Over the weeks, I have mused countless times about how much the pandemic occupies my thoughts. I have imagined in vivid detail what the virus does and can do to our bodies. I have feared that someone dear to me might be affected.
Amma spiked a fever ten days ago. A mild fever she said. I was worried.
“Take an advil” I advised and went about my day. She woke to a fairly high temperature but did not have a thermometer. Over the next ten days, the fever spiked and fell with a combination of ibuprofen, paracetamol, antibiotics, Tamiflu and eventually steroids.
Doctors came and went. Some with PPEs, some without. They changed up her meds, prescribed neer mor for dehydration and uniformly advised against testing for COVID.
“Her lungs are clear.”
“I can definitely say this is not COVID.”
“She will be ostracized.”
Their reasoning stretched my beliefs. I gave in, quelling my rising fears and relegated myself to googling symptoms. Common sense told me a fever of unknown origin untamed by flu meds and antibiotics, given everything around us can only be COVID.
On day nine, my siblings and I tapped into our network, called a few dozen people, worked across time zones and got a prescription for a test. We waited, anxious for over 24 hours, refreshing email for the test results.
It arrived late afternoon east coast time.
“I am scared, can you open the email?” I texted my sister
“It says detected”
The moments were surreal as we each processed that our mother, alone by herself over 8000 miles away was afflicted by a virus for which there is no cure, no medicine. The virus ravages the body and leaves people suffering chronic conditions for weeks after, that is if she survived.
We quickly banded together, my brother, my sister and I and formed a task force of sorts. We tapped into the same network, again, with an urgency that was pressing.
Finding a hospital bed took over ten hours, anxious drama prone moments that drove home the privilege we are born with. In a city with a zillion private hospitals, all of them were overrun. There were waitlists. We tapped into that network again and breathed a collective sigh of relief when a room, a single private room was made available for amma.
The journey has just started.
I am worried. I am worried we may have made a mistake. On the eve of Father’s Day, I wonder if I sent my mom to a fate similar to his. Vivid images of him on a ventilator are seared into memory. It is the one thing I do not want for Amma. It may not be in my hands at all.