THANK YOU COVID WARRIORS! At the GMC’s CCR receiving ward near Casualty, where covid patients are directed to be checked and evaluated before being admitted in the covid wards or put on home insolation, don’t miss the disposal head-to-heel blue protection garb of staff here. Must be suffocating but remember, taking care of covid patients is taking a risk of being infected oneself.

SO help me whatever gods there be. It finally happened to me, my dears. My tryst with Covid-19 — or Omicron! There were smaller fleeting inconsequential trysts with lesser monster variants earlier but this one felt like and still feels like the more real variant. Actually, I still have to understand the difference between the corona virus variants and am trying to make sense of them…they viruses which from all accounts turn bacterial later on courtesy lazy treatments or lazy bodies or so I think. My body has become very lazy in recent years for want of motivation.
This last month of January in Goa has been a nasty experience of blowing wind, perennially dusty, contaminated streets and presumably all kinds of viral gangsters on the loose (along with the political kind). But what I’m referring to here are the real oh my god and for goodness sake Omicron virus. Reportedly, this one has looser morals and not very discriminating and is hell bent on infecting everyone and anyone so that eventually who are fit to live acquire natural antibodies over seven-day home isolations and covid positivity in togetherness.
The story is most doctors now prescribe seven days in isolation to their RT-PCR positive patients, but does it really happen? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what kind of home we’re talking about in our society. Homes which may be peopled with happy families or homes peopled with unhappy families – perennially in search of more room to function with reasonable tolerance and give and take.
During the so called seven-day isolation if you have to do it, you have to do it. Put on your mask and trot off to the nearest chemist shop to buy more masks, Dettol, cough syrups and drops, tissues, etc. Does the chemist know you tested covid positive just yesterday? Nope. Pharma sales are good. More folk are in trouble with their immune systems courtesy idiotic urban lifetyles. It’s business all around. Make your business killings now!
It is a fact that Covid positive or negative, in isolation or not in isolation, we break the rules we have to for practicality’s sake. We don’t go around with an announcement slung around our neck stating “I am covid positive! Keep your distance! Don’t talk to me! Just serve me…this is what I want and here’s the cash or debit card…” So tell me do the coronavirus dacoits jump hands?! As it is folk are living in fear and you don’t want to make waves by announcing something which may make a dog run away terrified of your corona positive announcement.
Never mind that it could have been a false corona positive. But you cannot ignore the evidence …coughing, snivelling, dripping nasal fluids, lots of sneezes which grant instant freedom to breathe anew, and then the fever on and off till you start popping Dolo and struggle to stay alive beneath a cloud of soft razai in bed at night.
I MEAN, we are scared, but the pernicious corona virus gangsters are here, there, everywhere and when you least expect it they pounce on you. So okay, here is my story. Picture this: We are in a cramped office room, hell bent doing our work for the day. One young man, a first time covid positive recovery, having done his seven days home isolation and anxious to get back to work…he goes cough, cough occasionally. We ignore it. For a while during our menacing covid times I had insisted everyone coming in must sanitise hands or wash hands, wear mask, and if there is any coughing to be done, do it in behind mask or better still make good use of a handkerchief. In the good old days men and women carried handkerchiefs. I wish we would return to the gentle habit of keeping a proper utility value handkerchief in one’s pocket or bag or tucked in bodice (not just for decorative purposes, this is for women). Corona virus enemies are hiding everywhere and nobody knows on whom they will pounce next. It could be you if you’re naturally stupid!
THE long and short of all this is on Republic Day night with dry itchy throat, a cough plaguing me, cough first, then snivelling dripping nose, pain-ridden joints, etcetera – as usual at first I thought I’m down with a seasonal flu. It can’t be the wretched covid for goodness sake! Not me! And yet I get on my bike and roam the streets on daily work errands…I like to breathe in so called fresh air, the mask comes up only in the company of others! It’s hard avoiding crowds these political days if you’re a scribe and feel you have to attend a few important press conferences to find out which way the wind is blowing for candidates anxious to sit on the hot seats of power by hook or by crook.
It was not to be. Suddenly I was all at sea with this corona virus variant of still mysterious origin haunting my body with some gusto…third day a mild fever sent me off into a delirium of I better start counting my last days on earth! Who shall I give my last bits of jewelry too, my stainless steel vessels, my copperware, my stoneware, my Manipur grinding stone, my red pashmina stole, etcetera. You get the idea? Women are forever on collecting or giving away sprees (some women of course)!
To stick to my tryst with Omicron by day four I was talking to my doctor friends about my feeble attempts to live normally. The same morning an Ashwini Pathology lab medical technician turned up at home to treat me to yet another one of these RT-PCR tests. Vishwanath did the throat and nasal swabs gently, smoothly. Don’t worry, he said, be happy, “I’m sure you are not covid positive, you’re looking so cheerful!” I was happy, he was happy.
THE next think I hear and I wouldn’t believe it. It came to me on my WhatsApp, the document testifying that my SARS COV 2 COVID19 by RT PCR result was positive! All the biological references were there and I was marked Positive 26 (only if you above 35 you will be negative, less and lesser is worse and worst vis-à-vis vial load or something like that). The report came in at night and by dawn I was in panic. Quick smart phone consultation and my favourite doctor says, it’s okay, it’s not serious, go to the GMC, they won’t admit you but may keep you under observation for the day.
I protested it is nonsense, it’s just another flu, it’s just a covid flu — everyone is getting it by now, young and old! The young don’t take it seriously because over their irresistible New Year day celebrations they picked up the viral bug and brought it home so that the old folk too got infected! If the whole family goes positive it is easier to do home isolation in tandem of course, or is it? It definitely helps of everyone is isolating together with common treatment, diet, varied states of mind and moods rising and fizzling out…we’re all in it together and the rest of it. Etcetera!
To stay with my predicament I was suddenly petrified and wondered if somebody will lock me up in a room and throw away the key? My friend Dr Amit Dias says don’t be silly, it’s a mild case, go to the GMC and get it over with. It’s free treatment there. The better three-quarters wants me admitted while I resist it. “I’m not packing a bag of clothes, I’m not like you as a patient!” I snapped, “If they admit me hospital clothes will do me fine and I’ll be in them till I die or leave with the gift of another lease of life…I still have a few things to wind up before saying goodbye to the world.” You get the gist of it?
Funny, or not funny, at the GMC the CCR ward tucked away down the Casualty corridor, a few junior and senior doctors take a look at my covid positive credentials and I suggested I should do a thorax scan (why should I suggest anything, I’m supposed to be the patient!). I had been coughing like crazy at night. So a CT is ordered and with my clothes on I slip into the doughnut-styled CT Scan machine, in and out, and the nurse standing far away at the door telling me it’s over, it’s over, get up! I had flaked out a bit believe it or not. She handed me the result paper and told me to report to CCR where doctor will deal with me.
Take off your footwear and the floor is dead cold! I squirm, doctors never take off their footwear although they may be in angelic flimsy blue uniform togs…why tell patients to do it? Isn’t it a better idea to offer patients walking in a pair of disposal socks in lieu of making them walk barefoot on cold floor? Oh okay, may I am just nit-picking here for it is a government hospital after all offering free public service, no?
My vitals were taken. At 130 isn’t my blood pressure high? But the reticent nurse said, no, it’s normal for your age! In between dealing with other more serious patients I was told I was good enough to be prescribed home isolation with a prescription – they’re a harried and busy lot in the covid special CCR of the GMC. I looked at the many seniors like me coming in on stretchers, obviously in worse shape than me. Some on oxygen cylinder, their feet revealing them to be diabetic, some breathing and moaning heavily. They looked so blue and sad and I consoled myself that compared to them I’m a dream come true!
ANYWAY, it was no admission for me in the brand new state-of-the-art covid ward for me. So we said goodbye to the CCR team and returned home. Late into the night I was thinking of the short nurse telling me 130 BP was normal for patients my age. I told her I’d forgotten how to walk ever since I got my navy blue Honda Activa to buzz around town Panaji, but she was not interested in my empty chatter. She had more serious patients to attend to. A Dr Ashutosh is more cordial to talk to, he said don’t worry, just do your home isolation of seven days and you don’t have to repeat RP-TCR to feel you’re finally free of Covid19 tentacles.
Never mind that I am still coughing in fits and starts. In conclusion it’s like nobody is taking covid positive seriously out there, so it’s like a merry-go-round of viral scares real and unreal and we may take them for granted depending on our primary sensibilities – much like the politicians do as they follow the dough line! I’ve come to the conclusion that there is very definitely something to the great Covid-19 biological warfare conspiracy.
If you’re NOT vaccinated and boosted up with booster shots you are like a pariah and must be punished with all kinds of mandates. The rich of course can afford anything in pursuit of eternal youth! Where is equality, liberty, fraternity of civilisation and democracy when we muzzle free speech and enquiry? On that note it’s avjo, poiteverem, selamat datang, au revoir, arrivedecci and vachun yeta here for now!

—Mme Butterfly

Some interesting stuff…
(Contributed by my dear friend Bharati Pavaskar when I told her I was a covid patient finally, she’s a covid veteran now!)
If you have covid:
• Take Mahasudarshamn kadha, 25 ml, plus 25 ml water after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Get it from Hindu Pharmacy.
• Get Shwasari kwath from Patanjali. Put spoonful and boil. Two glasses. Drink twice.
• Lots of coconut water.
• Lots of fruit.
• Kanji.
• Light food.
• No animal protein.
• No milk.
• Steam inhalation with tulsi leaves.
• You will be alright in three days.
• Have cucumbers and tomatoes.
• Your home is your Kashmir (this when I told her our politicians should offer seven-day wellness holidays in Kashmir if they wanted the votes of their voters!)

MY GMC PRESCRIPTION for covid recovery….
(Prescription for Pankajbala T Narayan)
• T Calcium, 0-1-0
• T Bplex, 0-1-0
• T Zinc, 0-1-0
• T Vit-C, 0-1-0
• Syrup Ascoril 5ml-0-5ml

What does a seven-day home isolation prescription for a covid patient sound like? Here’s one very tried and tested attested doctor’s prescription ….

• TAKE tab Hifenac P, one tablet thrice daily, for three days.
• TAKE Azid or AZEE 500 mg, one tablet once daily, for five days.
• TAKE Happi D, one cap twice daily, for five days.
• TAKE Luke FM or Odimont FX or Montelukast fexofenadine combination, once tablet, once daily, for seven days.

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