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‘Psychological help crucial for Covid patients on oxygen support’

'Psychological help crucial for Covid-19 patients on oxygen support'

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: March 30, 2021 12:45:42 am
Purnima Parekh (extreme left) with family members. (Express Photo)

A year after Pune registered its first death from Covid-19, the death toll in the district is rapidly moving towards the 10,000 mark.

Purnima Parekh (51), who lost her 52-year-old husband Sujit to the infection – he died at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital on March 30 last year, the first patient in the district to die of Covid-19 — spoke about the need for offering emotional and psychological support to Covid-19 patients on oxygen support.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Parekh said, “My husband died a lonely death. I still remember… at that time all Covid-19 cases were those with international travel history. Sujit was at a senior post with a firm in Thane and after it shut down, we returned to Pune on March 18. He had earlier travelled to Vapi in Gujarat… on March 19, he had a mild fever. As a precautionary measure, we had self isolated and did not allow his parents or my daughter to step inside our room”.

After an X-ray showed pneumonia patches, Sujit was shifted to Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital on March 22. But the virus had spread to his lungs, and he died on March 30.

In the almost period between Sujit’s death and March 28 this year, Pune district has seen a total of 9,842 deaths, of which 5,388 are from the city. Of the over 5.1 lakh Covid-19 cases registered, 4.45 lakh patients have recovered. Pune city alone has recorded more than 2.5 lakh Covid-19 cases.

A few months after Sujit’s death, his 78-year-old mother Bhanumati was detected with Covid, and was on oxygen support. She later recovered from the infection.

“I decided not to leave her bedside after observing necessary protocol. The loneliness can be haunting too. My mother-in-law was also on oxygen support,” Purnima said, adding that most families who had the infection preferred to stay together in the same hospital ward or in home isolation, to support each other.

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Purnima has ensured that the Covid-19 vaccine was administered to her in-laws. She is currently busy preparing for her daughter’s’ marriage. She has also been asked to take charge of the Jnana Prabodhini alumni support centre.

“I passed out from Jnana Prabodhini School in 1987 and the authorities asked me to coordinate the activities of the alumni support centre. We can reach out to families of ex-students who require support due to various circumstances,” she said.

There are over 3,000 members in the alumni support centre and Purnima is actively engaged in setting up different groups for a host of activities like cycling, among others.

She, however, said a lockdown was not a solution to stop the rapid spread of the disease. “Even if there is a lockdown, what can staying at home for 15 days to a month achieve? Some countries are already observing a third wave. The solution is to alter our lifestyle and make it a healthier one, take the vaccine and ensure appropriate Covid-prevention protocols,” she said.

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