Covid Days

Glory Sasikala

Glory Sasikala

Of betrayals of the Seasons and the Sun there truly is no dearth
But Moon she is and will always be - shall never leave her Earth

The world can pass us by and the most significant things happen around us - like the birth of a grandchild... or the rose finally blooming in the garden... or your old grandmother looking at you with anxious eyes one last time... or a lost one looking around frantically for that elusive straw...or maybe even the second coming of Jesus - but so hectic and humdrum is our lives nowadays that we couldn’t care less. 
“Yes, yes, yes!! She has a lost look! What do you want me to do? Yes the baby is cute! Ah, yes! The rose! And Jesus? What of him? See what he wants. I have to go to work, to pay my loans, I have to go, go, go!!”
That is the rat race we’re in. 
But we had to put a brake on all that all of a sudden, didn’t we? The world, the very air we breathed in was threatened at that point. Life as we knew it had come to a standstill. Everyone was home. Children were home. “Online” became the mantra. There was silence; people wore masks, stepped out only to get ‘vaccinated’.... or to die. 
She had fever and cold. But she did not classify it as ‘Covid’. She honked and coughed and sneezed and spat out phlegm and made guttural sounds. Her throat ached so much! She was sick, very sick...but she still would not classify it as ‘Covid’. 
Because Covid, was it even a real thing? Or was it a ‘political agenda’?
It became a real thing pretty fast. The whole family had fever. They coughed, spat out phlegm and stayed in bed, drinking soup and talking about the poor ox’s tail being the “real remedy”. If only the poor ox knew what it was in for… 
Outside, the world had become completely quiet with no people on the streets. The ocean was bluer without the pollution. The Sun shone brighter; stars finally visible without all that smoke. Worms and insects crawled boldly out of the ground. Birds mocked human beings, “Hey! Here’s a bold one! Shouldn’t he be running back in? Caw!!”
Her husband, he had detached himself from the whole thing. He was a strong resilient man in his early 70s. He took good care of himself, went for walks, exercised regularly, and ate the right foods in limited quantities. He was fit as a fiddle and intended staying that way for a very long time to come. 
He sat there watching a series on television, while the maid attended to the invalids. As far as he was concerned, he had retired long back and had charted out a life of his own that consisted mainly of reading the newspaper, watching TV and catching up with friends on facebook and via phone. Life was good. As for the invalids, the maid was there and she would take care of them.
So, when he felt slightly warm and dizzy, he ignored it. But soon he spiked up a fever to 102 degrees... 103... 104... He was now speaking incoherently in a delirium.
They wrapped a blanket around him and took him to their family doctor. But they weren’t allowed in. A test proved it to be Covid and they were told to take him to the Government Hospital.
They seemed to travel for hours... far away from home... through acres of open fields... to outside the world, to nowhere. And then, on to this hospital. 
“Where is the Covid ward?”
“There’s no Covid ward.”
“He will be in a general ward with other extreme cases.”
To their horror, this was a general ward with not just Covid cases. People seemed to come there to die. Unfortunately, this was the only hospital with the right medicines and equipment.

A nurse came in once a day. A doctor came in once a day. He now needed oxygen. He needed constant monitoring of his oxygen level. 
That is when she took over, his daughter. She was a professor in a college. At home, she was a mother with two small children. But, at that moment, she became a soldier fighting for her father’s life, fighting his battle, raring to go, daring the illness to take her father away. Her husband supported her valiantly from the outside, bringing in food and supplies while taking care of the children.
She wiped everything she had with warm water, even her phone. She wore her mask diligently. She attended to her father’s every need, making him as comfortable as she could, talking to him, telling him he will be okay. She never left his bedside. There was no place for her sleep, so she rolled up on the floor besides him. 
Sometimes, there was a commotion. Someone had died. A lively gentleman who has been keeping them company and talking and keeping up a conversation passed away suddenly in the middle of the night. They watched in wide-eyed horror as his wailing relatives took his body away. 
Days passed...was it a month yet? But slowly, slowly, slowly the fever receded, and that beautiful day dawned when he was declared Covid-free and allowed to go home.
Covid takes a toll, and the aftermath of Covid is long-lasting... sometimes forever, especially if the person is old. It is not just that the body takes a very long time to recover. Sometimes the depression that sets in does not go away completely. He is very quiet nowadays, does not speak much, moons around a lot. 
But when he does speak, he says of his daughter, “She is my mother. She took care of me. That is why I am alive.”
***

Bio: Glory Sasikala is a writer, publisher, and poet currently residing in Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. She is the Editor and Publisher of GloMag, an international poetry and prose magazine. Her poetry books, novels, and short stories are available in various online bookstores such as Amazon and Flipkart as well as on her blogs. She is on the brink of publishing a very interesting collection of anecdotes and short stories inspired by her rather colourful and chequered life.
 

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