I flew into COVID’s nest

Shahed Hyder describes how he overcame the virus through sheer will

I flew into COVID’s nest
Imagine being 74 years of age and stuck in a remote country like Mauritania on the Atlantic coast and you are told that you have contracted COVID-19. It is nothing less than a judgement that you have been assigned to the death row. More so, because a dear one succumbed to the disease just 4 days ago! After the initial shock is over, a strong feeling of disbelief surrounds you; no, there is a mistake, couldn’t have happened to me, there is some mistake in the test. All that is soon over when you start to feel feverish and some typical symptoms of Covid start to envelope your anatomy and a morbid thought of dying starts to form in your mind; you must shun it away like contaminated trash.

Having been through death facing situations four times in life in my military career, I distinctly remember one thing which was a common denominator to these situations; your complete life flashes through your mind in a fraction of a second, with emphasis over the things you had meant to do but had not done. That is a good sign because it is telling you that you are not yet ready for eternal peace. Simultaneously the will to survive kicks in and you feel rejuvenated and reinvigorated; that is the best part!

A complete denial and total refusal to accept these morbid fears takes over and you are ready to take control of your life and survival. The human will to survive is such an energetic instinct, it surprises you. There is one single thought that becomes dominant; “I am not ready to depart before I am restored.” And here, you are on board the recovery train.
The human will to survive is such an energetic instinct, it surprises you

The main thing to control is the oxygen level in your blood. I was surprised that I was consuming one full sized cylinder in less than 24 hours by taking very deep breaths and almost getting addicted to oxygen! (a good addiction). Having dropped to 86 percent oxygen, I raised it to 97-98 percent within 48 hours. All this without Dr Fauchi and Walter Reed hospital. The doctor was surprised, reluctantly removed my mask and inserted two tubes in my nose, the likes of what you see in the movies; looks classy too! After 24 hours, they removed those too, just to see if I can raise and sustain my oxygen levels without any external aid. Another 36 hours of observation and they were obliged to discharge me to vacate the bed for another serious patient. Hooray! I said that I had fought and defeated the main evil.

Back in the rest house where I was staying, I was happy that I did not have to listen to the painful cries and sobs of my sick neighbours. And then starts the more difficult part of the recovery; you do not even want to look at food and your energy levels are down to minimums! Your sense of smell is gone, your taste buds are dead. But slowly, each day, the situation improves. A good indication is that your only dreams whilst asleep are that of gourmet breakfasts, extended four course lunches and banquet dinners. And each day, a new taste bud awakens and you start yearning for food again. A new addiction kicks in; H2-O! Withdrawal symptoms for plain water are most dominant. I was consuming over a gallon of water in a day!

Finally, after a 34-hour journey, I am home.

I do not want to take any extra credit for my recovery nor boast about it. Only my family and a few others knew about my ailment. The main contributing factor to my recovery in all of this are the well wishes, prayers, love and encouragement of my loved ones. It adds to my will to live and survive on a constant basis.