Short Story of Joe Alvares

Joe Alvares was a middle class person who lived in Ponda city with his wife, Rhea Alvares, away from his parents. Joe’s parents lived in a small village in Bicholim Taluka. Rhea was a home maker. He preferred to live in a city for a good lifestyle and wanted to set up his own business but ended up being in a clock shop. His daily work was to repair broken watches or to change the watch battery. During the Pandemic the shop owner kept the clock shop open and Joe had no option other than going to work. His wife, Rhea always told him to take good precautions but he always took her advice lightly. He travelled by bus everyday and did not wear a mask. He always thought that Covid-19 was a joke.

One day Rhea fell sick and had symptoms of covid so she got herself tested and was found covid positive. She was home quarantined. Joe was also tested and was found asymptomatic. He got scared and locked himself inside the house. After some days, Rhea was fully recovered and Joe began going to the Clock shop like usual. But this time Joe was more careless as he thought it was easy to recover from covid. He even considered the vaccine as a useless thing and ignored it. Then one day he got a fever, he did not consult the doctor, thinking that it was a common flu. On Rhea’s request he got himself tested by the Antigen test and was found negative. But continuously for another three days he had a fever which was above 102 Fahrenheit. So he again got himself tested by the same test and reports came negative.

Next day he began having shortness of breath so in order to check the oxygen levels he used the oximeter and found that his oxygen levels were dropping below 75. They both rushed to the City Hospital and got him tested by the RT-PCR test and a CT scan of his chest and found that the infection got into his lungs. They got him admitted without wasting much time. First he was on a ventilator and later after a week he was asked to sleep on his stomach to make the oxygen levels normal. Rhea sat beside him day and night to take care of him. It took more than a week for him to heal. After the discharge when he got home he realized how foolish he was to not take proper precautions. But after a few days he noticed black marks on his nose and on consulting a doctor he was told that he was infected by the post- covid infection ie. Mucormycosis (Black Fungus).

Gasping for breath amidst the din of the hospital in the Covid-19 – Black Fungus ward of Goa Medical College, Bambolim. Joe Alvares was uncomfortable and restless. His eyes were gazing at the wall clock which showed 10:25pm and kept ticking in the wee hours of the night. He realized his connection with time, he could take precautions against the virus and not take it lightly. Patient’s family members were not allowed to stay so he was alone there battling with post-covid Mucormycosis with the infection which had impaired his left eye and arm.

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