‘I came out much stronger’

A frontline worker on duty at one of the quarantine centres in Kohima. (Photo Courtesy: DIPR/for representation purpose only)
A frontline worker on duty at one of the quarantine centres in Kohima. (Photo Courtesy: DIPR/for representation purpose only)

A frontliner’s story of recovery from COVID-19

Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | August 28

Ever since the global COVID-19 pandemic reached Nagaland, frontliners have made untold sacrifices, knowing full well that they have a high chance of contracting the disease. When a female frontliner tested positive for the virus, she was “surprised” but says that “it was not unexpected.”

“It came at a time when you are at the verge of collapse because our work is so physical,” the non-medical frontliner who has been involved in the fight against COVID-19 right from the start, recalls. She was asymptomatic like the majority of the cases in Nagaland. Her journey of recovery was not so much the pain from the disease but how people started to view her after she tested positive.

“People even refused to receive my parcel even after I tested negative. For instance, you are on this side of the road, and people just move to the other side of the road when they see you,” she recollects. It has been more than a month since her recovery and she believes that she came out of it emotionally stronger.

When she contracted the virus, her first worry was the thought of infecting others. She was also concerned about going back to work after her recovery. “How would people take it?”

“I felt sorry for my family. I don’t live with them but I have visited them. It affected not only my immediate family but their contacts also,” she states. Her family had all tested negative, but they stayed in for 20 days to quell the concerns of their colony members. “For us, we get admitted to the hospital but a lot of stigma is on the family,” she expresses. “I don’t blame them though, because it’s all from fear and lack of awareness.”

She says that fear causes people to act irrationally and that is what is causing stigma. “It’s all stemming from fear but as long as you are taking precautions and being careful, you will be okay.”

Despite the fear and stigma, she says that the pandemic has brought out the best in people as well. “We had people who bought ration for us and left it at the gate,” she recounts with gratitude. 

As frontline workers, she states “it was something expected, and at the back of your mind, you are mentally prepared so you just take it in your stride but for some, just to grapple with their status alone is a big thing.” She emphasized on the need for proper counseling, especially for people who have insecurity issues.

Her experience, she states helped her understand how stigma affects other people. “Now I am in a position to understand that it is so important not to stigmatise other people,” she says.

She also recalled a response from one of her contacts, who said—“I am sorry you have to go through this, but then I am happy for this experience. I pray for frontliners every day but because I don’t know what people go through, I am not able to pray meaningfully for them. Now that I have experienced my share of that fear of being in contact with somebody who tested positive, I am able to see their pain and fear and I am able to pray for them more meaningfully.”

The nicest thing, she recalls out of the experience is being able to help another COVID-19 positive persons. “I have become like a counselor,” she states, while expressing that either they or their family call her to ask things like what medicines she had taken. “They feel free to open up because they know I have been there and in some ways you are able to help people, which is a nice thing,” she adds.