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This family from Kerala's Wayanad beats COVID-19 and social stigma

Occasionally, a nurse in protective clothing would visit them, bringing medicines or food which she would leave on the table there.

Published: 28th June 2021 03:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2021 03:56 AM   |  A+A-

Tintu Thomas with her family

Tintu Thomas with her family. (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Only a young mother and her 11-month-old baby, both sick and tired, stayed in that large hospital ward on the second floor of a building. The world outside felt alien and lost. There was no one around to help them, not even to take care of the baby when she had to go to the toilet.

Occasionally, a nurse in protective clothing would visit them, bringing medicines or food which she would leave on the table there.

Those nine days of isolation passed like years, Tintu Thomas, the mother, recalls a year later. This 27-year-old schoolteacher and her family hailing from Mananthavady in Wayanad district are among the many survivors who waged a tough battle against the dreaded disease of our times. Her son Adil was the first case of COVID among infants in the state.

The first patient in her family was Tintu's father, a truck driver who was tested positive upon returning from the Koyambedu market in Chennai. A few days later, Tintu's mother and grandmother turned positive and were admitted to the government hospital where her father was being treated.

"On May 8, what I dreaded most happened to us. The baby got sick. He was hospitalised in the evening and his temperature shot up to 102 degree Celsius. He was given a rectal paracetamol and throughout the night I wiped his body with a wet cloth. We were housed in an isolation room then. His temperature came down the next day but fatigue continued. On the fifth day, he tested positive and we were shifted to the large COVID ward where the other twenty one beds were lying vacant," Tintu says.

The family was scared since it was the first or second case of infection in infants in the state. "But, except for fever and fatigue, the boy didn't develop complications. The doctors were extremely helpful," she says.

By that time, Tintu too had developed fever and was experiencing chronic fatigue but the hospital could not allow her to have a bystander. "It was an unimaginable misery. Sometimes, I had to carry the baby along when I went to the toilet. Adding to the physical weakness was the mental torture when people started criticising my family on social media for 'bringing' the pandemic to our place," she recalls.

Kerala's total number of COVID cases was just above 500 then and her father was the fourth patient in Wayanad. After Tintu, her brother, husband and five-year old daughter too turned positive and got admitted to the same hospital.

The contact tracing of a truck driver and cleaner created great furore in the district. Her family was berated with taunts on social media.

On the tenth day, Tintu and her son tested negative and were shifted to the ward where her daughter, mother and grandmother stayed. Her father, brother and husband were admitted to another ward. The whole family returned home on May 31. She has some good memories too of the hospital days.  

"My boy's first birthday was on May 18. We couldn't celebrate, but luckily, the female members of the family were staying together at the time. Also, my baby took his first steps in that hospital ward," she says.

She considers it god's grace that none of her family members had post-COVID complications. "Today people ask me for tips on easy recovery. I would tell them not to have physical or mental stress and drink plenty of water," she said.



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