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My COVID story: I never tested positive but had excruciating pain and loss of smell – Times of India

Rakesh Pillai underwent immense body pain, headaches and loss of smell but he never tested COVID positive. He took a long time to recover from the virus attack. Here is his story

Here is my COVID tale, if I could call it one. True to the mystic associated to its origins, it’s a mystery for me as to what hit me, as technically I never turned positive.

I had spent the better part of 2020 courting the virus from an arm’s length, hoping and praying she remains at an arm’s length. Since I started going to the airport from May 2020, my day started with saltwater gargling. This was followed by Turmeric milk, vitamin-C tablets and finally sticking my nose into a steamer which was smeared with eucalyptus oil, which made me smell like a walking eucalyptus tree for the rest of the day. I was COVID-19 proof or that’s what I felt for the better part of the year. Till something visited me as I awaited for Santa.

A family that stays together, eats together and in our case welcomed a virus together as well.

Me along with my immediate family were the first ones to fall ill. I and my mom never tested positive, but had excruciating body pain, headache and eventually lost sense of smell. My daughter was next to fall ill but was the first one to recover fully. I am not sure what connived between the lady of my home and the virus, because while the rest of us were writhing in pain she sneezed once, “just once” in the entire ensuing week and that’s about it. I am clueless of what the deal was between them. After living with her for a decade, I have no doubt about her persuading or convincing powers. Maybe the virus just lost out in the ensuing conversation with her or maybe the virus just feared for his life, seeing the fear that I was living in for the past decade. Whatever the case maybe, she was spared and that was a blessing for us too.

The body pain was nothing like anything experienced before. It felt like 1000 cuts been made on every inch of my body. So while sleep was dear, lying down on the bed was a trauma as each time I turned, I moaned in pain. The mattress seemed to have turned into a bed of thorns. I love being hugged but suddenly the very thought itself scared me and that turned out into a game for the lady and my offspring. I was a cat on the hot tin roof. Every time they touched me I broke into a dance routine along with a loud “ouch”.

Now how and why the virus decided to invite his more famous cousin to visit my sister and her family is a mystery. The only explanation I could come up with was maybe the virus was thoroughly impressed by our hospitality.

The more famous cousin which the rest of the world called covid-19 came with a bang and left one member at her house hospitalised for a week’s time. As we awaited divine intervention, the knight in the shining armour came in an injection vial named “remdesivir”. For the rest he came in the form of tablets named “fabiflu”.

Among other things loss of smell enabled me to walk past the public urinal and the garbage heap with a smile without picking up my pace. On the flip side I have started missing the scent of a woman.

As we begin to pick up the threads to move on. The common thread binding us all together at this point is each one asking the other holding out a coffee can” can you smell this”. The answer remains unanswered.

On a closing note, as each one at home eventually turned negative, really thankful to almighty for the small mercies and a happy ending for what could have turned into a poignant episode.

Did you fight COVID-19? We want to hear all about it. ETimes Lifestyle is calling all the survivors of COVID to share their stories of survival and hope.

Write to us at with ‘My COVID story’ in the subject line.

We will publish your experience.
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.

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