Quarantine Diary: Finding peace during 14-day virus fight
As a passionate journalist who would be out and about town chasing stories, it was a daunting thought to be based in a single room for a fortnight.
On the 29th of September, I - Abdul Karim Hanif, a multimedia journalist at Khaleej Times - tested positive for coronavirus after coming into close contact with a positive case. Luckily, I was asymptomatic throughout the period and spent 14 days at home. The other option was of an isolation ward, had there not been adequate space for me to be away from my family at home. As a passionate journalist who would be out and about town chasing stories, it was a daunting thought to be based in a single room for a fortnight. Fortunately, I do have a terrace outside my room which served as my outdoor sanctuary, helping me overcome any form of cabin fever.
According to a study by PLOS Medicine published in September, one in five coronavirus infections show no symptoms but remain contagious. Had I not tested, I would have passed it onto my parents who live with me or to any other individual under a high-risk category for it to be fatal.
The biggest takeaway from this experience - for anyone who would have to undergo a 14-day quarantine - is to keep yourself occupied with work. Plan your day according to a schedule and reward yourself with a nice meal or a movie to celebrate the end of each day.
Day 1: After coming into close contact with a positive case, I immediately booked a Covid-19 test at a nearby hospital and sought refuge in my bedroom to begin my home isolation.
Day 2: Next morning, I checked the Al Hosn app and took a big gulp after seeing a red status indicating a positive diagnosis. I informed my family members whom I live with and went for a re-test.
Day 3: On this day, I received the bitter confirmation that I am indeed a Covid-positive patient, following which I informed my work colleagues and extended family members.
Day 4: The honeymoon period of the home isolation faded quickly and the harsh reality hit home.
Day 5: To try something different, I started to have my meals on the terrace for an al fresco dining experience. The cooler temperatures were a welcome treat
Day 6: After just under a week of being on my own, I received my first visitor in the form of a common myna. I had to capture its fleeting visit and quickly grabbed my camera to photograph the surprise visitor.
Day 7: At the halfway mark, I received a number of presents in the form of flowers, sweet treats and my favourite snacks from friends.
Day 8: With all the disposable cutlery now piling up in the corner of room, it was time to declare 'Operation Clean Up' to disnfect the over flowing bin bags and leave them in the terrace, for the sun rays to eliminate any potential remnant of the virus.
Day 9: One of my friends, who is a medic, had warned me of days 7 to 10 being the most challenging with symptoms. Luckily, with temperature checks coupled with senses of taste and smell staying intact, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Day 10: After binge-watching a number of movies and TV series, I decided to watch something different. I chose an Emirati film 'Ali and Alia' for a unique movie night under the night sky.
Day 11: With the isolation days now approaching the final quarter and the danger days now behind me, I resumed my training in the form of boxing and skipping.
Day 12: With my sight set on the finish line, I started to take it easy on the quantity of food I ate to avoid a surprising isolation belly.
Day 13: At the final hurdle, frustration began to kick in as I was desperate to head out and conduct a Covid-19 test to determine that I am finally labelled negative.
Day 14: As soon as the sun rose, I could smell freedom. The best way to celebrate the occasion was to declare 'operation finale' and begin the disinfection of the bedding, cutlery, rubbish and the clothes that I had used.
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