Tales of two COVID-19 survivors inspire hope

Being a COVID-19 patient does not mean the end of the world. There is hope, according to two people who recovered from the disease.

One of them was a 25-year-old returning Filipino who, after five years, arrived from the United Arab Emirates last month to celebrate his birthday with his family.

But he got sick and tested positive during his birthday, and was worried and did not know if he would ever recover. He was then taken to a hospital

“It was difficult that I was alone on my birthday; I was isolated physically, mentally,” he told ABS-CBN News.

A lot of bad thoughts occurred to me―like why me out of the 105 million Filipino people? I was truly sad and did not know what to do. I lost the will to live and cried.”

The man said he was kept in isolation in the hospital for eight days. But by taking medicines and vitamins and healthy diets, he felt some improvement.

While in his hospital room he read news about the people who recovered from COVID-19, and that gave him hope.

Days later, his attending doctors told him he had tested negative twice and was discharged from the hospital, and was advised to go on 14-day self- quarantine.

“I was so happy,” he said. “There was so much joy, so much relief.”

But, afraid to expose his family and friends to the virus, he decided to stay temporarily in Makati City. He said he agreed to be interviewed by ABS-CBN so he could share his story and give hope to those who had contracted the disease.

“In truth, there is hope because―especially if you’re young―COVID-19 will turn out mild, you won’t be affected so much. If you have a strong immunity, if you do not have previous ailments like asthma, pneumonia, etcetera, you really don’t have to worry,” he said.

He urged the public to observe the social being imposed by the government to prevent the spread of the virus.

“This experience provided me with a better outlook in life. I was given more time to reflect and also to pray to God. My faith was a bit shaken, but I am very thankful for the chance to be healed,” he said.

The second patient shared his experience in his social media account.

The man, who visited Japan last month with two companions, said he was the first Filipino to be confirmed positive with COVID-19.

In Tokyo, he said, they thought they were making-up for the risk by always “wearing our masks, vigorously washing and rubbing our hands with alcohol and essential oil, and wearing disposable latex gloves which we regularly changed and threw away throughout our five days there.”

They took their flight back home on Feb. 25.

“Gia and Evie sat together on one row and I on another,” the man said.

“Behind me was a Filipino man coughing vigorously, but nothing could be done and we sat on that plane for more than four hours. We had our masks on the whole time, but we suspect this was where I picked-up the virus.”

Seven days later he got sick and decided not to report for work.

On March 3 he went to a hospital, where the attending doctors told him his symptoms were mild and Japan was not a COVID-19 hot spot. But he insisted and was tested and later discharged, and then he went home to Bonifacio Global City.

“At this time Evie was in Lipa and she instructed Gia and our helper to stay in Evie’s mom’s residence nearby in BGC to be isolated.”

Two days after “I received the frightening call from the [Health department] that evening, I was promptly whisked away by an ambulance to the RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) in Alabang.”

“Gia was frantic and started calling Evie in Lipa. The next day my entire household had themselves tested, our drivers included.

At this point, while in RITM, I prayed fervently to spare all of them. I was afraid Evie and Gia would not survive in RITM, but all their tests came back negative. Thank God! All I need now was to worry about myself.

“But with several people sadly testing positive, it was clear that the virus had been spreading undetected for several weeks... It is easy to take the symptoms for granted. A cough. Sore throat. Muscle pains. One need not have high fever to be COVID-19 positive. Looking at the [Health department] spreadsheet, one can even be totally asymptomatic.

“For two weeks in the hospital, it was not the physical pain that was frightening, but the psychological effect. I was vomiting endlessly and had diarrhea probably due to stress.”

While staying in the medical facility, the man said he learned many things that he said “is probably why God put me to that test!

“I realized that ignorance and inaction will cause the virus to spread faster. That should anyone experience any symptoms, they should stay home and limit contact with others. They should not shrug-off any symptoms and downplay them. This community quarantine is something we need to protect the people that we love.

“To my family, I was brave. I did not choose to get sick, but as soon as I did I immediately had myself tested. I allowed myself quarantined in a hospital deprived of staff and funds. I was not in the most comfortable situation.

“Because I got myself quickly tested, by my immediate confinement. I shielded my parents; I shielded our senior household helpers; I shielded my family. When people are not tested, they can walk around and socialize thinking they just have a cold or slight malaise.

“Because I disclosed being infected to my workplace according to company protocol, all my contacts were tested by the Department of Health and quarantined. The department told me that, so far, my contacts had been cleared and were asymptomatic. For this I am grateful.

“In the two weeks I was in a hospital, I learned that there were many people who could not afford a lockdown. They do not have food to survive! Our society has not given the proper dignity to our laborers who suffer depressed wages and poor working conditions.

“I learned about the extraordinary love of my wife and daughter. Evie and her cousin, Annette, looked for people in the government that could help me while in RITM. Evie, together with her sister, Gela, tirelessly looked for a hospital that would take me in, but each one was refusing to take me in. I was desperate because the pneumonia that I acquired was from the hospital.

“I was coughing profusely, and chills were getting worse by the day. She kept me company for hours and days to keep me psychologically and emotionally sane! She prayed with me profusely! She called on people to pray for me. I knew I married right

“One day I heard a nurse say that there was an old man who tested positive and was waiting for a room in RITM. I could not stay there anymore, but finally God intervened. A hospital agreed to take me, and on day 15, I was discharged from the hospital with no symptoms. I never knew my test results and perhaps would never know.”

READ: PH virus cases, 230; deaths, 18

READ: Coronavirus deaths in the most affected countries

READ: ‘Stand down, obey orders,’ mayors told

Topics: COVID-19 , self-quarantine , recover , survive , hope
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