How to Overcome Negativity as a Covid Victim : My Experience
Addressing an important gathering on 2nd April, 2020, Dr. V.K.Paul, Member, NITI Aayog had stated “Covid situation was going from bad to worse. Virus was still very active”
Whether we took serious note of it when there was a sudden surge of 9190 cases on the eve of second wave and actually conformed to Covid appropriate behavior, one was destined to ‘face’ the music. It may or may not diminish or abate for another two or three years.
The PFIZER Vaccine, otherwise planned for launch inJanuary in U.K. was preponed to 8th December 2020, reportedly due to an understanding between the US President Elect Joe Biden and British Government after former’s predecessor had conceded defeat. It was to bring much needed succour. Instead daily cases multiplied regularly, beyond expectations between 2nd April and 7th May, 2020.
Prior to us getting negative vibes again, in most parts of West Europe, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, parts of Asia and Africa, danger signals began ticking, spoiling the X’mas and new year eve. This was the time when one million deaths took place globally in just three months. As much as 19% of them happened in USA.
Our facilitators, viz, Holi, Kumbh, weddings, blatant flouting by unmindful people, avoidable outings, six State elections and U.P. Panchayat polls, all being villains par excellence, contributed to the mess. The last named reportedly led to death of one thousand employees, including one eight month pregnant woman Teacher. No reason, rationality or justification was put forward. The age old belief or superstition-‘ Man Proposes,God disposes’, perhaps became guiding force.Rightly or Wrongly.By hook or crook. Rush, seize and occupy became the ‘Mantra’. Accelerated urge for more numerical superiority was discernible.
‘Could be deferred’ physical infrastructure creation by scant regard to environment and plight of daily wagers, became the new focus area as against responding to rising demand for according more attention and outlay for augmenting health set up, or assessing appropriately the emerging vaccination challenges.
Even in tough situations there were some very good and competent souls, such as, Dr.K.K.Aggarwal (privileged to have met him), immensely popular health guide, educator & community organizer, numerous heads and super specialists of AIIMS, RML, LNJP, Gangaram or unsung doctors from remote areas of East or affluent pockets of West and South India, who did not surrender. Instead, they sacrificed their own lives for the sake of millions of infected lots.
As opposed to demise of 748 doctors in the first wave, 269 of them lost battle in the tougher second wave (IMA figures). They performed the supreme sacrifice by ignoring their own relatives.
However, it also goes without saying that scores of them did also indulge in unfair practices, such as, hurried diagnosis, hoarding, black marketing, suspected involvement in bed and Oxygen rackets, adding confusion to efficacy of Plasma or HCQ etc.
Is anyone of them concerned with the huge generation of Bio- medical waste which is four times more than that of February 2021 (Kerala, leading State) ?
This is about myself. Denial of RTPCR report or timely telephonic guidance to self, spouse and some relatives during our trying times in the Peak period in the third week of April, too left us aghast. Some retired Doctor friends of yesteryears, nevertheless were very helpful. Also what pained us most were the same utterances in many languages in different tones on electronic media as per suitable settings.
Should I be more candid ? Here was a gloomy phase when one would hear of a critical case or a causality, each time the phone rang.All said and done, many forgotten souls were also reconnected when pandemic appeared haywire.
The successors to Florence Nightingale,ANM’s and other para medics, on the other hand, did selfless and over stretched service in uncomfortable PPE kits, sometimes in improperly ventilated set up, during both the waves.
Many of them as also ASHA & Anganwadi Workers could not see their children or go home for weeks. Thus they lost 150 of their brethren/sisters, respectively, during the second wave alone.
Except for cheering them up by banging plates or wasteful expenditure on Air Salute, followed by some new year bashes, did we actually do something substantial for their kith & kin ?
Despite herculean efforts, barely 55 to 60% of frontline warriors have been vaccinated thus far against barely 10% of entire population.
One should be failing in one’s task, if we do not laud some religious institutions (Gurudwaras) & NGOs, free food and Momo suppliers (Zoheb Bhutia of Sikkim), volunteers involved in admissions to hospitals, supply of oxygen, carrying out cremations and burials, free oxygen donors, three wheeler ambulances etc for their unquestioned yeomen services.
Wherever there was a scope for positivism or silver lining, the process seems to have surprised if not dipped, depending upon prevailing circumstances. There is a limit to stretching your mind, body and resources in an atmosphere of desperation, unusual but hostile situation on the home front, grim past & present and future concern for the tiny tots. If we add struggles against struggles indulged into by relatively fit family members(20 to 44 age group); it is s a day in and day out engagement or struggle.
Once the young nation of India was considered a blessing, now its locus standi seems threatened.
Bouts of deprivations, career uncertainties, frequently occurring depression phases and unlimited anxieties, all seem to be having a commanding position. Each time you are required to rush to a chemist, vegetable or grocery outlet or compelled to visit a hospital, all negating social distancing norms; it is a real threat scenario.
No longer you are deprived to get closer to a expired relative, may be, due to unexpected spike in daily cases from 99,181 on10th September 2020 to 4,14,188 on 7th May and corresponding rise in deaths to the extent of 2,87,000 as on 20th May(vis a viz 2.58 Crore confirmed cases, showing a Recovery rate of 86.7% and Positivity rate of 13.44%).
In view of utter confusion, in a way, one can violate WHO ruling on performance of death rituals. As such, if one actually acts as per rule book, bodies are bound to rot or perish or disappear even in true Delhi style.
The process does not end with taking over the dead relative.One has to also encounter a long queue for the death certificate, registration, fire wood (increased to 2000 Quintals a day during April- May in Delhi) as also space. Unless you perform the ceremony helter-skelter and escape the attention of Police,Hindu rituals essentially, are very expensive, irritating and cumbersome affairs. Irrespective of quantum of tragedy, the ‘Dom Raja’ always appears adamant.
Whether it is the case of a mismatch between cremations in Gujarat, M.P., U.P, Maharastra, Delhi etc five weeks ago OR recent discovery of awful, floating decomposed bodies (exceeding 300) on Ganga in Unnao, Ghazipur and Buxar regions and tracking of more shallow graves (atleast another 500) on the banks of Ganga again in U.P. and Bihar, Negativism seems to be becoming stronger and stronger.
And Isolation for the sake of disease, per se, or prevention, thereof, continues to rule the roost.
Even strong willed persons tend to be shaken by such gory events, happening every now and then.
Is Nemesis Possible ?
If there has been a Genesis, there is bound to be a Nemesis as in case of pandemics of the past.
Shall we say so ? But when ? That’s the million Rupee question despite statistical improvement on active cases (3,226,719) front, 24 hour cases (2,76,287), CFR and positivity rate.
At the same time, devastation caused by Tauktae cyclone along the West coast, forecast of Yaas Cyclone over the Bay of Bengal on 25th May and ultimate arrival of the third Covid wave may boomerang our left over sensibilities, if not play havoc across the board.
PATIENCE & TOLERANCE
Let’s be positive and realistic, nonetheless and hope for the best. It may require additional time. Having faith in plethora of honest and sincere medicos and public servants may help.
Reverting to a shred of spiritualism, not religiosity as such and resuming one’s hobbies may make us healthy & happy.It may not be counter productive.
There should be no harm in displaying mutual respect & understanding for mourning the recent Dear Departed , more strength and hope to live and expressing a sincere urge from within to SEE THE LIGHT at the end of the long, meandering and dark tunnel. It won’t be a turn around situation.
The author is former Chief Secretary, Sikkim