‘Happy memories’: An 84-year old with comorbidities recalls how he fought off fear and Covid-19

Updated on May 19, 2020 03:44 PM IST
The octogenarian had a close brush with death during the 24 days he spent fighting coronavirus
Mitra finally emerged victorious in his battle against coronavirus. A doctor said he was also helped by his strong will power.(HT Photo)
Mitra finally emerged victorious in his battle against coronavirus. A doctor said he was also helped by his strong will power.(HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Kolkata | BySnigdhendu Bhattacharya | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

84-year-old Tapan Mitra successfully won a 24-day war against coronavirus despite battling comorbidities and a debilitating fear of being infected by a disease without any known cure and the isolation that it brings with it. He says what helped him apart from the treatment, was a will to live and happy memories to die for.

The enormity of odds Mitra faced could be understood from the fact that while having even any one among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular ailments can be fatal for a Covid-19 patient, Mitra had all four.

Over the next 24 days, as the doctors struggled with “a very bad Covid-19 infection” and a secondary infection that developed in his bloodstreams, twice forcing Mitra into the intensive care unit (ICU), the octogenarian banked on “happy memories” to summon the strength to defeat the deadly contagion.

“Lying on the bed, I tried to remember happy and good memories. I banked on remembering travels and people. That helped me survive through this unprecedented mental stress,” said Mitra, a former corporate honcho who had served as the managing director of Indian Aluminium, chairman of Haldia Petrochemicals, and eastern region chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry. He is also the president of the prestigious Calcutta Rowing Club.

The HT Guide to Coronavirus COVID-19

Mitra was taken to the private hospital after he reported breathing difficulties and admitted to the isolation ward before he tested positive for Covid-19.

“Initially, I was damn scared to be in the isolation room. To live in complete isolation looked unbearable. But later, the doctors and nursing staff helped me cope with the situation,” he said after his release from the hospital on Monday.

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Talking to family members over video calls further inspired him to win this Covid-19 battle. He has been advised rest at home for the time being.

According to Raja Dhar, a pulmonologist and the director of Fortis Hospital Anandapur where Mitra was admitted, Mitra had “very bad Covid-19 infection”, with his lung getting badly affected, and later a secondary bloodstream infection made things all the more critical. He was put into the ICU twice.

“Mitra’s recovery is very pleasing because it was one of the cases when one nears death but still survives. He is mentally very strong, disciplined and motivated and that also helped in the recovery,” Dhar said.

In Bengal, as of May 18, a total of 2,825 persons have tested positive for Covid-19 and 1,006 of them have recovered, while 244 persons have died.

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