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Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Pal

The Agonizing Year of 2020

In my horoscope, the time of Saturn mahadasa and sun antardasa started from September 2019 to September 2020. This time period was predicted to be of physical pain and mental agony. In a layman’s term, the period was not going to be a good, difficult time in terms of both physical and mental challenges. So I was mentally prepared to deal with any eventualities right from the start. For the first six months nothing significant happened, then in the early part of 2020 everything went to a state of suspended animation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtually everything was shut down after April, the university, the city, market, the international flights, etc. Much of our time was consumed researching about Corona virus and the fear of catching the same. Initially, I was very much afraid of the COVID-19 infection; so I virtually locked myself in the villa and got glued to web series most of the time. However; for getting the groceries I had to depend on vendors, when they came to our villa, due care was taken to maintain the social distancing and serialization process. Despite all these measures in the mid of May, I picked up the infection from one of the vendors. I did not have any breathing problems only mild flu-like symptoms for 2-3 days, loss of smell and taste, digestive discomfort, loose motions, tonsillitis, and headache. Though I could not go for any RT-PCR testing as it was not readily available in my city, from of nature of the problems I am 95% sure it was COVID-19. Not only me my other friends & colleague staying with me in Abbas Road villas also got the similar symptoms.  My treatment method included hot water gargling, steaming, hot tea along with antiallergic, antipyretic (paracetamol), and hydroxychloroquine sulphate. I recovered 80% after 12 days; however, I started having nasty nasal congestion and cannot sleep without Otrivin drops and also had severe headache occasionally. The irritation in my throat persisted even with hot water gargling for the next 4-5 months. Then in the mid of October, I again started having high fever so I tested for malaria which was prevalent in Kano at that time. I was found positive and immediately put on anti-malarial medication. The first day of chemotherapy was very hard for me, I virtually collapsed and had to be administered IV drips. However, after about 3-4 days of medication I recovered completely and all my earlier problems like throat irritation, and headache also completely subsided with anti-malarial treatment. This is a rough sketch of my physical sufferings that I had during 2020.


Now coming to the mental agony part. Despite all my warning and caution to Wasim bhai regarding Corona virus, I had a great fear that he may contact the infection as the COVID-19 cases in Delhi were rising leaps and bounds. My apprehensions came true as he got the infection and because he was having uncontrolled diabetes, virtually nothing could be done. Moreover, all the hospitals in Delhi were overcrowded with patients so whatever was possible was done at home. He could not withstand the infection for 4-5 days and expired on 5th July. It was a very big blow for all of us, Wasim bhai acted as a guide and guru to me, so losing him was devastating. He constantly supported me during my own recovery with his good wishes and prayers. The conditions and circumstances of Delhi were such that nothing meaningful could be possible. In the second week of July my wife informed me that Parimal Chandra (Pom mama), youngest brother of Dr. Bimal Chandra have also got the CODID-19 infection. He too was highly diabetic and needed hospitalization. The oxygen retention in his RBC was not staying normal and after about 15 days in hospital he expired on 30th July. I was just recovering mentally from both the losses of Wasim bhai & Pom mama when my brother informed me that my father (Babji) was having a high fever. I immediately advised my brother for Covid testing which was done in the morning of the following day i.e., 17th August. My dad tested positive and by the evening he expired. We were prepared for this and knew that this was coming. My dad was attending 10-12 patients every day during the lockdown period, as most of the doctors in Kharagpur shut their clinic due to the pandemic and he being the President of India Medical Association could not keep his clinic closed. He was later recognized as one of the front line Covid Warriors. Dad was almost 90 years, energetic and highly diabetic. The next day all the other family members were tested for COVID-19 and all were found positive, my brother and cousin developed breathing problems and had to be hospitalized. Anyway, after a week both recovered with therapy and other family members recovered without any active medication. Due to the pandemic, the last rites rituals of my dad could not be performed. The next big jolt came after few days when Fatime (Dr. Hina’s brother) from Lucknow informed me that he had lost his mother due to old age, she was around 80. And Dr. Hina was also not keeping well after her mother passed away. She fell from the staircase a few days back and her blood pressure was fluctuating and there were some heart issues. I tried to contact but could not reach her as she was not taking calls. For Dr. Hina losing her mother was very painful & upsetting. Maybe another 15 – 20 days after, Fatime informed me that Dr. Hina expired from heart failure. Oh, God! This is was too much, all my loved ones left me in a short span of time. Then after a few days from this incident Tukudi from Bhopal informed me that Bithidi succumbed to liver cancer (treatment complication). Bithidi was the inspiration behind many success stories of my wife Sanghita in Bhopal. She also helped her to start her coaching classes. Last year we lost Babuda of Bhopal to liver cirrhosis. I was lucky to meet him in 2018 when I last visited Bhopal. Both Babuda and Bithidi help us immensely to settle down in Bhopal during my second innings. Then at the fag end of the year Masima of Bhopal (Ananda’s mother) expired of COVID-19. The year 2020 was really very agonizing for me emotionally. So many painful & sad things happened as per the predictions. Om Shanti!