“The MAHE administration has decided to conduct all classes online and defer the laboratory/ practical classes to a later date” read the mail from the Director of MIC. On receiving that email, my happiness knew no bounds as I immediately started dreaming of traveling back home and celebrating Holi with my family for the first time in three years. It was March 18. However, little did I know what was coming for me.
My throat had been feeling a little sore for two days now along with occasional headaches. It was March 16 when I first noticed these symptoms. Thinking that I was possibly developing common flu, I started drinking hot water, soup, and popped paracetamol before going to sleep. The next morning, I woke up with a blocked nose, mild coughing, and was still not feeling any better.
Looking at the sudden increase in the number of the #Chinesevirus cases in Manipal, I panicked a little with the thought of having caught the virus. My flatmates tried to calm me down pointing out that I was not showing any of the prominent symptoms such as fever and loss of taste and smell. We initially dismissed it to be a result of Manipal’s changing weather.
However, since I was living with students who are all away from their parents, I did not want to put anyone’s safety at risk and started to isolate myself. That afternoon after having my lunch, I popped another paracetamol and went to sleep. But I woke up feeling terrible. I immediately checked my temperature which had increased to 100.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Scared and panicked I called up my parents asking them if I should see a doctor and get tested.
Since it was past 6 and the testing centers at KMC had already closed, they advised me to monitor my condition for another 2 days before getting tested and start drinking haldi doodh (turmeric milk). Following the same routine of eating and taking my medicine, I went to sleep.
March 18, I felt a little better when I woke up, but my nose was still blocked, and my headache had gotten worse. The first thing I did was check my temperature which luckily had gone down. By the evening, my temperature had gone down to 98 and I was convinced that it was indeed common flu. My happiness knew no bounds as I was feeling better and could travel back home to celebrate Holi.
The next two days even though I did not develop fever, my temperature kept fluctuating between 97 and 99. Along with a terrible headache and blocked nose, I started to feel extremely weak, and my appetite had also decreased. Taking all the necessary precautions, I decided to get tested and much to my horror, my results came back positive.
“You have tested positive. Please do not panic”, said the voice on the other side of the phone. How was I not supposed to? As a student living in a completely new city without parents; anxious, terrified, scared, I was feeling it all. I was suddenly bombarded with tons of information including my quarantine options and the necessary measures that need to be taken.
Since I only had mild symptoms, I decided to isolate myself in the house. I was advised to quarantine for the next 14 days and eat lots of fruits and hot fluids. My medication included Vitamin C and multivitamin tablets. For the next 2 weeks, I was stuck inside a room and my laptop and mobile phone had become my best friends.
Luckily, I had my flatmates to look after me, taking care of my needs from giving me meals to getting me medicines from the market. My daily routine included having fruits and juice regularly for breakfast (sometimes bread) after which I had to take the Vitamin C tablet. The multivitamin tablet was taken after lunch which comprised parathas and green vegetables.
After getting some good sleep in the afternoon, I would much on protein biscuits during the evening. Along with dinner, haldi doodh was a must before going to bed. Apart from these measures I was also constantly sipping on hot water and taking steam 2-3 times every day.
It was around my 7th or 8th day of quarantine when I started feeling much better. Even though I was still feeling a little weak, my appetite and headache as well as cold had gotten better. Eating healthy meals is extremely important during such a time. Almost after two weeks of being sick, it was in the last few days of my quarantine that I started to feel completely fine and had no weakness. I could not wait to get a second test and get my negative report so that I could finally get out and see the beautiful blue skies apart from the walls and the ceiling of my room.
I got re-tested on the 15th day and my reports came back negative. Isolation can be extremely stressful especially on one’s mental health. I owe a big time to my flatmates, family, and friends who constantly kept checking up on me and kept me sane. In recent times, it has become more than necessary to religiously maintain social distancing and take necessary precautions.
About the Author: Varda is a final year student at the Manipal Institute of Communication.