Coronavirus Pandemic

#NextStopZero: 'My 67-year-old mum got the virus from me and spent 28 days in ICU'

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on September 16, 2020 | Last updated on September 16, 2020 at 06.26 am
#NextStopZero, coronavirus, 67-year-old, mum,  virus,  spent 28 days in ICU,

(Supplied photo)

Since Faizal had interacted with his parents, they were also screened and, surprisingly, his father with whom he had interacted tested negative.

Dubai resident Faizal Abdul Karim still remembers the guilt and helplessness he felt when he learnt that his 67-year-old mother had contracted Covid-19. He knew it was his fault.

She stayed at a different apartment and, since the pandemic began, he visited her only twice. They also took all necessary precautions, including maintaining a three-metre distance, but still - the virus struck their family.

"We have big family living across the UAE. My two sisters and their extended families stay here, and my parents are living with my younger brother and his family.

"Usually, I would see my parents every single day before Covid hit but, from March onwards, we all stayed locked up in our houses and I didn't see them until June, when the lockdown eased," the 44 year old Dubai resident told Khaleej Times.

Since Faizal is running a business with his father, he had to go to their place to get his signature for some papers.

"When the stay-home restrictions were eased, I went to see my parents at my brother's place, not only because I had not seen them for many days but also for work-related matters. Apart from wearing masks, gloves and maintaining a two-metre distance, I even sanitised the pen and paper before asking my father to sign," he said.

During another visit in the second week of June, while he was at his parents' place, Faizal experienced a bout of cough and "strange kind" of breathlessness.

He immediately got screened and his results came out positive. It was a big shock, he said, as he had always been extra cautious.

"I think I got it from the flat adjacent to mine, where five bachelors tested positive for the virus. We share the same false ceiling and, maybe, from the AC shaft or some opening, the virus made its way to my apartment. My wife and children also tested positive for Covid-19 a few days later," he said.

'My heart ached for my mother'

Since Faizal had interacted with his parents, they were also screened and, surprisingly, his father with whom he had interacted tested negative. His aged mother, however, got a positive result.

"I knew I was the culprit as I was the only one who visited them, and my brother and his family had always stayed home. My heart ached as my mother was also admitted in the same hospital as I was in, but I was relieved that she was initially asymptomatic and was perfectly fine."

But things took a turn for the worst just two days after she was admitted.

"My condition worsened and as my oxygen levels dropped. I was put on oxygen support for a couple of days. But when my mother learnt about my condition, she got stressed and anxious and on the very next day, from being asymptomatic, my mother completely collapsed as her system shut down.

"She was rushed to the ICU and stayed there for 28 days. All her vitals went haywire as her immunity took a hit and the virus attacked her system," Faizal said.

'Virus broke me emotionally'

Calling it the toughest and most stressful time for him and his family, Faizal said the experience was "emotionally draining".

"Although I recovered in a few days, my mother was left incapacitated as her muscles became weak, she was reduced to half her size and could not breathe well - and I felt it was all because of me. It broke me mentally and emotionally."

Faizal's mother is now back home but has still not recovered completely because of her old age and other ailments that have slowed her recovery.

"We should not take any signal our body is giving out lightly, be it cough, runny nose, headache. Get yourself tested if you get any of the symptoms of this virus," Faizal advised.

"And if you get it, then put up a brave front because if you get anxious or stressed, this virus will take you down. It is the worst feeling to be not able to breathe normally, lying in your bed helplessly, so do not be lax about Covid safety."

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