Here Are Some Of The Things You Shouldn’t Be Saying To A COVID Positive Patient (And What To Say Instead)
A little awareness never hurt anybody
Getting infected with COVID-19 is no joke. It comes with a lot of things ranging from the loss of sense of smell and taste, fatigue, headaches, fever, and severe weakness. And to make things worse, you have to do everything by yourself in isolation. It doesn’t just take a toll on you physically but also mentally.
Oftentimes when we know someone is suffering from the virus, it’s natural to drop in get-well-soon messages or even call them to check up on them and give unsolicited advice. Even though this may be in their best of intentions, it leaves the patient overburdened and doesn’t help them in any way. A COVID positive patient is already going through so much, and the last thing they want is to be inundated with conversations that don’t make them feel better. So, a little awareness is always good.
I spoke to many people within my family and friends who have recovered from Coronavirus and asked them what were some of the things they didn’t want people to tell them during their quarantine phase. NGL, this has been a learning curve for me.
Here’s what you SHOULD NOT be telling a COVID-19 patient:
1. “How did you get infected?”
Even doctors don’t know the answer to this question, so how do you expect the patient to know any better?
2. “Take good rest”
Avoid telling them to take a rest, it’s obvious, and it’s something they don’t want to keep listening to. “Everyone kept telling me to take rest, and after a point, that got to me. I would rather have them tell me what they have been doing at home, like not talk about the illness but try to distract me from the fact that I have Covid,” shared a friend.
3. “You should have been more careful.”
This is something you certainly need not tell someone who is already suffering. Despite wearing a mask and taking all the necessary precautions, people still test positive. And I’m sure you’ve heard of cases where people get infected even after staying indoors. “It made me feel I have done something wrong when I don’t even know how I got it in the first place,” said another.
4. Don’t give unnecessary advice on what medicine to take or what concoction to have
With so many WhatsApp forwards on what you should and shouldn’t have when you test positive, people tend to suggest medicines and concoctions they believe will cure the virus without truly finding its authenticity. They’re forgetting that the patient is already consulting a doctor and is taking the necessary medication. “Doctors already know a person’s medical history and hence accordingly mention what kind of medicines to take. However, people don’t realise this and think that whatever medicines they used will have the same effect on the other. This was frustrating more than anything else because they don’t know more than the doctor a person is consulting,” shared an acquaintance.
5. “Why didn’t you tell me you got COVID?”
“A lot of my friends who later found out I had Covid kept asking this question. This isn’t a news piece that needs advertising,” shared one more friend. As far as an infected patient has notified those they were in contact with and their close friends and family members, it’s more than enough.
6. “How are you now/today/feeling?”
It’s okay to ask them how they are doing once in a while but bombarding them with the same question every time won’t change their answer. “After a point, I found it to be quite invasive,” shared one of my relatives.
7. Some other statements people didn’t like hearing:
“I think you should get hospitalised,” especially when it’s advice from a non-doctor.
“Lucky you! Getting to chill at home.” Isolating, especially when you’ve fallen sick, is no party, so saying this statement is definitely not pragmatic.
“Aren’t you bored at home doing nothing?” (when you have absolutely no help doing everything.)
What you CAN say to a COVID-19 patient instead
If reading these statements got you annoyed, imagine how it must be for the person at the receiving end. So the next time you’re calling your friend or relative who has tested positive, be mindful of what you are saying. And if you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. Here are some excerpts from those who have recovered from the virus and would like you to include them in your conversations when dealing with other Covid patients:
1. If you know someone is hospitalised, here’s what you could consider asking- “Did the doctors make the rounds? Did they point out any progress or regression? Are the meals good? Is the TV working?” These are conversational issues.
2. “Can I take your dog for a walk? Can I get you some paper plates for your meals?”
3. Having light-hearted and entertaining conversations to divert their mind.
4. Keeping it as short as a “take care” is much better than receiving unsolicited advice.
What a COVID-19 patient can do to avoid unnecessary advice/opinions:
1. If it’s possible, try to keep your mind occupied by watching a light-hearted or comedy film, reading motivational books, listening to music, etc.
2. Switch off your phone to ignore texts and calls.
3. If you feel like a person who is most close to you is bogging you down with too much advice, shut them out till you recover. Your quarantine period is only for you to recover, so don’t let anyone take that away from you.
Lead image: Instagram via Sasa Elebea, GIFs via GIPHY