Hello, my name is not important, neither is my face but you should all know that I contracted the virus three times (the last time after getting vaccinated), so here is an in-depth detail of what went down as I escaped death not once, not twice but thrice. This article will also serve as a guide on what to expect when you get the coronavirus and how to battle it.
When the news of the outbreak first hit my television screen, the cases were only limited to China. There wasn’t any lockdown, the word quarantine was not in my dictionary and I had never worn a mask in my life. At the start of 2020, in January, the first corona patient was reported in Pakistan – a person who had gotten the virus through traveling. Shortly after, the cases started to rise and I did my research as to what the disease was and how it impacted people. New symptoms were still being documented and we got to learn something new every day. At this point, only one house member ran the errands be it grocery or paying the bills, I however did not refrain from eating out till dine-in got closed. I was irresponsible – I will give you that, but no one near me had been infected so truth be told, it was all a little wild and in the air.
The first time:
Three months down, a friend of mine got the virus. I heard that she lost her ability to taste and that she had a mild fever. Three days later, she was good as ever, even though she still had not tested negative. At this point, we were disinfecting the house, not leaving without a mask, and I had resorted to ordering food, rather than going out. Careless as ever, I would wash my tins and snack packets and that would be it – to me they were corona-free. The mornings at that time were cold yet pleasant, so I would stroll in the garden at 6 am, and one such morning I found my energy levels to be quite low. I felt fatigued and sleep-deprived and I could only walk for five minutes. Thinking nothing of it, I went back to bed. After waking up, I felt as if I had pulled an all-nighter. Moreover, my cereal – my all-time favorite Koko Krunch, tasted like a metal pole. Again, I thought the box had gone bad, not my taste buds. My husband noticing that I was roaming around in a drowsy state, figured that something was up and told me to isolate myself even though I did not have any of the major symptoms and I obeyed. The next morning – it began: a sore throat, a runny nose, constant headache, and no smell. The doctor gave me an online consultation and the medicines were sent via text. (I will not mention them as it is important to get checked first.) However, the medicines were anti-viral ones that are taken during the normal flu. The symptoms did not change over the course of seven days but worsened – they were the worst on the fourth day, but I knew that it would end soon as nothing was different than the regular cold I catch twice or thrice in a year. I even started to taste and smell things properly after a week. So, in conclusion, the first time was tolerable, nothing different than what I had experienced except the heightened emotions of knowing that I had the coronavirus, and I recovered quite well.
The second time:
WHO had not issued the statement that once you get corona, you can get it again. In fact, trustable platforms on social media were sharing opinions claiming that one gets immune to the virus after getting it, which of course was false but no case had yet been documented of someone getting it twice – only prolonged cases of not testing negative existed. The time roughly was mid-March, one and a half month after my recovery. This time, I was following all SOPs, staying inside, maintaining social distancing, and virtually communicating. News about people around me dying was rotating and we were all petrified. The lockdown was intact and the future seemed very unpredictable. Now, I am not sure who and what gave me the virus the second time but I recall going to the bank for a biometric verification that was important and fell sick shortly after. This time, my brother-in-law and a couple of other people in the family had it, and they had been out, so the virus pattern could not be traced. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law who was just twenty-one lost the battle and died. I remember it being one of the worst days of my life – we did not know how to grieve, and an unexpected tragedy had struck. The second time I had it, I had nausea, and my period came late. My first thought was that there must be a bun in the oven, because the nausea was so intense, and I could smell things more, if that is possible. The pregnancy test came back negative – and the corona test came back positive. This time I had a dry cough, an extremely unpleasant aftertaste to drinks, (even water), and I was a victim of constant puking. The attack was intense and nothing like anything I had experienced before.
I assumed that it would go within a week or so but due to me not being able to digest anything, I had lost 3kg in a period of two weeks and recovery had become difficult. I started not listening to my body and eating healthy, eating after every two hours, eating a lot of protein, resting as much as I could, and drinking a lot of milk-based shakes. Dates, as I remember were a lifesaver. Eventually, I gained my health back.
The third time:
Like they say, the third time is the charm. (God forbid). I regret to inform you, that I am feeling drowsy as I type this because I still haven’t tested negative for the coronavirus that I got on the 1stof September. How did it happen? Let me start from where I left off. After battling this disease twice, I had learned some lessons: to not diet and follow a proper nutritionist's plan so if I ever get any disease, I have the body and willpower to face it (that I am physically strong to do so), to only listen to the doctor’s instructions and not try to cure myself, (You never know as much as the doctor does), and to work on my body. This time, I was doing everything right. In fact, I got vaccinated three months ago. The vaccine I received was Sinovac, approved by multiple countries around the globe, and also the only readily available vaccine in Pakistan. Some people around me got Pfizer and Moderna as well. Now, it is important to know that I am not blaming the vaccine. I believe that if I hadn’t had it, this time I wouldn’t have survived. Plus, many people who got it breezed past the virus. Vaccination is important. If you haven’t received your first dose, I strongly suggest that you pause reading this story and register for your vaccine first. Anyway, this time, I got the delta variant – the newest and deadliest variant of the virus there is. Despite being vaccinated and staying indoors, I got it from my house-help’s daughter who was not only not vaccinated but did not get herself tested as she continued to work at our house as a temporary replacement for her vaccinated mother who was away. For the second time, I completely lost my ability to smell and taste got a high fever, and body aches.
The new symptoms included prolonged periods, (heavy blood loss), shivering, and night sweats. I was in touch with a doctor during my first week, constantly monitoring my saturation levels and caring at home. The symptoms have almost gone but the weakness is here to stay. I still have not tested negative for the virus. Here are the key points that I swear by – these will save your life and the lives of your loved ones:
· Follow all the SOPs.
· Get vaccinated.
· You can still get the virus if you follow all the SOPs and are vaccinated but the chances are very low and with the vaccination, your attack will not be severe.
· Consult a doctor immediately no matter how much you think you know about the coronavirus. Facebook posts do not help, doctors do.
· Do not diet. Follow a proper dietician’s plan if you must lose/gain or maintain weight.
· If you get the coronavirus, seek help at once and do not follow a random online guide (not even mine) because it is different for everyone. Yes, understanding key points is vital but the doctor can guide you best.
· Stay clean.
· Disinfect your house no matter how clean you think it is.
· Meeting that one friend you love can wait.
· Social media platforms are here for a reason. Stop meeting people unless it is very important.
· My friend infected her entire family because she didn’t want to miss a long-planned trip to Turkey. (Doesn’t matter where you are going. Non-essential travel is not recommended!)
· Understand that your sense of smell and taste will come back even if it takes 6 months. For 90% of the people, it comes back. Don’t fret about it.
· You’re not alone in this. A lot of people are confused and suffering. Let’s be there for each other.
And yes, there can be a fourth time, there can be a new variant – the virus is here to stay and we need to adapt to the new normal. Stay healthy, stay vaccinated and stay safe! If the government recommends booster shots, get them! We’re all looking out for each other.
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