’t even visited calling to check if I happen to have a source or know someone who might help them get a drug that *might* save their loved ones.
By the beginning of June, it all started to settle down, and I am using the word “settle” very loosely here.
The covid wards went from 350 patients and at least 20-25 new admissions everyday to a total of 100 patients on the floor.
The ICU had quietened down. Even though we had gotten used to the deafening screeches of the patients, the silence was a welcome change.
The start of July was a breeze in the scorching heat. A breeze compared to the high tides and whooshing winds we had surfed through. And I very distinctly remember sitting in the flu OPD soaking in every minute of the empty hallways and the sound of the monitors synchronising and beeping- loud enough for you to hear them but soft enough to know you don’t have much to worry about, yet.
I remember scrolling through my phone, watching people posting their pictures from the recent trip they took to the mountains and the beaches, with their hair let down and their masks hanging loose around their chins. I remember waiting for them to come back from their vacations for the parade to begin again.
So here I am, announcing to you, as loudly as my words can reach you, that the third wave is not a myth, a conspiracy very intricately woven to keep you trapped within the 4 walls of your home.
When you travelled to Manali and Musoori and Leh, you brought back with you not just a phone filled with photographs and hearts filled with merry memories, you also brought with you a teeny tiny, minuscule souvenir that stealthy crept its way into your bags of air and made home in your body.
So, as I sit here, with a patient load as low as I have seen since the beginning of this year, I want to take this time to give you a few tips and tell you a few things while we still have a squeak of an opportunity.
- If you’ve just come back from a mini vacation, even if it was just a staycation, where all you did was order in room service and swim by the pool, once your back, quarantine yourself. I’m sure you feel fine and refreshed and this might feel like a futile exercise but believe me, it is not. Isolate yourselves at home for at least 14 days. Once you’re done with your 14 days of home isolation, you can get back to your life again. Think of it like a vacation after your vacation.
- If you have had your family go out while you started back, ask them to keep their distance from you. They might be young and can fight off an intruder in their body better than you can. Ask them to do it for themselves and for you.
- If you do not want to home quarantine yourselves, you can get your RT-PCR test 3-5 days after coming back from your travels to avoid the quarantine period.
- If you present with symptoms such as fever, headache, generalised body weakness, cough, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhoea, vomiting, breathlessness- go see your physician as soon as possible. There is a chance that this just might be a viral fever, but there is just enough reason to believe that it might be covid. It is better to stay a step or two ahead. Go visit your doctor, get your medicines and your RT-PCR test for SARS CoV2, to know with absolute certainty that you’re in the clear.
- Regardless of your vaccination status and your test results, wear a mask at all times when you are outdoors or in public.
- Get yourself vaccinated. Know, that just receiving both doses of the vaccine does not guarantee that you will not catch the virus, but it has been seen that patients who have received both doses against the Covid-19 vaccine tend to have a lesser severe form of the infection and tend to recover faster than individuals who haven’t received the vaccine.