‘Be positive, use will power’: 59-year-old Bengal coronavirus survivor’s mantra
Ten members of the family tested positive soon after Singh’s 44-year-old sister-in-law died on March 30, a day after testing positive for Covid-19.Updated: Apr 13, 2020 16:11 IST
When Dharamnath Singh and nine of his family members tested positive for the coronavirus disease, his world came crashing down.
The 59-year-old had already lost his sister-in-law, the first victim in north Bengal, to the respiratory illness that makes people like him more susceptible.
Ten members of the family tested positive soon after Singh’s 44-year-old sister-in-law died on March 30, a day after testing positive for Covid-19.
She had gone to Chennai alone on March 7 and returned with her daughter on March 19 in a Chennai-Bagdogra flight. On March 20, she visited a local doctor with a cough and high fever before being admitted in the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) where she died.
The head of a business family in Kalimpong town and nine others were brought to Siliguri and admitted to NBMCH and later shifted to a private nursing home that the government has taken over for treatment of Covid-19 patients.
“When I and other members of the family tested positive, I initially thought the world had come to an end. I soon realised that the virus has to be defeated and for that we need determination. I am home now and free again,” Singh said while speaking to HT.
“Instead of being afraid of the virus people should stick to discipline and social distancing. The virus can be defeated with sheer determination and will power,” he said.
However, the head of a business family in Kalimpong town fought the deadly virus alongside Kavya, his three-year-old granddaughter, and walked out the nursing home with the child on Saturday afternoon.
Diabetes, kidney transplant
After spending 12 days at NBMCH and later at the nursing home, Singh and his granddaughter tested negative to Covid-19 in three back-to-back tests.
“Positive thinking, determination, will power, discipline and social distancing are the mantras in the war against the coronavirus,” Singh said.
He had undergone a kidney transplant in 2006 and suffers from high blood sugar, a condition that makes many people, especially senior citizens, succumb to co-morbidity.
In fact, the West Bengal government is reluctant to attribute these deaths to Covid-19 alone.
Julie, Kavya’s mother and Singh’s older daughter-in-law, also returned home on Saturday. She was not infected but had to stay with the child.
“Initially we were scared. Had we remained scared and did nothing to bring out the positive energy from within we would not have come out of the nursing home so soon,” Julie said.
“One should not be afraid. If you are afraid it becomes difficult to fight a crisis. There are doctors, and even common people, to help you,” she said.
“Kavya was always in a playful mood during the treatment,” she added.
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Singh has the same attitude and some advice.
“One must be firm, keep social distance and have lukewarm water regularly to defeat the virus. If you have the symptoms, please don’t hide it. Tell others and go for treatment. There are people to help you. One can recover in 15 to 20 days,” he said.
“Though they tested positive, members of my family did not have the typical symptoms,” said Singh.
“We are extremely happy that the eldest amongst us and who underwent kidney transplant has been released. This sends out a positive message when people are looking at coronavirus as a killer,” said Bijay, Singh’s younger son who also underwent treatment at the nursing home.
On Saturday, the entire team of doctors and nurses who attended to the family, was present when Singh and Kavya left for their home in Kalimpong. This was the first time that patients were released in north Bengal after treatment.
Bijay, his mother, uncle and the family’s maid were discharged Sunday evening after their subsequent tests came negative.
In Kalimpong, 46 people, including another member of the family, are in still quarantine.