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One, two, free! 25 brilliant ways to escape 2020’s groundhog days | World news



Back in March, most of us were too busy hunting for toilet paper to worry about boredom. But as the months have passed, “lockdown fever” has set in, with each day becoming depressingly similar to the one before. While few people miss being nose-to-armpit with strangers on a busy commuter train, many find that long-term home working leaves them feeling isolated from managers and colleagues. And this is assuming you’re still lucky enough to have a job. Zoom fatigue is rife, and there’s only so many times you can shout: “I think you’re on mute, Alison!” before you’re ready to throw your laptop out of the window.

Meanwhile, our social lives have been hit by social distancing and restrictions on group meetings. Holidays have been cancelled or cut short as a result of quarantines. The only bright spot is that if you have school-age kids, at least they’re on the way back to class rather than under your feet.

With summer fast coming to an end, the “old normal” is still nowhere in sight. So here are 25 tips to break the monotony and escape your groundhog life.

Play exercise bingo

Fed up of the same workout day in, day out? Personal trainer Eliza Flynn suggests gamifying your usual routine with an exercise “bingo card”, ticking off activities in whatever timescale suits you. Activities on her card range from running in the rain to brushing your teeth standing on one leg. “To get out of a rut you need to embrace your inner child,” Flynn says.

Or what about fitness roulette? Using scraps of paper, write down exercises that you can do easily in your local area, such as going for a bike ride, a swim, a jog or a long walk. Put all your ideas into a hat and pick one to do each day. You can apply the same principle to high-intensity training, by listing shorter activities such as 45 seconds of jumping jacks or a minute of squats or push-ups. Though it’s unlikely to make burpees less excruciating, at least you won’t know when to expect them.

Leave your house

If you’re not expected to go to the office any more, why not take the opportunity to change the scenery? “You could live abroad for a few months or take some time out in the countryside,” the careers coach Susan Grossman says. “Changing your environment can help to recharge and refocus you.” As long as you have an internet connection and you have checked the coronavirus restrictions in your destination of choice, the world is your digital oyster. If tropical paradise takes your fancy, Barbados is introducing a new 12-month welcome stamp, which will allow visitors to live and work there for up to a year.

Write a love letter

Embrace your inner Lord Byron and write a love letter to your date or long-distance partner. “We’re all struggling with digital overload right now,” says Stefan Walters, a relationship therapist and member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. “It can be nice to send each other letters, poems, pictures or packages instead to keep the spark going.” You could also post letters and gifts to friends, family and neighbours to brighten their day.

Arrange a hiking date

This is the perfect time to break out of your dating comfort zone and try something new, says Walters. “Before the pandemic, people would limit themselves to meeting for drinks after work with someone who lived in the same city or even the same part of it. Remote working means greater flexibility. If you live in London, say, you can easily visit someone in Surrey and go hiking or for a picnic. Try expanding your horizons for both dating locations and activities.”

If you’re reluctant or unable to leave home, you can at least put a new spin on the video date. Rather than an awkward chat on Zoom, Walters recommends trying an online cinema date where you both watch the same movie while using headphones and discuss it afterwards. Alternatively, sign up to an online activity together, such as a cooking class or game. “It gives you more to talk about and helps to break the ice.”

Teach your old dog new tricks

Animal therapy is a good way to bring your attention back into the moment and boost serotonin, the “happiness hormone”, according to the clinical hypnotherapist Geraldine Joaquim. “You can use YouTube videos to teach your dog a new trick, or set out a bird feeder in the garden if you don’t have your own pet,” she says. Other options include petting zoos and cat cafes, now reopening across the UK. If you love dogs but can’t commit to ownership, download the Borrow My Doggy app to meet people in your local area and walk their pets.

Teach an old dog new tricks.

Illustration: Spencer Wilson/Synergy/The Guardian

Hypnotise yourself

Many of us have experienced disrupted sleep or vivid dreams in the past six months, leading to exhaustion during the day. Joaquim suggests practising self-hypnosis to calm the mind and encourage a better night’s rest. “While lying in bed, imagine your favourite place or experience. Walk yourself through it, imagining the details of the scene and things you can do there,” she says. “It will help you go to sleep with happier and more peaceful images in your mind.”

Practise focused breathing

“In the same way you brush your teeth for two minutes a day, you should make space for focused breathing,” says Joaquim, who explains this will help to clear the mind. “Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and breathe in through the nose counting to seven. Breathe out through the mouth as you count to 11, then pause. Repeat this six or seven times for around two minutes.” Meditation apps such as Headspace and My Life can help make mindful breathing part of your daily routine.

Take an improv class

Many of us have lost confidence during the pandemic, either through lack of social contact or reduced support and feedback in the workplace. Sarah Wheeler, a leadership and mindset coach, suggests taking a one-off improv class with an organisation such as Hoopla to improve your creativity and help you break out of a rut. “It also gives you the chance to meet new people.” Classes are available online or socially distanced in parks.

Join a community choir

“Singing in a choir is a great way to meet new people,” says the life coach Naomi Empowers. “The mental health benefits of choral singing include enhanced brain function, strengthened feelings of togetherness and the release of endorphins and oxytocin, resulting in reduced stress and depression.” Since lockdown began, choirs such as London City Voices, Shared Harmonies and the Voice Project have gone virtual, running community singing-based activities online.

Connect your family

With the possibility of winter lockdowns looming, the entertainment manager Dan Collins suggests making sure your family is digitally connected. “From virtual cheese and wine tasting to online chess, there are lots of activities to keep families together during the colder months, even if we can’t meet up. But you’ll need to make sure everyone has the right technology to get involved.” For those who don’t have the time or skills to help older relatives, Age UK offers support and training, while the charitable initiative Connect the Love has been donating tablets to help care home residents to get digitally connected.

Get a light box

“Light affects the brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep,” says Laura Fulcher, the founder of the cancer charity Mission Remission. “Using a lightbox has been proven to reduce fatigue and boost your mood. It’s also a helpful tool if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder in the autumn and winter.” If you’re taking any medication make sure you check with your GP first, as some drugs can make you more sensitive to light.

Build new support bubbles

Some friendships may have crumbled under lockdown, but the pandemic doesn’t have to mean the end of your social life. Fulcher recommends using the downtime as an opportunity to meet people who are more like-minded. “For example, if you’re isolating at home with a long-term condition, try joining an online forum or support group to meet others in the same boat. Or if you love something like paddleboarding or writing, consider starting a group locally to connect with new people in your community.” You can also try Meet Up to find out which groups already exist, or check out Next Door to find out what’s happening locally.

Combine volunteering with exercise

If you are picking up groceries for someone or helping an elderly person in your town to clear their garden, consider running or cycling to your destination instead of driving. If you would rather volunteer as part of a team, you can join Good Gym, a group of runners who organise regular volunteering missions. Operating in 58 areas across the UK, they will give you the chance to do good while improving your fitness and meeting new people.

Combine volunteering with exercise.

Illustration: Spencer Wilson/Synergy/The Guardian

Start an energy diary

While it’s great to keep track of how you are using your time, it’s even more important to understand how much energy you are using. Make a list of all your daily activities and score them based on their priority and how much physical and emotional energy they take up. “A diary might help you to analyse your behaviour and from there make positive decisions about how best to spend your time,” says Fulcher. “It can also show you that some activities, such as browsing social media, might be using up a lot of your emotional energy without really adding any value or happiness to your life.”

Join your local Mutual Aid group

Volunteering not only breaks your own rut, it connects you to others. Mutual Aid groups were set up at the start of the pandemic to connect volunteers with people who needed help and support in their area. Join by typing in your postcode and adding yourself to your local group. These support networks are still operating in many areas across the UK and are a great way to meet your neighbours. Alternatively, visit your local council’s website to look for volunteering opportunities that suit your skills and interests.

Go on an artist’s date

If you are feeling uninspired, bored or burned out, switch off your laptop, leave your phone behind and take yourself out on a creativity date. Heidi Scrimgeour and Hazel Davis of the Muse Flash consultancy tell clients to go alone to somewhere calm and inspiring such as a river, forest, art shop, museum or gallery. There is no need to bring a notebook or set deadlines – it’s just a chance to restore and reflect. The concept was devised by the American author Julia Cameron, who says artist’s dates fire up the imagination and encourage new ideas.

Try out fascial bounce

The Pilates teacher Emmeline Kemp has created a YouTube tutorial for fascial bounce, an exercise that helps to repair fascia, the connective tissue that attaches and separates muscles and other internal organs. “Lie down on a firm surface with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor,” she says. “Press your feet repeatedly into the floor as if you are trying to slide them away but instead feel your pelvis and ribs rock while your head gently nods. Try to sustain a regular rhythm of 100 to 120 beats a minute and continue for a minute or longer.” Kemp says the exercise can help to calm the mind and improve concentration. “It’s especially good for calming the 3am jitters.”

Bring out the fancy plates

We know that snacking on fruit and nuts will give us more energy than a doughnut in the long run, but it’s rarely as tempting. The nutritional therapist Alice Godfrey suggests swapping your everyday bowls for something special to give you an extra nudge. “Putting healthy food or snacks on to a pretty china plate is far more appetising than eating out of Tupperware. It will feel like a treat and encourage you to eat the kind of snacks that will give you sustained energy.”

Splurge on the herbs

Liven up your meals by adding a spoonful of different herbs to everything you make. “It will give you the flavour boost to make your meals more interesting, and adds nutrients. A single teaspoon of dried oregano added to a bowl of pasta will double the number of antioxidants,” says Godfrey. If you don’t want to buy dried herbs, consider growing your own on the windowsill. It will give you something new to do in your routine and brighten up your kitchen.

Take an online life drawing class

Throughout lockdown, the newsletter platform Cheapskate London has been distributing weekly emails with the best free live-streamed events. From online life drawing to drag queen workouts, there are plenty of new options to try. “Virtual events get a bad reputation,” says the newsletter’s founder, Kate Samuelson. “But they’re amazing for people who are isolating, shielding or living alone. As well as offering entertainment, they help people to find more structure in their lives.” Brixton Life Drawing is offering classes every Tuesday and Thursday in exchange for donations.

Try an online life drawing class.

Illustration: Spencer Wilson/Synergy/The Guardian

Play a socially distanced board game

It’s not easy to find activities to do while you stay two metres apart from your friends and family. A socially distanced board game means each person gets their own scorecard and dice, rather than sharing a central board. It’s a way to meet up without getting too close, and offers an alternative to a picnic or BBQ. For those who don’t feel ready to see others or are still in isolation, there are also Zoom options.

Break up your home

Eating, working and sleeping in the same spot are likely to increase cabin fever. If you don’t have enough rooms to have separate spaces for dining, sleeping, working and exercising, try using screens to section off different areas.

Take a new route

If you always find yourself taking the same route to work, the shops or your child’s school, shake it up and choose a different path. According to the motherhood coach Ivana Poku, small disruptions to your usual routine can have a big impact on your mood. “Doing something slightly new engages the brain in a different way and helps to fight that feeling of groundhog day. You can also try getting dressed in a different way, or getting up from the other side of the bed. Try to do something that’s new every day.”

Organise a play-based workshop with colleagues

Working remotely has left many of us feeling disconnected from our team. Large work events may be off the table for a while, but you can try play-based workshops online from the likes of Pact Creative. The sessions incorporate imagination-based games where participants help to create a story, along with drawing and drama activities. Available for friends and family members as well as corporate groups, they aim to support wellbeing, confidence and creativity.

Go whitewater rafting

If there’s one way to break out of a rut, it’s abseiling down a cliff or snowboarding down an indoor ski slope. Most “adrenaline sports” are now operating throughout the UK, albeit with a few Covid restrictions in place. Depending where you’re based, you could try whitewater rafting in Snowdonia, kayaking on the Scottish coast or racing-car driving at Silverstone. Try VisitBritain for more extreme sport inspiration and ideas.

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New travel website offers carbon labelling for UK breaks | Travel websites




A new website aims to help climate conscious travellers make more-informed holiday choices by calculating the carbon costs of British breaks and even day trips in response to the increase in domestic tourism during the pandemic.

Natural Britain, which launched in July, wants to become the go-to website for ethically-run travel in the UK, and claims to be the first company in the country to offer carbon labelling – a calculation of the carbon dioxide emitted – for every part of the trip.

Natural Britain hopes to appeal to the growing number of outdoor enthusiasts, many of whom have taken on new challenges or found a fresh appreciation for nature in 2020. Itineraries include a cycle tour of the Cotswolds, sky-running in Snowdonia and sea-kayaking in Scotland, and activity sessions and accommodation can also be booked separately. It hopes to feature 35 experiences by the end of the year, increasing to about 100 in 2021.

A Natural Britain experience includes exploring Edinburgh by bike
A Natural Britain experience includes exploring Edinburgh by bike

Although most are green, low-carbon trips, especially compared with foreign travel, founder Mark Wright said he wanted to make consumers more aware of the amount of carbon different aspects of a holiday generate, and hoped such labelling would become commonplace across the travel industry.

“If we all start to calculate our emissions, and everybody in the country aims for a personal footprint of 10 tons of carbon a year, there’s a much better chance of us making a meaningful reduction as a country, and as a world population,” he said.

On one of the company’s trips, on average accommodation accounts for 40% of emissions, transport 33%, food 25% and activities 1%. A five-day multi-activity break in Wales, for example, including packrafting, “riverbugging” (riding river rapids with an inflatable) and wild camping is labelled as generating 53kg of carbon dioxide per person, excluding food and reaching the destination. Advice on how to offset through a rewilding or reforestation scheme will be offered when bookings are made.

Sea kayaking, Dorset coast, UK.
Sea adventure along the Dorset coast. Photograph: Justin Glynn

Aviation is usually responsible for 40% of global tourism’s carbon emissions, contributing 7% of the UK’s total emissions, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Yet, while the International Air Transport Association forecast air traffic would be down 66% in 2020 compared with 2019, and said it would go down as “the worst year in the history of aviation”, the UN’s World Meteorological Organization announced on Monday that climate-heating gases have still reached record levels. The reductionn of emissions of between 4.2% and 7.5% due to the pandemic was described as a “tiny blip” in the build up of greenhouse gases.

This doesn’t mean we should lose hope, says Wright, it just “stresses the urgency that we have to make changes for the long term”.

Carbon isn’t Natural Britain’s only concern. Experiences must also benefit local communities, something Wright says the domestic tourism market has been slow to recognise as worthwhile. They must have strong sustainability policies regarding sourcing locally and single-use plastic, and be able to back them up.

“But we can’t be too rigid,” he says. “As long as people are doing the right thing and trying, we can offer guidance. Part of our ambition is to create a community of suppliers who can share best practice and develop ideas as a central resource.”

GreenTraveller, another website specialising in low-carbon sustainable holidays across Europe that launched in 2009, saw a huge increase in interest in nature at the local level this year, and in holidays in rural areas, especially glamping, and in “wilderness” and lesser-known Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, such as Arnside, Silverdale, and the Llŷn peninsula.

Its founder Richard Hammond noted that sustainable tourism was booming before Covid. GreenTraveller saw a 200% increase in web traffic in the latter half of 2019 and into February.

“It’s a good time to capitalise on the sustained interest in travelling closer to home,” Hammond said.

Natural Britain isn’t the only company to spot the opportunity. Byway, a new tour operator organising tailor-made slow-travel and flight-free trips in the UK and Europe launched last week, while others introduced UK trips for the first time, including 50-year-old Kuoni, adventure company Intrepid, and Wild Frontiers, which in August added the Orkney Islands to its usual programme of adventures in far-flung destinations, such as Sudan, Antarctica and Mongolia.

Although inbound tourism to the UK was massively down this year – Visit Britain estimated it would see a decline of 66% from a predicted 31.1m visits to just 10.6m – the rise in domestic travel has led to a bumper year for some aspects of the industry, with glamping the big success story.

Glamping specialist Canopy and Stars said it had the biggest year for bookings in its 10-year history, with forward bookings up 200% for 2021 already, suggesting the trend is set to continue – 98% of this year’s guests said they planned to take a UK holiday in 2021.

Even at the top end of the market, new UK ventures were getting in on the trend. Luxury tour operator Pelorus partnered in June with Camp Kerala, which usually creates festival glamping fields, to offer luxury personalised camps for private groups. Wildnis, whose staff have backgrounds arranging hardcore adventures in the Arctic and Sahara, launched luxury 4×4 expeditions in Scotland, from £3,500pp for four nights. It too provides offsetting.

Sales of wetsuits, camping gear, kayaks and paddleboards rose as people took on new outdoor challenges and sought to find solace in nature. The nation upped its adventure game it seems, and will continue to seek new domestic experience in the great outdoors.

As Alastair Humphreys, an adventure writer who promotes “microadventures” said, those who tried their first UK outdoor experience under the pandemic are likely to have got a taste for it: “The small, first adventure gives people confidence, surprises them how easy but rewarding it is, and makes them realise what great undiscovered things are on their doorstep.”

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Add these winter foods in your diet for healthy and glowing skin




The harsh weather during winters can take a toll on the skin. If you want your skin to be problem-free all throughout, then you need to make extra efforts during winters. Instead of just swapping your skincare products, also add healthy foods in your diet! Here’s a look at five foods you need to add in your winter diet for healthy and glowing skin:

1. Avocado

Not only are avocados good for your overall health, but they are also exceptionally good for your skin. Packed with Vitamin E and healthy oils, avocadoes nourish the skin from the cellular level. Loaded with antioxidants, they can protect your skin from oxidative damage.

2. Almonds
Almonds are an Indian superfood, which one can easily add to the daily diet. They are full of natural elements that hydrate the skin and prevent it from getting dry. Almonds keep your nails, skin, and even hair healthy. Rich in vitamins, they can help to fight early signs of ageing and moisturise the skin.

3. Carrots

Carrots are packed with Vitamin C which is one of the most essential vitamins for healthy skin. It helps in collagen production to retain the elasticity of the skin. Eating carrots can also help to correct uneven skin tone, fine lines and keep skin pigmentation at bay.


Tomatoes are rich in a pigment called lycopene which has numerous benefits for the skin. It has several anti-ageing properties and also boosts the production of collagen that helps maintain the elasticity of the skin. Try consuming cooked tomatoes cooked as there’s a faster absorption of lycopene.

5.Green Tea

Green tea is full of antioxidants that nourish the skin and make it supple. It is easily available in stores all around and has anti-inflammatory properties that heal the skin from within. Drinking green tea regularly can prevent flaky skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.

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My COVID Story: My mother is still suffering from the trauma of isolation in a COVID hospital




Ritika Darira along with her husband Suneel Rao had gone to attend her mother’s 59th birthday, where they found out that her father was showing flu-like symptoms. Slowly her mother succumbed to it too and they all tested positive. Her parents went through complications after returning home from the COVID hospital. Here’s her COVID story

We are currently on day 55 or so of our journey with COVID and still continuing to fight.

We assume it began on 8th September when I last met my very healthy mother who turned 59. It was her birthday. My father had returned home from work, I’ll get into the details of that shortly, and coughed through the evening. Given the flu season, his long standing issues with bad oil (yes, he had eaten some snack during one of his escapades away from home), we didn’t pay much heed and asked him to follow home remedies. He wore a mask while we were there but maybe the damage was already done. The following day he developed fever and kept coughing. We immediately asked him to be isolated and start medication for fever (Dolo+Vitamin C etc)
Due to senior citizens with pre existing conditions in my in-laws side of the family we had no option but to manage this with my parents over the phone.

While on medication, he got fever just once at night and due to weakness sometimes sounded frail and developed hallucinations (according to my mother). As most people in this situation are unable to manage these days, all isolation instructions were ignored and slowly my mother fell prey to the fever.

At this point both were maintaining saturation above 95 as per the pulse oxymeter we had at home. Since the fever had now persisted for almost a week or more we scheduled tests for both my parents They tested positive. We are now on 16th September. We insisted on hospitalisation but no attention was paid and they insisted on recovering at home. As soon as they tested positive, and since my husband and I had come in contact with them, we decided to get our entire family tested — 2 Adults 30-35 year old and 3 senior citizens — 1 with pre-existing conditions.

Thankfully my in-laws tested negative, however my husband and I tested positive. We were lucky to have extended family in Mumbai who immediately took my in-laws and grand mother in-law away to their home. This was also recommended to us by BMC. Getting COVID with mild symptoms is not as much a problem as the number of calls, arrangements and other restrictions that need to be followed immediately to ensure the infection doesn’t spread further. One needs to stay alert, not take too much stress and be strong — mentally.

After settling down from the fact we had been infected we decided to move on with life and assist my parents to seek home medication. We then had to look for a doctor who would consult them over the phone for steps to be taken during home isolation. And the medication to be followed. Other than fever and some cough they had no other symptoms. They continued to maintain saturation. BMC doctors do not provide home consultation.I’m not sure if this situation has evolved. I’m not holding this against them as during the course of our requirements they were quite helpful. We received pvt home consultation and medication began.

The last step in the process was to get a CT scan but how to get COVID positive patients a CT scan without any additional support was a blocker along with a lot of resent from my mother who started fearing the CT scan machine mixing it up for an MRI machine. They continued medication.

We are now on 18th September, I received a panic call from my parents since their oxygen dropped below 90.

We phoned our closest friends / family and the only solution was to get them hospitalised as my husband and I were under strict quarantine. We started activating our network, phoned the BMC etc and through some contacts found a bed in a private hospital. This was the time when bed capacity for COVID was at its lowest in Mumbai and all the hospitals we would think of were occupied. So we found two beds at an unheard, smaller scale facility but trusted the doctor who was helping us. My parents were admitted on a Friday. Their treatment began. A CT scan was done. And it was found that while my father had a milder infection 20-30%, my mother was seriously affected with a 40% impact.

My father did not require external oxygen support whereas my mother required one. What followed was a week of panic calls from the doctors. First to administer remdesivir to both my parents and then an emergency dose of a drug called tocilizomap to my mother. With minimal access to COVID specialist doctors, we sought whatever little guidance we could and trusted the doctors to do their job since the virus is so new and really does impact each person differently.

Things began to settle after this. However my mother’s recovery was taking longer than my father’s so he decided to return home. He returned home on 29th September. My husband and I continued our home quarantine during this time and tried to manage his schedule remotely.

Within 3 days of his return home he started complaining of all sorts of post hospitalisation issues such as urine infection, clogged stomach etc etc. Due to our inability to meet him in person, we tried to provide as much remote assistance as possible including an appointment at the hospital where he was treated, for a follow up consultation.

On the day of his appointment, he sounded iffy on the phone. By evening he had missed all our calls, and when he finally answered he was slurring and hallucinating through our conversation. We made an emergency dash to his house to find him in a semi-conscious state.

We phoned the hospital where he was treated for COVID, arranged for an ambulance through the BMC (extremely helpful chaps) and got him readmitted. Upon admission, it was observed that all his parameters were stable and the doctors rushed him for an MRI the following day. His reports were clear. Except for some infection in his Urine and a clogged stomach, the doctors were unable to point a finger as to why he went through that state. All this while my mother was still in the hospital as her oxygen levels weren’t settling at an optimum level.

Finally, on 12th October, after multiple conversations with the doctors, both of them were discharged. My father was weak but doing good. My mother walked out of the hospital while maintaining saturation with 2 ltr oxygen support.

Upon return, she was struggling with her health — typical post hospitalisation symptoms —- but seemed to be holding well until morning of 19th October when my father made a 6 am panic call to us. We yet again rushed to their house only to find my mother unconscious, pupils rolled up, teeth clenched, fists clenched and tightly rolled against her chest. It was a sign of a fit or a seizure as any layman would imagine. We again arranged for an ambulance with some help from a kind BMC doctor.

We rushed her to BSES hospital at Andheri West where we were told that they don’t have the necessary expertise to treat her and she needed to be wheeled into the emergency at Nanavati. We were told she had just 30-40 mins on her. We did that. Got to the casualty at Nanavati where the doctors started immediate action to help her. She was maintaining oxygen but her breathing was very heavy — a normal person breathes at a level of 14-15, we were told she was at level 33 and she needed to be intubated to first get her breathing under control, run an MRI of the brain and find out what had happened to her. Post that she was also put on a ventilator to ensure her body wasn’t getting further stressed and other organs were not affected. Please note that any patient who is recovering from COVID unless tested negative cannot be taken to non covid zones of Nanavati. I’m sure similar protocol is followed at other hospitals as well.

My father, husband and I spent most of our morning in the parking lot of the hospital. We finally decided to get my father to return home as we were concerned about his health too. Thankfully, my mother tested negative for COVID, and by noon the doctors at casualty had confirmed that her MRI was clear but we still didn’t have clarity on why possibly she had the episode she had at home. She was shifted to the ICU at the non COVID side of the hospital. This is a big blessing as we are atleast able to see her everyday and interact with the doctors. A team of doctors (Internal Medicine, Neurologist, Intensivist, RMOs, Nurses etc) got involved in ensuring that her parameters were first stabilised and then understand what could have caused the episode. By now we are at 4.30 pm.

Since her MRI reports didn’t show any serious concern, the next step was to check if she had developed any infection in the liquid around her brain. A brain CSF was done — for this liquid is drawn from the spine. A CT scan of the abdomen and chest was also completed. Reports would be made available the following day. Meanwhile medication was administered to her to regulate her hypertension/BP, small dose of steroids since she was on them for covid and we were explained that you just cannot stop it as it could lead to a sudden shock to the body, antibiotics for any other secondary infections.

As we tried to wind up for the day we learnt:

1. Doctors across all spectrums are still learning / trying to understand what kind of impact COVID, post recovery, has on people. It literally varies from person to person. We don’t hold it against them. We know that the doctors have done their best in our case to understand and rule out all possible medical issues one could face after recovering from a life threatening virus.

2. Immunosuppressants are a large part of the treatment protocols being followed for critical COVID patients and this leads to severe impact on the immunity levels of a perfectly healthy person. This makes them susceptible to secondary infections and hence, the post recovery care is of utmost importance.

Day 2 at Nanavati

While all neuro related issues were ruled out, the doctors identified the following issues

1. Lungs are badly fibrosed and there is a cavity in her lungs — it’s an irreversible damage to the lungs. We are still awaiting complete clarity on the percentage of damage and continue to consult doctors. More on this in following sections

2. Her stomach was badly clogged. To an extent that she required medically recommended manual intervention so her body could release the stools. All of this was supervised by doctors.

3. She had developed a severe urine infection i.e. secondary infection

4. She had fractured her foot— her James Bond attitude of wanting to walk home led to her tripping outside the house and what we thought was a sprain is actually a fracture which needs surgery — yes it doesn’t end!

By day 3 we had ruled out TB (thank god) medication was being administered for the above mentioned issues, and she was taken off sedation but continued to be on the ventilator. She took two days to regain consciousness.

Thereafter, until today 30th October, we have no clue what caused the convulsion. We know she has bad lungs, she has been taken off the vent and is holding all parameters.

The journey has been difficult on us but the hardest for her. While she managed coming off the sedation well; she has developed hallucinations after being taken off the vent which after reading and speaking with doctors made us realise that it is a form of PTSD.

We have been told that moving out of the ICU will settle her down and she will take sometime to overcome all the trauma of being isolated due to COVID, going through a ton of medication and thereafter the impact of being on a vent.

Why did this happen ?

My father unfortunately belonged to a section of society which did not believe in COVID. While he maintained some precautions during lockdown, all guard was let lose when the lockdown was lifted where despite his age and the risk he was at, he ignored all advice and recommendations to restrict movement from home, sanitise well and just overall be careful. We are not the strongest when it comes to financials but even if my father didn’t work at the little shop he owns for an year, we would have been able to keep him comfortable. We understand not everyone has this luxury. But if attention was paid on important measures including wearing a good quality mask and all self quarantine instructions were followed, perhaps this could have been avoided.

What is fibrosis of the lung ?

Our lungs are simply like balloons when we inhale air they expand and when we exhale they go back to their normal form. Fibrosis leaves permanent scars on the surface of the lungs which don’t allow that part of the lung to inflate.this leaves limited scope for them to produce enough oxygen for the entire body.

How common is this?

As we started consulting doctors we understood that many hospitals are getting patients that suffer from multiple after effects of covid and fibrosis is one of them. As per observation from some doctors number of people developing this condition due to pneumonia or influenza are lesser but covid a lot more. We got to know that there are people (mainly doctors in our immediate circle) who are suffering too so much so that getting up from the bed and walking to the washroom is a big task for them. Imagine leading a life like this ? As we started looking for more information on the issue, we realised that news papers are reporting about this impact of covid but there isn’t sufficient noise for it to atleast sensitise those who take covid lightly or do not stay cautious.

First hand experience at Nanavati ?

The day my mom was admitted within a span of hours another elderly person was rushed into emergency for breathlessness as he did not take significant care of himself after recovering from COVID. A senior citizen who was healthy but got COVID was put on the ventilator after recovery but did not survive. Another senior citizen with a preexisting condition had impact on the lungs. Recovered from COVID but her lungs were not healthy enough to sail through. I’m not sure if these deaths will get recorded under COVID deaths and that’s not a big concern but just ensuring that people are made aware could perhaps save a few lives!

Our intent to share our experience is to help people understand the post complications that COVID can cause and the havoc that it can create, the effects of which stay life long. Also to people who think COVID doesn’t exist – All the very best. Praying and hoping no one ever goes through this.

Please note that we are not doctors and this is just our experience with COVID and understanding from the doctors around us.

Did you fight COVID-19? We want to hear all about it. ETimes Lifestyle is calling all the survivors of COVID to share their stories of survival and hope.
Write to us at [email protected] with ‘My COVID story’ in the subject line.
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