This wretched pandemic has tested us in every possible way ! It has destroyed my beautiful family.
I still cannot understand how are some people taking this pandemic lightly and continue to take lightly. Are they overly blessed? Or simply too lucky?
In the first few days of the pandemic, I apologized publically on social media, when I realized this is not a flu and needs to be fretted, not taken as a joke or a conspiracy.
It began as a blessing in disguise though, as Fasih who had come for a spring break for 2 weeks, ended up staying for 11 weeks. It was a close family time in lockdown, and we made the best of it with long drives, board games, movie nights, cooking times and giving cold cream feet massages to each other, and even doing nothing all day. As I was working from home and closely following and raising awareness on TV and social media on increased spike in domestic violence in the lockdown, Fasih remarked, “Who are these fools being abusive in this time that enables plenty of free time for closeness and family bonding?” As I spoke on TV program until Maghreb, Fasih fried pakoras for Iftar in Ramazan. We couldnt have had a more beautiful 11 weeks together.
In this very 11 weeks we began hearing of distant friends of friends having family members get COVID, in hospital, on ventilator etc. And we felt, now the numbers are beginnign to turn into names and faces,
Then we came to know of a common friend’s parents pass away in a week’s gap in UK and her entire family was down with COVID, but rest survived.
Fasih’s friend in Ireland got diagnosed with malignancy and we were shaken, and he spent evenings talking to him.
The same time, it was Italy reeling with COVID disaster and I have a cousin, his entire family locked down in Rome, Milan. It was scary. We kept praying for their well being.
Then we heard of a Taj Consultant Clinic’s Plastic Surgeon was on ventilator in UK. This time the pandemic had hit closest to us. Fasih and I had a detailed conversation on how dangerous it is for doctors,
Fasih told me, “We Pulmonologists, along with ER & Intensivists are in the foremost frontlines.”
A chill ran through my spine, and begged him, “Dont go to Pakistan now”, but he laughed it off saying, “Yes we have to be careful and prepared, but this does not mean we have to go into hiding.”
Finally he flew to Lahore, and then drove to Karachi to reach back his clinic.
Pandemic kept spreading. So did my fears. I repeat I still dont get how people continue to take it easy.
Then I heard the news of a cousin a few years older in Jaipur losing his life suddenly in May.
Soon after Eid, Fasih’s younger brother fell sick. After a week of negative tests, he tested positive and was admitted in ICU. Fasih was shaken. He was very disturbed and worried on his X-ray picture.
And then came the fateful June. A close friend of Fasih Dr. Mahmood a GP in Makkah passed away withing 4 hours of admission. And it was Fasih who broke the news to his wife and other family members. He was very visibly shaken by this loss. And then came the news of a second cousin, another surgeon on ventilator in Riyadh, for which the extended family sent money via Fasih.
And then even closer, my first cousin in Delhi my age, passed away to COVID.
As if this was not enough of a jolt for all of us, Fasih went in line following others, on 26 June. It just took him 5 days.
I still wonder how am I still thinking, eating, sleeping and even living.
I know I am not alone. There are families where father-son, father-daughter, brothers, husband-wife have gone in the line of service as doctors.
I am extremely paranoid, and scared for every other loved one. This wretched pandemic aint over yet.
And again I still wonder, how are there people who are taking it lightly and still not being affected even a fraction of the way we have been.
Never ever in my life, did I ever feel I was the most unfortunate person alive.
Are we just very unlucky or are they just too lucky?