By Sharmini Jayawardena
I had my second brush with death when I was tested positive for COVID-19 in mid July of 2021! The doctor gave me my result and did not ask me to get hospitalized.
I really can’t remember the exact details, for which I will have to depend on my family. But what I do remember is an amazing encounter with a nocturnal visitor, unrecognisable for the most part, and more like a vision. This vision came to me one night while I was fast asleep in my bed and it did some work out moves on my body! That’s what I remember.
The very next morning I had all sorts of changes taking place to my physical self! As I remember, I had a running fever, a recurrent cough, loss of appetite, and I was struck by unbearable pain to my body, which I later heard is myalgia.
After a while the pain receded as I kept listening to downloaded music on my phone. I believed the music could heal me.
(This, from a person who had earlier on in the outbreak of the Disease in 2019, had decided to get tested at the very first signs of experiencing symptoms!).
What I didn’t know was that COVID takes a dip and returns to attack you again!
For the rest of what happened to me in those fateful days, here is my family doing the talking –
They noticed I was coughing at the minimum for a week or two! Then one of them got symptoms of fever and myalgia. Thereafter, another member of my family had the same symptoms. They decided to get themselves tested for COVID at the nearby clinic. I still didn’t want to go along with them.
They returned from the clinic having tested positive for COVID-19. Then I was taken for testing, and I tested positive. I returned home and rested. I took Panadol for my fever for the first time. I did this for one whole week. I also drank a lot of 100 Plus to boost my energy. As someone said, it’s true that COVID makes you feel very tired!
We managed to buy an oxygen meter within six days and found out that I was getting readings from 84-86-88. These were all very inconsistent readings. At which point, when the doctor was consulted, he advised me to go to the hospital. My family says that had I remained at home I would definitely have ended dead, unless of course my oxygen levels stabilized by some stroke of luck.
I believe if we were not fortunate enough to get the oxy-meter, in time like we did, I would’ve been on my way to death.
From the day you fall sick and you inform the health authorities, it takes a good two or three days for them to update you with notifications on the Health App, for daily blood pressure, temperature, oxygen level and updates on other symptoms.
By then it’s almost too late ⏰ to order your oxygen-meter online and have it delivered to your home.
At the time we got sick the systems were all overwhelmed – Delivery to hospital Emergency to capacity in hospital Wards.
We called the ambulance for me but since I live a ten minute drive from the hospital I did not have to wait for the ambulance.
The ambulance did arrive after I had left for the hospital.
At the Emergency I was immediately put in a wheelchair and within an hour I was given the oxygen mask. I was also put on steroids and antibiotics. I was a Category 4 with pneumonia!
I was at the Emergency for approximately four days. Having no access to day light, in Emergency, having lost my phone and having no contact with my family, I was unaware of the time passing.
I was quite alert to what was going on inside me and around me. I was placed in a cot like all the other patients, and I was witnessing people dying around me, as the nurses and attendants would cover them up. They probably died in their sleep as I did not see anyone struggling. They say that COVID deaths are very painful and hard to bear for both patients and on lookers alike, I believe.
I know I was placed in a bed in the ICU, or the Intensive Care Unit. I was talking with the patient right next to me. I was then transferred back to a cot in the Emergency, as my oxygen levels stabilized.
The lack of access to daylight in the Emergency contributed to my feeling utterly disoriented. I remember thinking that I had not felt this way when I was hospitalized on a previous occasion. Later, my ward mate had confirmed the fact that the lack of daylight had had a similar effect on him as well.
The doctors had decided not to give me anything to eat that night, for, had my condition waned, they were prepping me to be placed on the ventilator!
When I returned to my cot after having used the rest room, I was still waiting for a bed to fall vacant in the Ward. I spent altogether seven days between the Emergency and the ICU.
(I must say that all this time I did not feel any pain in my body. I did not experience any pain at all while I was in hospital. On retrospect, I believe this may have been due to the antibiotics and steroids I was administered in hospital.
However, doctors from elsewhere maintained that this was due to the vegetarianism I had observed for seven years. My having practiced fasting for seven months since the beginning of January 2021, also must have prepared my body for this ordeal, they opined.)
At this point, for some reason, a nurse fixed a catheter on me with a urine bag attached to it! I did not see the need for one as I had just returned after having used the toilet by myself with no assistance at all from the nurses or the attendants.
After a while, a band of doctors, nurses and attendants came right to where I was lying and told me they were taking me to the Ward.
I was transferred to the Ward in a wheelchair along with the urine bag. The ever faithful Sithi, a patient I had befriended was still there in the Emergency right opposite me, checking her phone. She said to me, “Call your family when you get to the Ward.”
The doctors, nurses and attendants followed me out of the Emergency and we parted ways as I passed the exit. The doctor asked me to let them know when I got to the Ward. I asked him what his name was and he said his name was Ari.
Once I reached the Ward however the nurse told me there was no Doctor Ari there.
Anyway I realised that I was in good hands as I reached my bed and the attendant handed me my urine bag! From his expression I felt there was much work to be done ahead of me.
Many occurrences transpired during my stay in hospital that warrants another post. In short, I had to force my way through to recovery and my final exit from the Ward, every step of the way.
The first thing I did was to get my phone out of my bag. Upon searching high and low I realized that I had been relieved of my phone by some means during my stay at the Emergency. It was possibly taken away from me when I had gone to the toilet.
There ended my yearning to listen to music on my phone which I was looking forward to very eagerly.
I immediately informed the nurse about my missing phone and she said she would search for it. Later on one of the nurses told me not to pursue the missing phone problem too vehemently as they would eventually find it for me and they did.
The very next morning I woke up asking the nurse: “ Am I a prisoner here? I have lost my phone and have not been able to contact my family for so many days. If I’m a prisoner, what is my crime? I must be a prisoner of conscience then”!
Later that morning, a doctor came up to my bed and asked me why I was “carrying that ugly thing” with me, referring to the urine bag. To which I replied I did not want it. He immediately asked the nurse to remove it.
By that afternoon the nurse had contacted my family on her phone and I was finally linked to the outside world in reality after about three days.
My stay at the hospital was dotted with many such incidents, as I mentioned earlier on. All of which paved the way to my finally leaving the hospital on 4th August 2021. I entered hospital on 24th July 2021.
I realized I was being treated very well in hospital. The doctor in charge was exceptionally good to me. My entire stay in hospital was all free of charge. The doctor even sent me a physiotherapist to correct my breathing. I was given the benefit of a physiotherapist for three days. I picked up on the breathing exercises they taught me and I still continue to practice it.
I’m ever grateful to the authorities for having been so good to me.
I’m completely healed now 🙏 Upon inquiry the nurse told me I should continue eating the food I had been eating before entering hospital.
I believe I was possibly the only patient in the ward who also didn’t have another disease on top of COVID. They took many samples of blood from me and found the blood to be really good 😊
I continued with a meat and fish diet after returning home in order to boost my immunity. I will be soon going back to being a vegetarian. I might even continue fasting once again.
I will be speaking on my fasting which I also found out was called the Warrior Diet, quite by accident. Just like this, one thing leading to another.
Finally but not the least, I need to be thankful for the power of prayer in all of my recovery ❤️🩹 I must say I was praying very fervently and so were my kith and kin for a fast recovery for me from COVID.
I also believe my having written the post bellow ⬇️ had something to do with my right royal experience, being in hospital with COVID 😄