‘My long road to recovery’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 04, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:19 AM, June 05, 2020

‘My long road to recovery’

As a reporter, I have written dozens of stories on various aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic even before the deadly virus started to spread in Bangladesh. But today, I am writing the story about how my wife and I contracted the virus, fought against it and won.

At a time when tens of thousands of students were celebrating their positive results at the Secondary School Certificate level exams on Sunday, my wife and I "celebrated" our negative result in the Covid-19 test after having battled it. We are doing well now with no symptoms and are safe at home after a very long and turbulent time.

While I would have to go here and there in search of news, I limited my movement between office, home and the kitchen market, particularly after the government announced the nationwide shutdown in late March.

From mid-April, I, like all other staffers of The Daily Star, started working from home. My wife, a homemaker, never came out of our rented house in the last three months save the one time she needed to go out to give a sample for the Covid-19 test.

I, however, had to go to the kitchen market and grocery shop twice or thrice during the second fortnight of April.

Near the end of that month, I began feeling discomfort inside my throat. I also had a light cough. On May 1st, my wife began feeling feverish -- her temperature rose to 100 degrees and she developed a broken voice.

On the same day, my temperature was 98.5 degrees. We started to take medicine for our fever and cough from the following day after consulting a doctor.

We started doing some exercises, especially those for the lungs, knowing that it may turn out helpful. We took tea with cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, ginger and basil leaves regularly.

After recovery, we think those were what helped us heal fast. We had stored a good amount of food, which proved helpful.

After three days, my wife recovered from fever and my light cough subdued. But then two days later, my wife and I began coughing again.

We consulted the doctor again and he prescribed antibiotics for me and normal cough medicine for my wife. As there was no improvement over the next five days, we consulted my brother-in-law and decided to test ourselves.

In the meantime, we started taking vapour with warm water and gargled with lukewarm water and salt twice a day. We both had lost our appetites, while my wife was beginning to lose her sense of smell.

After giving our samples to test on May 10, we got the result two days later. This was when our fight started.

When I received the email from the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research and talked to my wife about the result, we were both speechless for a few moments. We panicked for a while but tried to take it easy and began to come to terms with it. It was tough but we tried.

I called a relative of mine who we both depend on. He had also earlier taken a test and his result was negative. He was the one who informed us of the best possible testing facilities. Such dependable relatives or friends were crucial at a time when we had to lock ourselves up inside our two-bedroom apartment.

My relative helped us get in touch with one of the best doctors in the country -- Professor Dr ABM Abdullah. While I got some privilege due to my status as a journalist, it was evident that it would be difficult for other to be able to go to a renowned doctor at this time.

The doctor prescribed some medicines and also asked us to take vapour with warm water and do gargle with warm water several times a day.

We started taking the medicines from May 12th.

Meanwhile, I informed the development to my bosses at the office and some close relatives. We didn't inform our house-owner or others fearing that it may cause some unwanted problems.

We started to take our medicines regularly and followed the doctor's advice. We started taking our special teas, vapour and gargled four to five times every day. We continued exercising and took lemon juice with warm water twice or thrice every day.

We only drank warm water and we even bathed in slightly hot water.

We tried to have some fruits every day. We washed our clothes with detergent regularly and tried to keep our rooms and dining regularly disinfected.

But as the days passed, symptoms started to change. We started to feel pressure in our chests, especially during the evening. My wife faced some breathing problems for a couple of days and the doctor prescribed another medicine for 10 days.

We had nausea, acidity and dysentery. We updated the doctor regularly, who prescribed medication to curb our symptoms.

I continued my office work to keep me distracted from my symptoms. My wife, however, had to take the brunt of taking care of the house.

Our relatives gave us medicine and food regularly.

We had to follow a routine. We watched television, went through social media and talked to our close relatives and office colleagues, including my editor and executive editor, who gave us mental support.

To be frank, sometimes we got nervous and thought about every possible dire situation. We had to limit watching Covid-related news on television and tried to engross ourselves in work.

A week after receiving the test result, we started to believe we are going to recover.

We gave the samples again on May 27 and we finally got the result of being free from coronavirus. The first thing we did after learning that we are now Covid negative was disinfect our house again.

We assumed I may have gotten infected from a grocery or kitchen market near my home. My wife got it from me. As Dhaka is a highly affected area, it is likely to get infected from anywhere.

I think if those infected start doing some breathing exercises, drinking herbal teas, take vapour and gargle regularly, it can speed up recover. Try to be in touch with a good doctor and take advice whenever you start feeling some symptoms.

Finally, keep yourself mentally strong and treat it like a normal flu that is possible to defeat, if you don't have any other major physical problems. In that case, you should take treatment as per your doctor's advice.

I think home can be the best healthcare centre if the condition is not critical.

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