Monday, October 12, 2020

We will miss you, papa

A cheerful, energetic and lively personality. A very nice human being ever willing to help anyone anytime. Always fun to be around with. He took hardship and challenges in his stride. A source of encouragement for all of us. He made light of difficult situations with his amazing sense of humour. My father-in-law would have been 82 on Oct 5, but he left us eight days earlier, on Sept 27.

Papa had a long career of nearly three decades in the engineering division of the BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited) in Bhopal. My first memories of him go back over thirty years when I met him and his family over dinner at their home. Ever since that, all these years, he has been, more than anything, a wonderful friend.

After his retirement, he moved back to his home state of Kerala in the late 1990s. He continued to keep himself busy with social activities and work in his small but very resourceful kitchen garden.

Over the past 10 years, he used to regularly visit us as well as his son here in Bengaluru. After going to Kerala in November 2019, they were supposed to be back here in March-April. But because of the lockdown, they stayed on there.

They would have stayed on there, but for the resurgence of symptoms of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia from which he had almost fully recovered some one-and-a-half years ago. After reaching here on August 20 for review and resumption of treatment, he made three visits to the hospital. Though his condition didn't get better to the extent it had earlier, there was some improvement.

But unfortunately, that didn't last long, with extreme fatigue, loss of appetite and later on a cough weighing him down. On the night of 24th, Thursday, he looked very tired and weak like never before, and the next day we took him to hospital. 

There was one possibility we had always factored in, considering papa's highly immunocompromised health condition, and we tried our very best to keep him safe. But that Friday, about a couple of hours after he was taken into the Emergency, a doctor came to us with the test result, and we realised we had failed. 

Till then, for so many months, we had only read and listened to stories from places as far away as New York to localities in my neighbourhood of the hard times COVID-19 had brought. Now, the virus had reached our home too. 

But we are thankful for small mercies. Papa didn't have to endure pain; it was discomfort and tiredness that seemed to bother him the most. The doctors were extremely helpful in not just providing excellent medical care but also guiding us through the right way during those difficult days.

Rest in peace and comfort, papa. You will always be in our thoughts. We will miss you.

Since he was with us, all of us at home got ourselves tested, the very next day, on 26th, Saturday, and the results came negative. But since our last day of contact was the 25th, we have to be watchful for any symptoms for 10 to 21 days. So we are in quarantine till the 16th. 

Meanwhile, my wife began to feel fatigued, with a mild fever of 99 and blood oxygen level hovering over 93-95 on Oct 1st. A couple of days later she developed a slight cough as well. We are all already in quarantine and she was isolated within our home itself. We kept our distance and wore a mask when required. 

We consulted a doctor, who said, now with the virus all over the place, any flu-like symptom (especially among vulnerable people) is prima facie considered a possible case of COVID-19 unless proved otherwise. So, he right away prescribed ivermectin, doxycycline, vitamin C, D and zinc, besides steam inhalation three times a day and gargling with salt-and-turmeric-mixed lukewarm water five times a day.

(This line of treatment is referred to by some doctors as 'quadruple therapy', and there is a white paper on the efficacy of ivermectin.)

The fever was gone after four days, and there was a steady improvement in her condition every day. She has now completely recovered and is back to her energetic self.  

We aren't letting the guard down. I don't think we can at any time in the foreseeable future.


  1. Dear Pradeep - I'm so sorry to hear about your father-in-law ... I'm glad to read he didn't appear to suffer too much, other than from his illness. More importantly your wife must have struggled for her father - and then catching the dreaded covid ... so glad to read she is out of her worst ... and you're all at home taking care of yourselves.

    So pleased all is well - carry on looking after yourselves and all the best - Hilary

  2. I'm so sorry for your loss, and then your wife getting sick. I'm glad she recovered.

  3. Hari OM
    My condolences to you and family, Pradeep. This virus still has so far to go, I fear. You are right to take all precaution. So glad your wife has been able to recover with minimal effect. May you and all remaining family be safe and well throughout. YAM xx

  4. My heartfelt condolences on passing of your beloved Papa. May he rest in peace. I am glad your bride has fully recovered from this pandemic. Wish you and your family stay safe.

  5. Take care. Glad your wife's on the mend. And so sorry for your loss.

  6. Condolences and hope your wife is well.. Take care all of you.

  7. I am not getting comment notifications in my email.
    Is it happening to all?
    When I checked the Settings, the options all seem to have changed.

  8. My heartfelt condolences on the passing of your dear father-in-law, Pradeep. I know how much you tried to keep him safe. I'm glad he didn't suffer too much in the end.
    Sending good wishes to you and the family for a safe quarantine!

  9. Oh Pradeep, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your father-in-law. I've been looking at the data of the covid numbers and I know that India has a huge number who've been affected by this awful disease and now your family is bearing the sorrow of it.
    Sending you my deepest condolences from Australia where covid is almost non-existant (it makes me feel a little guilty on how well we've come through it down here). I hope that your wife continues to improve and that the rest of your family stays safe. x

  10. Confidence and Positive Attitude bolsters our health along with exercise and good diet. Even if someone whom you know tests positive, don't let them panic. Try to reinforce positive and encouraging thoughts so that they continue to stay mentally strong.

    I am reading a few books set in the 19th Century when other pandemic diseases were commonplace. The authors consistently mention that 50% of the cases worsen due to anxiety attacks. That's a huge number.

    Hope all of us can ward through these difficult times with minimum loss. May your FIL's soul RIP.

    Destination Infinity

  11. No wonder you hadn't posted in a while! ~hugs~ I'm so sorry for your loss. He sure sounds like a wonderful soul. I am glad your wife is feeling better. What a difficult time. Please stay well.

  12. So sorry for you loss, and I am glad your wide is feeling better too.

  13. Sorry to hear that and good to know that your wife is out of danger.
    Over and above all this, it is good that you shared this as people are yet not taking it seriously and that is the sad part.

  14. Dear Pardeep.

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your wife. Your words brought home the reality of facing this pandemic. Even in the loss, your words are so positive and hopeful. Thank you.

    Wishing your wife a speedy recovery. Thank you for sharing the treatment followed as well as the seriousness of the situation.

    Stay safe.

    Warm regards