By Farheen Zaidi
Realizing the fact that Covid has resurged with positivity rate going back to as high as 7pc among daily tests conducted in Pakistan and with thousand of people falling prey to this pandemic, it gives one a comic relief that for once in their life they are not alone and have thousands like themselves joining the Covid-19 affectees list each day.
While the countries are busy in sustaining human and financial damages coming from this pandemic, each of 56,623,643 confirmed Covid-19 patients have struggled with their own emotional and physical damages from this pandemic, across the world.
Being a Covid survivor myself, I am compelled to write this and share my own story of fear, hope and eventually health from this globally feared pandemic, and to voice the story of other 371,508 Covid patients across Pakistan in general and 161,028 patients across Sindh in particular.
The fear of pain can be worse than the pain itself. I know it might sound odd to someone as it would have sounded to me until some three weeks ago. The idea of fear being more painful than the pain itself was equally bizarre to me right until I got my test reports for Covid-19 and I learnt that being positive is not always the best thing. At least not in the case of any disease related diagnostic.
The first thing that hits a Covid patient is the fear attached to the disease, followed by a series of questions. How am I going to break this news to my family? Am I going to die? How painful is it going be? Will they allow my family to see me once I am gone? What if I survive? How are people around me going to react while I am positive? Would I be acceptable to society post my quarantine period? The list can go on and on as a positive Covid report can make one think all the negative things in the word and I was not the only one going through this. Almost all the positive patients in my circle share the same story.
While one is processing all these questions and trying to find answers through research and if the news breaks out in the circle, suddenly everyone around the patient becomes a doctor and the Whatsapp is flooded with all the herbal remedies for the Covid-19. To the extent that one starts believing that global warming and lack of forestation in Pakistan must have been courtesy all the trees and plants being consumed for the treatment of this Covid-19.
Realizing the fact that I too might had picked the disease from my local area clinic and going back there would only mean exposing further more people to the disease, while also considering the fact that self-medication has cause more human lives than Covid-19 ever could, clubbed with the aforementioned havoc of unnecessary information a Covid patient is flooded with, I (like any other covid affectee) needed a qualified doctor to guide me through this journey of fear. Luckily enough, I had access to a famous general physician through the on-call facility so I got connected to him immediately, only to learn the following two important lessons for life. 1) distant based consultation is a science in itself. And 2) it is not necessary that a good doctor would be good at distant based consultation as well. I was again standing at point zero.
This leads to the interesting bit where to my pleasant surprise I got a call from a lady on the very next day of my test report, claiming herself to be a doctor and calling on behalf of Sehat Kahani & Ministry of Health Sindh. Admittingly, I was concerned as the claiming doctor had all my details from personal identity to the test reports. I was very much anticipating the calling doctor to tell me how well I can be taken care of against some amount of money and how she would need my banking or card details to process the call. As I had left the hint earlier by mentioning this surprise being pleasant, the doctor did not only informed me for this being a pro-bono service but was also trained on distant based consultation and had a command over breaking the stereotypes and myths pertaining to Covid. The medication prescribed to me was the same which the famous general physician had already prescribed to me but the way I was counselled over the dos and donts of Covid as well as the protocols to be followed while maintaining home quarantine. Considering the anxiety and depression this whole episode of being Covid positive was causing, I was also offered Sehat Kahani mobile application for real time access to mental health experts without having to leave my quarantine place.
The best part of the call was that it was not restricted to patient counselling only and with my due consent, my family was taken in loop through a follow up call to get the awareness on preventive cares associated with Covid patients around.
Being Covid negative now with only slight traces of weaknesses left, when I look back at how effectively I was followed up on alternate day basis (until the test report came negative) not only for my wellbeing but also to keep a check if any of the family members might not have developed the symptoms, and all this coming from a government arranged partnership; it gives me a realization that among many other myths pertaining to this deadly virus, the biggest myth has been that government is not doing anything to prevent or combat this virus! Thank you government of Sindh. Thank you Sehat Kahani!
About The Author: Having a bachelors’ degree in nursery nursing from Joseph Chamberlin College Birmingham England, Farheen Zaidi is a part time teacher and full time home maker with interests in education and public health.