Told Untold The COVID Tales brings out real life day to day pandemic struggles

Arijit Bose

Lucknow: Dr. Anupma Singh who heads the Anupma Foundation had  decided to have an event that brings out the good that unsung COVID warriors were doing, she was not aware that COVID -19 will once again come back to haunt the city both physically and emotionally. As the Unit Head of Mayo Hospital she has personally faced personal challenges but persevered. Celebrating the untold stories of COVID times her foundation along with fashion boutique Taana Baana organized Told…..Untold The COVID Tales.  It was an engaging session that brought out the hidden efforts that women at the forefront had made to help those who needed help the most during a global disaster.

Dr Ichchha Kalra, District Programme Coordinator, AB-PMJAY said, “that it was the toughest phase of her life when she had to shift of a patient from the house with high SPO2 levels, but she failed to convince the patient to shift to a hospital. These were times when even the patient would not understand that it was for their own good. It was the toughest phase she said to convince a person that the person a doctor meant good for the patient. Many a times the bigger problem was when asymptomatic patients had to be told to move because they felt that they had nothing wrong.” She recalled how many a times it was very emotionally trying for them.

Dr Parinita Srivastava, a private practitioner at the Cure Homoeopathic Clinic said, “as a homeopathic physician, the fear and anxiety levels were very common as we had to deal with people suffering from chronic issues. Doctors were not available in the initial days and stories coming out were scary and people were increasingly paranoid. Many resorted to self medication which was a dangerous thing to do as they were not speaking to the doctors. Not just social media but people at large were resorting to spreadof misinformation via Whatsapp. There were people chewing black pepper which led to ulcers in the mouth. There is no 100% cure remedy with vaccine or medicines yet. Take adequate precaution and do not get paranoid.” She said the positive thing is that mutual equations have now improved and spouse’s now realise the worth of each other. Misunderstandings have gone down and there is a better emotional connect between people post the lockdown.

Entrepreneur, Dr Shubhra Mittal said, “with lifestyles changed, you need to balance out work and life. After COVID there were drastic changes and  most feared of work completion and maintaining daily routine. One had to deal with the emotional crisis. Many working from home had to adjust with small spaces and maintain a balance with the workforce. Employees had to be counselled. To stay calm especially women who were suffering from increased mental pressure. My entire team stood with organisation despite a financial crunch and were able to image stronger. Even today there is a certain fear but we are better equipped to handle the situation.”

Anjali Singh is Secretary of jute Artisans Guild Association. She  has been working with thousand plus ladies who create jute bags. She said – When the lockdown happened all work was down. The centres were shut and the workforce was rendered jobless. As someone leading it was tough to convince people that things will improve. When she saw people walk on the roads enmasse it was tough realising the gravity of the situation. She decided that she will provide some source of income to the needy.

She decided that she will give food to the hungry and jobs to the jobless. She started with those nearby asking them to make food and bags. Food packets were ready and at one go on 1st April, 2500 packets were off the shelf. Once that clicked the road ahead was clear. Food distribution started between Munshi Pulia to Shahid Path. The DM himself asked for the organisation to get registered and then help was provided from Kamta Chauraha to airport. Things were provided to those in dire need. Donations from Yogita Sansthan came in and the home literally turned into  a ration factory. With help from family coming in things smoothened. Labourers coming from Nashik and Shirdi got help as well. Even serving policeman would not get a break, so they were provided quality food.

Anjali said that it was indeed a miracle that those who were facing domestic violence at home now saw their husbands starting to respect them and in record time provided help too.

Samriddhi Srivastava of Study Hall recalls how her father Roopendra Kumar was faced with COVID and had to be hospitalized. The distance between her and her father when he was admitted to Lok Bandhu Hospital was something that shook her as both could not meet and the family was in touch via video call. This was the first year when on his birthday the family did not go to Vaishno Devi on the 24th of July and it was even more serious because he remained in critical condition. Seeing her father wearing an oxygen mask made her feel miserable. With his miraculous recovery Samriddhi is happy that her father won the battle and has now come back to normalcy. She said that she is happy for the work that her father does and once again appealed for do Gaj ki Duri master zaroori dipannita.

Dr Sandhya a Gynaecologist at the Lokbandhu COVID Hospital said that challenges were highest in pregnancy cases in hospitals. Staying in isolation was a tough task because one had no work and one had to still keep going. Sandhya further added that  when working no one wants to get a complication or an infection. Priority is not getting positive. The biggest help was steam inhalation which was a better way do a proper surgery. Prophylactic medicine did not work. Meanwhile diet regulation was important.

Dr Jharna Rastogi, an MBBS, Medical Officer said, “my joining was on June 1. I went to Balrampur but then I was attached to the COVID centre. In the evening sessions I was deployed because of my ability to work well on tech and I figure out things at the emergency portal. She said that the usual shift was 2 to 8 but during the lockdown one had to work very late. Parents were eager to find out where I was and when I was coming home. I was working round the clock without vacation and I had to skip any family time. Working at the emergency portal demands long hours and attention.” She said that there are public grievance calls and if made thrice it is taken as an emergency. These can include cases like paediatric issues, accidents and ambulances. Making the person share history remained a challenge along with permission for hospitalization.

Principal of Birla Open minds, Diya Badgel said, “from the school point of view we had thought the lockdown was for a week, but the number of days kept growing. There were number of challenges as teachers had to stay in their homes. But Work from Home had its own challenges because teachers were not tech savvy and it was doubly challenging because teachers now had to be even more careful because parents were directly watching.  Planning the day started at 8 and ended at 12 in the night. The next days day one had to be up at 6 in the morning. Those who did not have maids at homes they had a bigger challenge at hand. Balancing work and life was a major concern. Hence the woman was actually leading the show. I had to do research, make a work plan, talk and also keep teachers in the best of spirits. I had to also take feedback from parents. To better my portfolio I also did online webinars with NGOs on mental health. I also took out time to do courses on psychology and tried getting more out of  life. I ensured timetables were made in a manner that children did not get affected. We also introduced  a concept called energizers which help children stay engaged. Classes during festivals were aimed at making the child slightly more happier despite being confined to homes.”

Doctor Preeti Singh, MBBS, DIP GO, CHC Gudamba who is part of the Integrated COVID Command and Control Centre said as a frontline worker working at the COVID command control room I was a newcomer but I was very much interested in the work that the COVID warriors were doing. She said it as her personal interest to be part of the process. The CMO gave her a chance and then she got an option to work with the team.  She was directly incharge of ensuring all help to the VIPs. She had to be up and working late in the night and naturally her parents were concerned, but they too realised that she was doing an important job. Dr. Preeti thanked hospitals like Lok Bandhu and Mayo for streamlining the process. She said many like her had to calm patients down and get them to shift out to Hospital. She was also appreciative of the help and she got from her children.

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