OMG, how much can change in a week!
On the 13th, I sent out a newsletter (which I posted here on my blog as well) outlining the situation in India with regards to coronavirus at the time. We were all aware of it with varying degrees of paranoia as a result, but not imminently affected. Nationwide cases were fewer than 100 people, of which not even one in my local city. Well, that has certainly changed! Numbers are up in the mid/high 500s, not sure how many in my city because we’re not getting the local paper anymore. India has reported the first cases of community spread now as well. Add to that personal upheaval and health issues, and I’m only now finally getting my head around what’s actually happening at home. Bear with me while I update you all.
When I last wrote to you, I mentioned coming back from Delhi on the train, and feeling a bit crap afterwards. Next day: fever & bodyache, and my husband got it too. Day after that: severe diarrhoea and zero appetite. By the day after that both my husband and mother-in-law developed diarrhoea as well. Since nobody had any cough or other cold/flu type symptoms I might have blamed some kind of food poisoning, but all we ate during the previous days was fresh, homecooked food. Stomachflu, maybe?
In the meantime, the Prime Minister of India announced a voluntary curfew for Sunday, so we got some warning that measures would be taken to ensure people don’t go out so much. We stocked up on fruit & vegetables in addition to all the dry goods I’d already purchased last week.
Well, whatever flu it was, the end result was that after a couple of days of suffering through it and taking various medications prescribed by our family doctor, my mother-in-law developed severe nausea, weakness and fainting spells. All signs of dehydration/electrolyte imbalance. We had to admit her to hospital, because despite taking electrolytes, her sodium levels had fallen so much and her stomach issues were not getting under control either, meaning she could barely eat.
Luckily my husband and I recovered without the need for any medication, but it’s been a trying week for everyone nonetheless. I stayed with her at the hospital for the 3 nights she was there and only made the occasional trip back home during the day to pick up clothes, toiletries, and stock up on whatever food items I hadn’t purchased yet before we got ill.
Thankfully things have calmed down at home, somewhat. My mother-in-law was allowed to leave the hospital day before yesterday. Right in time for our city’s strict lockdown (in force since yesterday). And as of midnight, the entire country is locked down for the next 21 days, not just select cities/districts. Only essential services are exempt; that means medical, fire/police, people who work for utilities (water/electric), select public servants, select food vendors and that’s it! I understand a lot of people all over the world are facing lockdown scenarios of various types, but we’re currently facing one of the strictest type except for China.
No leaving the house. Period.
No grocery trips. No work. No walks. Nothing. Police are strictly inforcing the lockdown, and even at times arresting people they find outside who doesn’t have special permission. A plan has been proposed to get food and medicines delivered home, but so far I’m not seeing practical evidence of it in our neighbourhood. There is no such thing as takeout food or online shopping anymore since Sunday. If anyone doesn’t know how to cook, now’s the time to turn to youtube and learn!
We have to make do with whatever we’ve got in the house until the systems are set up.
The outside world is quiet, except for the birds you normally can’t hear over all the noise, and the occasional barking dog. All of yesterday, maybe half a dozen cars passed by outside, presumably the doctors and other essential workers who live on our street, who are still on duty throughout all of this. Other than that, it’s been eerily quiet. If you’ve ever visited India, you’ll know what I mean when I say that silence in this country is normally hard to come by.
Despite all these limitations, we’re still staying positive and carrying on with life as much as possible.
I’m thankful that my mother-in-law is feeling better, and despite everything we still managed to stock up on food and medication last week. I can tell you I feel a whole lot less guilty about buying additional supplies now that we’re cooped up in the house for the foreseeable future. We’ll be fine for these 21 days, even if the home delivery grocery plan fails. Sure, we’ll start to miss fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy, but we won’t go hungry for quite a while. I hope the poor and those people who do not have a big stock of food for whatever reason manage to get what they need from the government.
All we can do is sit tight, enjoy family time, read (write!), play some boardgames, and wait for the proverbial shit storm to blow over. I try not to think about how all of this is affecting the economy, or if 21 days is going to be enough to stop the spread of the virus. These are not things I can affect in any way, so why waste time fretting about it now?
Are you also facing a lockdown? Do let me know how you’re coping, or if you just want to vent, that’s also fine. It’s a tough time for us all, but I think it helps to reach out and talk about it. If you feel like emailing me instead of commenting publicly, you can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take care and all the best!