Nima Sherpa and her family.

Khasokhas Weekly

Read the original story in Nepali at Khasokhas Weekly
Translated and condensed by Anuz Thapa

Nima Sherpa, 44, and her 47-year-old husband, who have been living in Woodside, Queens, were infected with COVID-19 in the second week of March. But now they are recovered from it. 

“We finally defeated coronavirus,” Sherpa, a nurse by profession, said.

She credited her recovery to sheer determination, use of homemade medicine and taking intensive care of their health.

“If we lose our determination, then the virus will win,” she said.

It was March 9 when Nima Sherpa first felt uneasy in her stomach. She had a feeling she might be infected with the coronavirus, so she did not go to work at Manhattan’s Mount Sinai hospital.

The next day, she went to work and informed her friends about her condition. They said her symptoms were not similar to those of coronavirus: She was neither coughing, nor did she have trouble breathing.

She did not take her condition seriously until she caught a fever. Her body temperature on that day was 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit. 

“When I got a fever, I was convinced that I was infected with the coronavirus,” she said, “because the last time I had a fever was when my 10-year-old son was born.”

She went to the employees’ health desk at her hospital to take a test: the doctor tested for flu but not coronavirus, as he thought she was not infected.

When she returned home that day, her fever grew higher. She called her doctor to inquire about her flu test, which was negative.

The next day, on March 14, she woke up to find her husband suffering from fever and cough. She rushed to a nearby pharmacy to get some medicine.

“I was wearing protecting gear so that nobody would be infected,” she said.

The pharmacy was short on medicine and vitamins, so she went to a Costco Wholesale, where she bought some supplements. She also went to the Patel Brothers store in Jackson Heights, Queens, where she bought herbs, spices and turmeric powder. She went home and cooked it for her husband. She then dialed a coronavirus hotline to inform officials of her condition, but was told that they would not be tested as they were not having difficulty breathing.

“When I was told that they would not test for coronavirus, I felt really helpless and my confidence was really low,” she said. “But I gathered all my strength and told myself that it’s me who has to fight this battle, not others.”

On March 17, she drove her husband to a CityMD facility far from her home. 

“I did not want to go to a hospital as I did not want to risk other people’s lives,” she said.

Initially, the doctor at the clinic declined to test for coronavirus. Sherpa told him that she was not there “just to buy a Tylenol.” She told him that they had a high risk for the virus as she was a nurse, and her husband drove an Uber.

The doctor tested for flu, which turned out negative. As her husband was constantly coughing, the doctor took his sample for a coronavirus test.

Her husband’s fever got higher that night.

“My fever was also getting high. I was also suffering from a headache and cough,” she said, adding that she took some medicine for her symptoms. “I knew that I had to be strong so I was really careful about our health.”

She was not worried about her two sons until she came across the news that said kids were also prone to the virus. Her two sons – 16 years old and 10 years old – both had fever.

“My elder son also had a pain in his neck. I was convinced that they both were also infected,” she said.

On March 25, a week after the test, the doctor told her that her husband was tested positive for coronavirus. She inquired if they also needed to get tested, but was told it was not required.

She did not take anyone to a hospital as she knew she could take good care of them at home. She started serving homemade soups for her family, taking Tylenol whenever necessary, taking vitamin C tablets and consuming healthy fruits.

“What I realize now is, unless extremely necessary, I think we should not go to hospital,” she said. “Patients are kept in a complete isolation in a hospital which might make their confidence really low.”

When Sherpa was a kid, she heard that soup of a goat’s leg is good for someone with a cough, so every morning she would make the soup, adding ingredients like turmeric power, ginger and herbs. Apple and oranges were also eaten daily, and they would only use Tylenol when their fever was really high.

Besides fever and cough, she and her elder son also lost her taste and smell during their illness. “When we were drinking coffee, we felt no taste and smell,” she said. “No food had any taste either.”

Now, both of their senses are back.

“Now, we all are totally in a good shape, and resting. Nobody has fever and we all feel really good,” she said. “Strong determination is really needed to overcome this pandemic.”