My COVID Fight Taught Me This — Take Chances, Live a Full Life 

A collage created by my friend, SidSen. I’m (L) holding up an ice pack (for IV cannula pain). Oxygen through a nasal tube. That’s a photo of Salvador Dali with his cat on the right.
(Photo: Tanya Aggarwal)

M: “How is she?”

Sulabh: “It’s been dropping – 89ish.”

M: “Turn the phone. Tanya! Look at me. Get up and do those breathing exercises. Otherwise, I’ll have to come there and force you.”

Me: “No, don’t expose yourself. I’ll do it.”

Wow. What an effort it is to breathe.

Sulabh: “Let’s get that concentrator? The deal with the S family is whoever needs it first.”

M: “We have the same deal with the B family. They have confirmed we can pick it up.”

Time to turn prone. Heave. When did turning over become so difficult? Panting like a tired dog.

Voices in the background: “Yes, connect it like that. See how the water bubbles — use filtered water only. Seems to be working. Let’s hope we don’t need it.”

What’s happening to me?

Voices in the background: “Oh God. What should we do? Turn her prone? Call M.”

Do you remember the defining image of Godhra 2002? The man with teary eyes and hands folded, pleading for his life? You can see death in his eyes. Choking is a bit like that.

Sulabh: “Tanya — turn. Her oxygen is 86… 83… 86… no, it’s going down. Tanya — breathe. Look at me — take a breath, exhale to the side. Good. Again. Other side.” (dialling M)

Gasping for air.

Rehaan: “Papa, what’s wrong with Mumma?”

Sulabh: “Rehaan, she’s going to be fine — wait in the living room with Teddy. Want some ice cream?”

Rehaan: “Yes, chocolate chip!”

Sulabh: “Ok, I’m coming. Go, wait for me.”

Please, Mr PM. The room is full of air but I can’t breathe. I am not atmanirbhar right now.

Sulabh: “Started the concentrator. Glad we did a dry run last night.”

M: “Quick, get the mask on her. We have to keep her stable until we find a bed.”

Ah. Breathing. Electricity, please don’t go.

The sign outside the hospital - the reality in this city. 

The sign outside the hospital – the reality in this city. 
(Photo: Tanya Aggarwal)

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