Dubai: His journey home amid the COVID-19 pandemic had to be cancelled as he suffered a stroke while waiting to board his flight at Dubai airport in September.
Almost two months later, Indian expatriate Kanhirakkandiyil Mahamood, 51, finally flew home in a partially paralysed state on a stretcher on Wednesday morning.
Mahamood, a supermarket salesman hailing from Kerala, was initially scheduled to fly back on September 9, according to his brother-in-law K.V. Mohammed Ashraf.
“He was supposed to go on annual leave only this month [November]. Since some of his colleagues, who had gone on leave due to the COVID-19 situation, returned, he was granted leave early. So he decided to go in September so that he could also help his elder daughter with her college admission,” Ashraf told Gulf News on Tuesday, ahead of Mahamood’s departure today.
“He used to take a medicine for blood pressure. I am not sure if he had missed it. He suffered a stroke while waiting to board his flight from Dubai to Kozhikode on September 9,” Ashraf said.
Family had no news initially
Mahamood is believed to have suffered the stroke minutes after he sent his photo to his colleagues at the supermarket in Al Muraqqabat after completing the check-in and immigration procedures, said Ashraf. On the day of the incident, neither his colleagues nor his family members got to know about him having suffered a stroke at the airport, he added.
While his colleagues thought that he might have reached home safely, his family back home doubted that Mahamood might have got stuck due to isolation procedures at the airport.
Illyas O.P., the public relations officer for the supermarket where Mahamood was employed, said it was only a day later that his colleagues and relatives came to know that he had not boarded the flight. “His boarding pass and exit stamp were cancelled and he was rushed to hospital. We collected his passport and luggage from the airport,” said Illyas. Since then, Ashraf, who works at another supermarket in Sharjah, had been visiting Mahamood at the hospital every day.
Naseer Vatanappally, an Indian social worker who volunteers for the Indian Consulate in Dubai, said Mahamood’s case was brought to the notice of the mission and him by Mohammed Ali Parakkadavu who had coordinated the repatriation and hospitalisation of Keralite expats during the pandemic.
Hospital waives off bill
Neeraj Agrawal, Consul, Press, Information and Culture at the consulate, said Rashid Hospital had waived off the huge bill. “It was a substantial amount. We are grateful to the hospital authorities for supporting him.”
While Mahamood’s travel expenses were borne by the consulate, the supermarket sponsored his ticket and the service of a nurse who accompanied him along with his brother-in-law, said Vatanappally.
Ashraf said the family would be moving Mahamood straight to a hospital in Thalassery upon his arrival.
“He has two daughters. The younger one is in grade five. He has been the sole breadwinner of the family. His left side has been immobile. He cannot speak and he has been on a liquid diet. His recovery is likely to take a long time,” he added.
According to his medical report, Mahamood was admitted with a case of right cerebral ICH (intracranial haemorrhage) for conservative management. He was on regular chest and limb physiotherapy, added the report that was issued on October 1 at the request of the patient’s family.