At first, there was a mild fever. Then her temperature shot up and Ajanya felt weaker as days passed by. On May 18, when her health deteriorated, she was shifted to Chest Institute attached to Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode, where she lay unconscious for more than a week.
When the 19-year-old regained consciousness on May 31, she had no idea that she had recovered from a deadly virus outbreak that had claimed the lives of 17 people.
Ajanya is the first patient to recover from the Nipah Virus, that affected areas of Kozhikode and Malappuram districts. When the second-year nursing student woke up in her ICU bed on May 31, a doctor on duty told her that she had survived a deadly virus.
"At that point, I didn't know the extent of damage the virus had caused. The doctor told me I had recovered from it and I felt happy," Ajanya tells TNM over the phone.
In a week's time, Ajanya, who is a student at Government Nursing College, will return to her college to continue with her studies.
Ajanya was posted at Medical College Hospital from April 30 to May 5 as part of her training. This was the same time the first Nipah victim was admitted at the hospital for treatment.
Days at the isolation ward
After gaining consciousness, Ajanya spent more than a week at the isolation ward of the hospital. Her father who is a daily wage labourer and her mother, who is an ASHA worker, kept her company at the ward.
"We had a room to ourselves where my parents used to spend time with me. At the ICU, the doctors and the nurses were wearing the protective gears. The nurses who came to attend to me at the isolation ward too, were clad in the protective gears. Since I had recovered from the disease, my parents didn't have to wear heavy protective gears," Ajanya says.
Having been discharged on Monday after weeks of treatment, the sudden media attention took her by surprise.
“I recovered from a disease that people across Kerala feared. At times, it is hard to believe that. But the dedication shown by the medical staff is unparalleled,” she says.
Even from her school days, Ajanya wanted to work in the medical field. When the opportunity to join the nursing programme came along, she grabbed it with an open mind.
"The nurses at the hospital have spent hours taking care of me, I will always remember them. How can I ever forget their selfless service?” she asks, adding that they will always be her role models.