In New Delhi, where his parents attended the funeral, tens of thousands of people were sick and hundreds died each day. Hospitals are invaded, oxygen is in short supply and health care systems are collapsing.
Mr Koli took a two-hour flight from Pune in western India to New Delhi, with his father caught up with an oxygen tank at a small hospital.
A few days ago, his father called and said he had trouble breathing and that his condition had worsened. Mr Colie is also concerned about his mother being positively diagnosed with the virus. “How will she get help if something happens to her?”
In the flight, he swept through family photos. In the evening he and his parents went for a walk in the park.
The day he gave his father a new smartphone.
The day his father cut hair
In Delhi, people are struggling to find oxygen. One oxygen tank currently sells for up to Rs 50,000, or $ 675, nearly 10 times the normal price.
His father called Mr. Coli’s sister Anju.. “Please, get a tank of oxygen. Otherwise, I will die, ”he told her as his voice sounded out. It was his last phone call.
He took a taxi from the airport and headed home to check on his mother, who was home by herself. His father said he had doctors and nurses looking after him at the hospital.
On the way, Mr. Coli receives a call from a relative saying his father has passed away.
He rushed over to her sister’s house to tell her what had happened. She was broken. “If I got oxygen from him, our father would be alive,” she said.
His father was at Subh Nursing Home, a small, limited-resource hospital in Delhi with a population of more than 20 million.It currently has about 5,000 ICU beds as of Friday evening, only 44 of them are available.
When Mr. Colee got to his father’s room, he began to cry. His body was covered in white sheets. He touched his father’s hair, which he loved. Family members often joke that his hair looks like Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan.
“Why does he open his mouth? Can someone please help? ”Mr. Coli asked, sitting on the bench next to his father’s body.
Mr Colee had no money to pay $ 2,400 in medical bills.He asked doctors to keep his father’s body until the next morning. The hospital suggested renting a car to keep his father’s body overnight. But eventually subsided
In general, the oxygen level of a healthy person is 95 percent or higher. It could be in the ’70s or below for critically ill COVID-19 patients.
When Mr. Colee returned home, he had no heart to tell his mother that her husband was dead. Her oxygen level continued to drop.
After an hour and a number of times, an ambulance arrived at the hospital to transport his father to the crematorium. There were no male officers working, so Coli and his relatives had to bring his body downstairs on a stretcher.
India’s official death toll is more than 200,000, which experts say is huge. Some families, in shame, did not report that their relatives had died of COVID.
At the cremation with my cousin was in chaos. Next to his father, six bodies were prepared. The process is so hasty that there is no time to wear protective equipment.
Mr. Colee heads back to the hospital to pack his dad’s backpack. Inside were clothes, an oxygen meter, medicine and a comb.He kept the comb, but left most of the rest for fear of bringing the virus home.
At home, Colee measured her mother’s oxygen level, the reading was 75 percent. He began to panic: “She might be next.”
Desperate, he sent a request for an oxygen tank on Twitter.
My dear friend, yesterday I lost my father because of COVID.
Mom’s oxygen level is now 80 – 85. She is in a separate home after ten days of getting COVID-plus back.
Please help me to get oxygen tanks in south west delhi.
I don’t want to lose my mom now. # SOSDelhi
– Dr. Ajay Koli (ajay_kolii) 25 April 2021
His tweets went viral. He received many private messages and phone numbers. One comes from a Bollywood actress “Do you still want an O2 tank ???” she asked. “We have one”.
He dials a number Many are closed Some people ask for exorbitant prices. No cylinder, no tube, no mask, no receipt, not guaranteed.
Some tweets were full of hate. His family is Dalits, one of India’s most oppressed people. “Your father is dead, now it’s your turn,” one statement says. “Both your parents have to clean the gutter in Hell. ”
Mr. Colee receives a call from a distant relative. “The situation is dire,” said the relative, advising him not to be a victim of the black market.
Mr Colie decided to give up on finding oxygen and taking care of his mother at home. He developed a routine Steam three times a day to clear the airways. Lemon and coconut water for hydration. Fresh fruits and vegetables every day
Several days later, Mr Colie still hadn’t told her his father had died. Now he started to feel a fever.
He looked at old photographs of his parents after a few years of marriage. “They had a good life,” he said. “Can I have the same for me?”