No one, even in their worst nightmares, could have imagined that a harmless work trip abroad would end up in them contracting a killer virus, potentially ending their life
Rohit Dutta, the first patient from Delhi who tested positive for Coronavirus, is now a cured man and is glad that he is doing much better, however, the road to recovery wouldnât have been possible if he had lost faith in the very beginning itself.
It was his trust in the doctors and the system that made him win the battle and not succumb to this contagious virus, that's claiming lives across the globe in an alarming number.
Â© Rohit Dutta
After a bit of digging around, I was finally able to have a conversation with Mr Dutta as I wanted to personally know about his brush with the deadly virus, among other things, including the several myths that are surrounding this virus and its treatment.
Thereâs a sense of fear among most Indians right now, particularly in reference to the treatment and ergo are scared to report the symptoms. Several diagnosed patients are running away from hospitals, putting their lives and the lives of others in danger, simply because they are scared of something that is not even true.
I got in touch with Mr Dutta over the phone and as soon as he picked, I congratulated him for being courageous enough to battle the Coronavirus and emerge victorious as a healthy man.
âI am glad I am doing much better. It's nothing to be scared of. If you see, 80-year-old Italians are also doing alright now and in Jaipur, people had several ailments but they recovered. I believe that you should go to the doctor as to when you start seeing the symptoms, the sooner the better,â he said.
When I told him about how people are harbouring terrifying notions about isolation wards in hospitals and thus, are not forthcoming in reporting their symptoms, Mr Dutta asserted that the entire atmosphere of fear was only doing more harm.
âI might write a letter to the Prime Minister for not using words like 'Isolation' and 'Quarantine'. We need to, maybe, use a better word as they are infusing fear in the heads of people. Maybe people are thinking that isolation wards are like kal kothris (dungeons), where crime offenders are kept in jail, but that's really not the case,â he said.
The panic surrounding Coronavirus is so intense at the moment, that a few days ago, at the very hospital where Mr Dutta was getting treated, a suspected patient committed suicide.
He was a 23-year-old man who had been living in Sydney for the past year and upon reaching the Delhi airport, he mentioned headache as a complaint in his self-reporting form. He was then taken for an evaluation to the hospital, however, he jumped off the seventh floor and took his own life.
âI am very saddened by the news of the man committing suicide by jumping from the seventh floor of the hospital. I was in the very same hospital and six of our family members were also getting treated there,â Mr Dutta said.
According to him, this fear has more to do with the social stigmas present in our society. âBasically, the fear stems out of the social stigma and people are actually thinking it's TB from the old times. And even if it's a social stigma, I think steps like committing suicide are simply wrong. I am deeply upset about this. Why are people not thinking about their families? Not seeing the possibility of getting cured? I am not aware of what came to his mind, but I don't appreciate such acts. As I mentioned before, even 80-year-old Italians are getting cured,â he stated.
To get a better understanding of the isolation ward he was admitted to, I asked him to describe in detail what it actually looked like.
Â© Rohit Dutta
âThere are various hospitals and God was kind enough that I got Safdarjung. You need to understand that there are hospitals that are 40 years old too and their infrastructure is like that. You have wards in such hospitals too, but where I was put, it was a new building in Safdarjung hospital. It had everything that a patient needs and please understand, it's a hospital, not a luxury hotel. I had a big room with an attached bathroom and even hospitals in Mumbai might not have the luxury of having a big room. Instead of a double bed, you have a hospital bad. I believe people are just worried because of the word, 'isolation', and I still don't understand why that guy jumped as it's curable,â he said.
He went on to add, âI had a window in the room but I never used to open it because I didn't want it to spread. My ward was fully centrally air-conditioned and what more can the government do? I had round-the-clock doctors and nurses keeping a check on me but this is what I got in this hospital. I can't tell you about others.â
Furthermore into the conversation, I asked him about the treatment for the pandemic, as people outside have no idea about it and there are many theories stemming from their imagination, thatâs only making the situation worse.
âFor people like me who had no ailments, it was just medications. The doctors told me there are some lower and higher infections on day 1. It was just medicines and I wasn't induced with anything. If I would have gotten any respiratory issues, they would have put me on an oxygen supporting system.â
If you are wondering that you will be put on some 'medical' diet as well, Mr Dutta has debunked that myth too, âWell, the food was healthy and don't expect chaat in the hospital. So, the hospitals have their own dieticians and they give you a balanced diet of dal, sabzi, chawal, and roti.â
Delving further into his time spent at the hospital, I wanted to know more how his days in the isolation ward were like.
âIn my 14 days, I was only introspecting and after good six-seven days of introspection, I did realize where I went wrong and then, it was time to use Netflix. I am at home now and the only difference is the double bed and the couch in my room. In the hospital, I had a single bed and it was centrally air-conditioned,â he said, further adding that he used to stay connected to his family through WhatsApp and video calls and that's what kept him going.
âI used to stay in touch with my daughter and son through WhatsApp and video calls. I used to tell my daughter to shower love on me through the phone. These are all boosters in my life,â he said.
To show the brighter side of isolation wards, he shared an anecdote from when he was admitted at the hospital.
âSo, one of the house-keeping staff was there and I actually thanked him for taking care of things. The nurses, doctor or other staff have to completely cover themselves and the dress you have been seeing on the internet, actually raises their body temperature to 4 to 5 degrees. I also thanked one of the nurses and they both told me, 'you don't have to thank us as we have chosen the job',â Mr Dutta said.
During the interview, he kept stressing on the importance of not ignoring the symptoms, âMy appeal is to not ignore the symptoms and come out of that fear and approach the doctors. Don't worry about social stigmas as you will be accepted afterwards even if you had Coronavirus."
He then proceeded to talk in detail about his own symptoms that confirmed Coronavirus.
âMy symptoms included cough and it's similar to the one you hear on the phone these days just before your call gets through. The first time I heard it, I literally thought it was me and I disconnected. I had 99.5 fever but these are very general symptoms when you're down with cold and cough. Four of our other members had no symptoms at all and yet they all were positive. My both brothers-in-law from Agra also went to Europe with me but they had no cough or anything,â said Mr Dutta.
He, again, emphasised on reaching out to the doctors whenever you feel discomfort and ascertain for sure if itâs Coronavirus or not.
After this, I asked him about his life post-treatment and also wanted to know about his other family members who were tested positive as well.
âI am absolutely fine now and I am practising social distancing. I am adhering to the guidelines provided by the doctors and the government. I believe that you have to be a responsible citizen,â he said.
âFour of them were discharged earlier and two will be discharged today. All the eight members were connected to us, 6 were family members and one was an accountant and his wife. But, everything is fine and you need to remember that you have to keep fighting as people always remember the victorious,â he added.
He also joked about never even trying the Corona beer ever in his life, âAfter this, I have realized, you need to introspect. Everyone has this changing point in their life and this was mine. In my case, I haven't even ever had two corona beers (laughs). What I want to tell you, just have faith in God and keep introspecting.â
I was curious to know about his first reaction when he found out that he had been tested positive with the Coronavirus.
âWhen I went inside, the doctors told me I am Corona positive. I was scared but they assured me that everything is going to be back on track and they will send me hale and hearty, even if it takes an extra two days. You have to surrender and have trust in your doctor who is no less than God. Just have faith and don't be scared. Let me explain it a better way, even if you go for a tooth implant, you are scared of the very thought of the injection but it vanishes when the doctor assures, it's all gone,â Mr Dutta said.
In the flow of our conversation, he also cleared rumours about the fake reports of him. âThere were rumours about me and the party I did for my son's birthday. We were only 11 people who went to Hyatt and not 40 people as reported in the newspapers. People didn't know that I didn't go to Agra but my brothers-in-law from the city travelled to Europe along with me,â he informed.
As our interesting conversation winded down towards its end, I wanted him to give some advice to those who are running away from hospitals or are simply scared to come forwards and report their symptoms.
âThat's foolishness and I believe that precaution is better than cure but har tarah ke log hai. In my case, I had gone for my job to Europe and if I would have hugged you or something, you might would have got Corona but I wasn't aware back then. Now, the information is out for everyone to know. People who are running away from hospitals are fools. Please donât be scared and listen to the doctors, it will all be fine.
âI feel it will take two months or so and it will be all tackled if we all adhere to the guidelines provided. If you see China, South Korea, and Japan, people are now getting recovered. They announced in December and things are better in March.
âIt's all about fighting the battle without thinking of the consequences. Just hit the hospital whenever you start getting the symptoms, forget the social stigmas,â Dutta signed off by giving this positive advice.
Well, I hope this interaction might have cleared your doubts about the isolation wards as thereâs nothing to fear about.
MensXP is happy that Mr Dutta is back home and we hope that people understand the term - âsocial distancingâ now and take it more seriously.