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I Looked After My Health, I Was Aware, How Could I Get TB?’

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

“Thoughts began pouring in - how could someone as aware as I, let things get this bad? What if I have infected my kids, my family and staff? Being a workaholic, I thought if I could go back to work? My doctor told me, rather charmingly, that I was about two days away from collapsing.”

In October 2011, I was a busy entrepreneur setting up my business – a furniture and home store. The days were long, hard and stressful. But, I just kept pushing myself harder. These were the days, before the public service announcements and ads featuring Amitabh Bachchan, warning people of TB. I didn’t realise that I had been coughing for over two months by then. My office was damp and musty and I thought that spending 11–12 hours there every day was probably setting off an allergic reaction. Moreover, I also had an accountant who was coughing even more than I was and I worked long hours with him. I felt I was equipped to deal with an allergy.

I thought that since I looked after my health, exercised and ate well, illness, or the possibility of it, was not something, I ever thought about.

I Was in Denial

But when push came to shove, I finally decided to visit a General Physician, nearby. She gave me some generic pills saying it was a minor chest infection and that I would be fine. But I wasn’t fine, and honestly too busy to notice. It was only when I woke up one night with searing pain in my chest that my husband called a cousin who was a doctor. He told me to go for an x-ray immediately.

My x-ray results left us-shaken. It showed a very dense spread of TB and a perforated lung. The chest specialist said that he hadn’t seen this much TB in a long time and that too in the body of an educated, healthy and well to do person.

Ironically, up until then I thought TB was a disease that was contracted by people living in the slums. Needless to say that I was shocked and confused about my diagnosis.

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