The 80-year-old cancer patient who defeated Covid

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Kolkata, May 23 (IANS) At a time when the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is taking its toll on the lives of people who are not even 50 years old, this is a story of an 81-year-old woman who has fought back Covid despite being a chronic patient of myeloid leukaemia (blood cancer) for the last five years.

Meet Bani Datta, a resident of south Kolkata, who tested negative after 18 days on Friday.

“My mother has always fought the battle of life positively, and it is because of her undaunting spirit that she has been successful in fighting back this deadly virus. I am thankful to God that she is cured now,” said Bani Datta’s son Debashis Datta, the officer-in-charge of Burotolla police station.

Debashis, who is also an important state government officer fighting Covid in Bengal, had to balance between his family and the outside world for the last 21 days.

Speaking about his experience, Debashis said, “Initially my son and my wife had tested positive, and I understood that the worst is about to come. When my mother also tested positive, I knew that if I had to fight back the situation, I will have to stay healthy. So I shifted to my police quarter and coordinated with the doctors and the family from there continuously.”

“I was very much worried about my mother because she had serious comorbidities. I went home every day and spoke to them from outside. I video-called them at night and spoke to them to keep their spirits high. I coordinated with the doctors, asked my family members to monitor the oxygen level frequently and report it back to the doctors. I delivered the medicines and other necessities at their doorstep and waited outside to have a look at them. It was a horrible experience,” he said.

“After the death of my father, I was her only support and I never wanted her to feel insecure. My doctors advised me to keep her spirits high, otherwise she might lose the battle. I spoke to her frequently, spoke in a light tone, never allowing her to feel that she was fighting one of the most difficult battles in her life.

“I knew she was mentally strong and my duty was only to keep reminding her of the difficult situations she had gone through all her life. I have seen her not to give up whatever might be the circumstances, and this time too she won her battle,” said Debashis, adding that she had taken her first vaccine shot.

Debashis had to keep himself safe, not only for his family, but also for the thousands of women who stay in Sonagachi – one of the largest red-light districts in the country. The officer has been working for the welfare of these women.

“I cannot leave these women. They are in a wretched condition, and I cannot leave my family either. It was a difficult situation, but I had to negotiate. From the morning I used to go through the alleys of Sonagachi tracing out women with symptoms, send them to the hospitals or safe homes, arrange for their food and come back to the quarter to spend virtual time with my family,” he added.

“Whatever little I have learnt from my experience is that testing should be done as soon as there is minimum symptom. The first three to five days are very vital and if proper medications are given, there is a high chance of survival,” the officer said.