Facing alien Isolation

Facing alien Isolation

As I reported to one undisclosed location at the Indo-Pak border, the Medical Assistant prescribed me to swallow one tablet instantly on the very first day at Field Supper Bar. While I filled with curiosity, my colleague narrated through a thought-provoking consequence of influenza epidemic of the early 20th century.

Kamal Baruah

(The writer can be reached at kamalbaruah@yahoo.com)

As I reported to one undisclosed location at the Indo-Pak border, the Medical Assistant prescribed me to swallow one tablet instantly on the very first day at Field Supper Bar. While I filled with curiosity, my colleague narrated through a thought-provoking consequence of influenza epidemic of the early 20th century.

As millions of soldiers return home from the First World War, a new disease begins to sweep through Britain. It was the deadly 'Spanish Flu' that infected a third of the global population, causing deaths of millions of people. In view of the widespread prevalence of that disease, the then Local Government had to issue Health Advisory public notice to suck Formamint tablet and a small dose of Quinine to protect them from the danger of infection.

For me, it was just two Paracetamol commonly known as PCM and a complete night rest to feel recharged as I travelled a long distance over harsh climate. Such wilderness is not intended for human habitation as our forward locations are based in a remote corner that is miles away from the nearest settlement. We need to protect ourselves by taking all possible precautions from any infectious disease. As even symptoms like aching of limbs and headache are too not readily recognizable for unavailability of competent medicos, which may lead to serious complications.

There is no reason why soldiers shouldn't adopt the preventive measures thereby Medical Officers of Armed Force Doctors enforce on a routine affair. I was literally blown away by the dos and don'ts that convinced me fully. The story goes on and wine flies for the soldier-duo with a few small drinks until dinner was ready at sharp nine on that arriving-day evening.

Those days of combat readiness are still fresh in my memory despite the fact soldiers faced a daunting task while facing enemy over infective virus in the battlefield. However, another pandemic of COVID-19 has devastated India in the second wave. Three-and-a-half crore people had the victims of that severe acute respiratory syndrome. The reality of that situation has not been realized until recently when this writer got infected that reminded him after a series of health hazards with his entire family. A physical war would have been better as one can see enemy in front but he faced such helplessness while fighting with an invisible enemy.

Hospital experiences of COVID wards are not as positive as people mostly remain at home quarantine to nurse themselves for health attention and even people hide from COVID test but go for self-medication. The symptoms are endless from high fever to cough, tiredness, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, headaches, aches and pain, diarrhea vomiting, irritated eyes, rash on skin and what more…the series of illness attack together to body.

Neighbours felt scary the way frightened of getting infected from sufferer. Soon the message spread, the door was shut and felt alienated from own surrounding. Victims experienced alien isolation, as if felt like a survivor while outsiders faced away from ailing people.

Interestingly the healing experience was a few PCM, Antibiotic and Vitamins besides there are Syrups, drugs of various symptoms of difficulties and large quantities of warm water with Oral Rehydration Salts. He feared hostile from neighbours of being coronavirus carriers. Even the reports of SARS-COV-2 RNA are negative, they are marked asymptomatic. The rise of fear and misinformation about COVID fuels xenophobia between haves and haves not. Can victims continue to pull on self-isolation for a long period?

As the festival is on, devotees visit mandaps to seek the blessings of idols. Priests and choir chanted the story of the resurrection through the waves of loudspeakers. Victims felt blessings from the rhythm of the dhak of Arti at distance. Words couldn't express his gratitude towards compassionate attention, plenty of advice and professional care from doctors, friends and well-wishers. Though medication treats fever and pain in a couple of weeks but only the time can heal the pain of their grief.

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