My COVID-19 Experience

Dr Shurmila Loukham
When your mother is your only parent
And when you are your mother's only child
Your mother testing positive for Covid
Is a huge unfathomable blow

Staying in the hospital
As your mother's caretaker
Armed with only an N-95 mask
Is akin to entering a battlefield
Wearing an ill equipped rusted armour
Leaving your own life to fate
In a bid to save your mother

Sharing space with another patient
Four of you including the patient's caretaker
Crowding up in a small room
At a time when physical distancing is the norm
Is a nightmare in itself
From frantically checking your mother's vitals
And oxygen levels every few minutes
To forgoing sleep at night
Lest you be unaware of any drop in oxygen levels
Or any worsening change of symptoms
The little naps you try to steal in the midst of it all
Are the last pillars you hold onto dearly
To keep your entire being from crumbling
From the horror scene, you witness
To the lifeless corpses that greet you
Each time you walk through or pass by the ICU
As you frantically look for a nurse or a doctor
Or an attendant cause the oxygen cylinder has run out
Or as you go out to collect food from one of your relatives
Then the passing of the other patient in your room
It is one hell of an experience
That even your years of medical training
Didn't exactly prepare you for
Especially when the roles are reversed
And you are in the scene as the patient's caretaker
As not as the doctor

On the 10th day of your hospital stay
When you and your mother have tested negative
And your mother is out of danger
And you've been given the clearance to go home
You feel weights lifted off of your head and chest
Then as you walk out of the hospital
The scenes unfold before your eyes -
From the lady who has come with no caretaker
Sitting on the stairs with shortness of breath
To the young girl who has come with her father
Brought on a wheelchair with an oxygen mask  on
To the sobbing man whose brother has passed away
You realize the battle is far from over
Some will not come out of this alive
Just as your mother and you did.