“Don’t take Covid-19 lightly”
After having tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 last week, Province 5 elected NCP representative from Banke district, Krishna KC (Namuna), is being treated in Bheri Hospital in Nepalganj. From her hospital bed, KC has spoken out asking Nepalis not to take the virus lightly, and to adopt preventive measures. This comes as Nepal experiences a surge in coronavirus cases with 27,241 confirmed cases, and three more fatalities as of Monday, taking the total to 107. Of these 24 cases were in Banke making the total in the district to 737 and three deaths so far.
KC is now recovering, and also pledged on social media to donate her plasma to other infected people as after being discharged. She dictated this message from her hospital bed:
I first started experiencing body pains nearly three weeks ago. I was still attending the provincial assembly in the beginning, but as the pain got worse, I stopped going.
I live alone in a rented room in Butwal, and my neighbours started reaching out, even called a masseuse over to lessen the pain. But after experiencing even worse body aches, I decided to leave for my relative’s home on 2 August.
My sisters did not think it was coronavirus, and they took care of me, staying in close proximity, and even sleeping in the same room. Soon, I developed a fever and forced myself to visit the hospital. On 8 August they tested me positive for Covid-19.
After this, all my symptoms began to match those of other Covid patients. The doctors explained to me that my body aches, loss of appetite, stomach aches, diarrhoea, and fever, were all signs that I was infected. Upon receiving my diagnosis, I immediately updated my Facebook status, alerting everyone who had been in contact with me so that they also self-isolate and take PCR tests.
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I hear many people say that it will not happen to them. Some are careless, and mingle in crowds, or don’t wear masks. They think they are immune to the virus, or wrongly believe that even if they do get infected it will be no more than a simple flu or cold. It is this mind-set and complacency that is the root cause behind the surge of cases throughout the country.
Believe me, it is very difficult to recover once infected with this virus. After having first-hand experience and suffering from the illness, I have been on social media trying to warn the public to be more careful.
It is difficult to say where and when I got infected. I did visit Narainapur village of my Banke constituency many times when it became a coronavirus hotspot in May, and there was a lot of movement at the community level even during the lockdown. I inspected the quarantine centre there, but experienced no symptoms at the time. It seems the virus takes time to incubate.
I had not visited any affected area or come in contact with people who seemed infected prior to getting the body aches. Furthermore, the masseuse and my sisters who were in close contact with me tested negative for the virus. So there is a great deal of uncertainty about how the virus spreads and who it infects. The best thing is, therefore, to be extra-cautious and not take any chances.
I am currently the only coronavirus patient in the isolation ward of Bheri Hospital, and despite the care and attention that I received from the doctors and nurses here, I have realised that the virus drains not only the physical strength of patients but also mentally and emotionally destabilises them.
They are separated more than two weeks from family members, it is extremely important for patients to realise and remind themselves that they are not alone. They have to rely on the support of everyone around them, remembering that their families, friends, and relatives are constantly wishing them a swift recovery.
The pandemic hit Nepal relatively late, and much of the infection has spread here from across the border. We must now work not just on prevention, but also in having adequately equipped and staffed hospitals for treatment.
I believe that it is incredibly important for hospitals to allow patients to virtually meet and communicate with their families, to obtain mental and emotional support in such a vulnerable condition.