Divangana Dash (17) was diagnosed with swine flu on July 16, but the six days she spent in an isolation ward of a government hospital in north Delhi turned out to be the most social days of her life.
“When I was admitted to Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in Rohini, I was the only patient. When I was discharged on July 21, the ward was full,” said Dash, a Class XII student of St Thomas School, Mandir Marg.
“I had to wear a mask all the time...Within days, three more from my school tested positive and then it wasn’t so bad. With friends in the ward, we spent time talking and reading,” said Divangana, who went back to school on Friday, July 31.
Of the 160 confirmed cases of swine flu in Delhi, 38 are students.
The nightmare started on July 13, when she developed a cold and headache but continued to attend school. “On Wednesday evening, the school called my father in Udaipur and said I should stay home till next Monday because a girl in my school van had swine flu,” Divangana told HT.
Clueless about the infection, the Shalimar-Bagh resident promptly went online for more information.
Divangana had got infected from a Class VII student, who had got infected in Singapore. When Divangana developed body ache, headache and a sore throat on Thursday, the family physician recommended testing.
Her mother Vandana (48), a cashier at Punjab National Bank, called JustDial for the number of the nearest swine flu testing facility, which was Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in Rohini.
“My mother and I were given masks ...All I carried was a book and mobile phone with me,” she said.
Her throat swab and blood was taken for testing. Divangana tested positive at 10 pm.
“I could not believe it. I was sure it would be negative. Apart from a sore throat, I had no other symptoms. I was not scared. Doctors assured me the virus could be treated,” she said.
Her mother Vandana can now laugh about it. “She was the first positive case in the hospital and the doctors seemed more scared than us. But they were all very helpful, “she said.
Divangana’s father Dushyant Dash (50), senior Manager in Canara Bank in Jaipur, did his bit by praying. “There were only 90 cases in India then and one was in my house! I started doing mahamrutinjaya japa ...My friends did yagnya and her school held a Sunday Mass for her,” he said.
The school also declared a week-long holiday (till July 27) for Divangana’s section. “I still feel tired, but it all ended well,” she said.