They say when life throws a lemon at you, make lemonade, and that’s literally what Nikhil Patil did after he tested positive for Covid 19. He contracted the virus, he said, from a friend who had recently returned from Turkey when both attended a wedding together. Once the reports of positive cases from the wedding started trickling in, the nearly 1,000 attendees too were quarantined.
Ever since the novel virus has taken over the whole world, it has claimed over 2,00,000 lives, infected around 78,000 people in India, impacted the mental health of many and forced people to stay in lockdown. However, with no signs of coughing or fever, Patil didn’t expect his test results to come back positive, but took it in his stride when it did.
The 35-year-old recalled, “The very first sign was when I lost the sense of taste. A couple of friends even sent me biryani and chicken, but nothing worked. But being infected with coronavirus was beyond my imagination. So when my friend tested positive, I went to get tested along with some other friends, enjoying a long drive to the nearest lab centre.”
The Mumbaikar, who recently became a father, told indianexpress.com, “My wife gave birth to our baby girl two months ago and she was at her parents’ place, while I stayed with my grandma. As soon as my tests came in on March 30, I called for an ambulance around 11 pm. I told my Dadi that I would be back in a day or so. I took my Bullet, some cash, a charger and a sanitiser and with my brother-in-law, left from my residential area so that the ambulance can reach me easily and waited for it till 2.45 am. First, the ambulance took me to KEM Hospital but when they didn’t take me in, I went to Kasturba. There, they admitted me and allotted me a ward and bed.”
It took him around 30 days to recover completely. Initially, he confessed, ” I felt petrified at the turn of events but slowly made friends in the ward and stopped taking everything too seriously. There was a student who had returned from London and a 75-year-old uncle who was back from the US. ‘Netflix and chill’ became my life’s motto. I would binge-watch shows every day till 3 am. I finished all the seasons of Money Heist, The Punisher and Sex Education in all these days. Although my wife and mom used to cry seeing me on video chats, my friends kept my spirits high as if nothing had changed.”
The nine days of treatment at Kasturba Gandhi Hospital helped revive his tastebuds, too, while the authorities organised a sanitised hall and beds for the first batch of coronavirus patients in Mumbai. “The beds were at a distance of one metre and the lab services were quick. The nurses and doctors were rather patient. In just the first nine days, they managed to conduct four tests on me. I was shifted to Lilavati hospital on April 9 as I was informed that more positive patients would be coming in,” he said.
At Lilavati, they were the first batch of positive patients. “The test reports took a while to come in,” he said. Following the ‘two-negative’ rule to get discharged, his second report came back positive on April 21. “I was confused when they said I had tested positive after two negative reports. But there was hardly anything that I could do. I just stayed among severely positive patient. On April 26, I was informed that the hospital was ready to discharge me. Apparently, the new testing kit that came from China was faulty and hence the report was wrong,” the Covid-19 survivor said. “After a point, I took care to avoid common areas, such as tea/coffee vending machines, etc.”
Although he didn’t have to pay for his treatment, the delay in reports made the 25-year-old anxious towards the end. “I requested for one more test just to be sure and they took my last sample on April 28. I felt ill even when I was not, perhaps because I was surrounded by covid positive patients. Having long group video calls with friends and family kept me going.”
After spending almost 12 days among positive patients, the newbie dad was released from the hospital on April 30. “I am yet to meet my wife and family. I have not stepped out of the house, but I do feel impatient at the thought of staying indoors,” he remarked.
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