Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent

#KeepingTheFaith: A Little Bit of Empathy Goes a Long Way

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    Abinash Mohanty

    “A little bit of empathy goes a long way.”


Take yourself away from the negative

From the day I was in intensive care at a hospital in Bhubaneshwar, I saw people around me die. There were days I would share a smile with a fellow patient in the morning only to find an empty bed, with a weeping attendant, by the evening. The grief around me was overwhelming, even though my physical health was improving. I had to get out. I took a voluntary discharge and shifted back home after three days in the hospital.

Risk and responsibility

I had taken a personal risk to come back home early. Suddenly, the responsibility to recover became mine. During the first COVID wave, oxygen was not in such short supply, and my family set up a cylinder at home. My lung capacity had reduced by 45 per cent, and I had to get them on track. Anulom-vilom (yoga breathing exercises) became an everyday routine, even when I could barely take deep breaths. I was on steroids to boost recovery, and they compounded the loss of taste that was already COVID induced. Giving in to “I don’ feel like doing anything” was not an option. I had to get better. So I began eating greens, vitamin C, took my medicines, rested and read to keep my mind busy.

Control what you can in this sea of unpredictability

It all started with a sore throat, mild fever, and difficulty in breathing. But the RTPCR test indicated I was negative. Yet, I self-isolated. Four days later, I got a call from the municipality saying that I had, unfortunately, received the wrong report. I was COVID positive. I am glad I did not put my family at risk by not isolating myself. You have to exercise common sense and judgement. Listen to your doctor and skip the WhatsApp advice, however well-intentioned it may be. There is still a lot I don’t know about how COVID may have affected me in the long run. But I am doing what the doctor ordered. My vitals are improving. And I am back at work.

Count your blessings and pay them forward

Having my family around me and the concern of my friends and colleagues has made a big difference. As recovery took time, my growing worry was the delay I was causing to my projects every day that I was not working. On one such day, the words of a senior, who was himself going through a severe personal emergency at home, was something I cherish dearly. He said, “Projects can wait. Get better first. Everything else can be managed.” This assurance went a long way in helping me recover without the guilt. Recently, I was able to do my bit when I donated plasma to help a 67-year-old patient recover. Lending him a hand helped me more than it helped him, I think.