Careful and cautious, this mother-of-two never thought she would get infected
March 14, when the lockdown was announced, was the last day Divine Lee stepped out of the house. So it was also for her husband Blake Go, their children Baz and Bianca, and their household staff. They have had no physical interactions with anyone. Deliveries are placed in a cart and sent up via their condominium’s elevator with no one inside. She also uses various disinfecting paraphernalia to clean all the items that go into their house, so it came as a surprise to everyone when she shared the news that she and her husband’s swab test results came out positive.
It all started with a sore throat that wouldn’t go away. Divine jokingly adds that Blake blamed it on having too much ice cream that day. She admits that they’ve been doing rapid tests at home every day, and all the results had come out negative. But her husband rarely gets sick and he was still experiencing slight fever (the most was 37.5 C) and a sore throat. Always wary, Divine suggested for him to take the swab test and it came out positive. Naturally, she and all their household staff got tested that same day. Divine’s results came out positive and she wasn’t experiencing any symptoms at all!
“If I wasn’t praning (skeptical) and relied on those rapid tests, I would never know we had Covid-19,” says Divine. Thankfully, there are strict house rules for anyone who gets sick at home. “It’s been a protocol in the house for anyone who’s sick to immediately wear a mask, because we have a baby. We also sleep with the kids, but if either of us show signs of sickness, we move the kids to the other room and the yayas sleep with them.”
It’s been more than two weeks since that day happened, with Blake going straight to the hospital for admission. “I wanted him to get his daily X-ray and blood tests because he had symptoms. If he stayed in the house, I wouldn’t know if he was getting worse or better. I thought, by watching the news, I would know how a person infected with Covid-19 would look, but Blake looked normal. It was scary, because I could not see what was happening inside of him,” says Divine, adding that Blake wasn’t even given medicine, except for melatonin which is believed to help fight Covid-19.
Although she and her husband both tested positive, they both decided to stay in isolation away from each other, with Blake in the hospital and her in their bedroom at home. “We didn’t have the same symptoms, so we might have aggravated each other’s conditions,” she explains.
Everyone was surprised to find out about Divine’s health status, telling her that it was a false positive. “But I’m a very confrontational person. Hindi ko na lolokohin sarili ko (I won’t lie to myself). Let’s get on with the program (to get better),” says Divine.
We’ve all heard how isolation can welcome unwarranted thoughts, and Divine admits to going through this as well. Being positive but asymptomatic kept her on alert mode, anticipating all the symptoms to come in anytime soon. Shortness of breath? She kept herself in check with her oxynator, which always gave results of 99 percent. Loss of smell? She had a bottle of peppermint oil to make sure she could still smell it.
With all these thoughts going through her head, she credits Dr. Tinette Mendoza for helping her and her husband get through this ordeal. The two women have been working together closely, raising donations and mounting fundraisers for Courage Cebu, a Covid-19 fund drive. Divine immediately informed the doctor of her health status. “It was just natural that you go to a doctor you trust. She has been guiding us. She was the one who was regulating me and my thoughts.”
This mother-of-two would also turn on the CCTV (closed-circuit television) whenever she heard her two children playing or talking. She would do video calls regularly, which made her feel sad that she was powerless to do anything but wait out the virus. So she would keep herself busy by working to pass the time. Her online baby shop, @raisinglittleph, now has four Spanish brands, and they also launched its mobile application platform. She has also launched another clothing label under the name @theloungeedit.
It’s been more than two weeks since the couple has been tested and cleared. The first thing they wanted to do was inform their friends and followers about their health status. Some concerned friends advised them not to come out for fear of people who discriminate against infected ones. “A lot will continue to be careless if we don’t tell them what happened to us. This (virus) is so new and we want everybody to be careful,” says Divine.
The couple also made sure to disinfect everything, eliminating person-to-person contact. “So it’s really something that stays on things, because that’s how we got it. We haven’t been in physical contact with anyone,” says Divine, citing bills and coins, door knobs, and other common items that they would touch on a regular basis. In hindsight, she also shared that the only thing she didn’t do was air things out. “That’s the only thing I can think of since we’ve been very, very careful,” she says.
With her husband getting admitted to the hospital and her isolated in their bedroom back at home, Divine recounts that she had to remain strong and try her best to manage everything despite being cooped up alone. “You have to be strong. The whole household relies on you, so you know that you have to get better, that you’ll be okay, and you will get through this,” she says.
7 lessons from Divine Lee
- Disinfect everything.
Wear your gloves and masks, even if you’re just one step away from the door. This virus is such a mystery to us. Practice all those guidelines over and over—wash your hands and don’t touch your face.
- Air things out.
Because that’s the only one that we haven’t done. I sanitize all the items with UV rays and disinfecting sprays, but you have to air it out. You have to add another layer of protection.
- Never underestimate.
Small things like the door knob and bills and coins can easily get contaminated. A lot of people touch these items.
- Vitamins, vitamins, vitamins.
I have been taking a lot of vitamins and supplements, including multivitamins with zinc, fish oil, and melatonin since the lockdown. One possible reason I was asymptomatic could be because I have a good immune system. No one can really say, but I am just thankful.
Everyone, including your children and your household staff, should also be taking vitamins. You have to think as a whole and think of everyone who lives in the same house with you. A mom’s first thought is to protect this whole home. If one gets infected, then everyone might get infected, too.
- If you feel something, isolate and swab.
The minute you feel something, it is best to isolate yourself and get a swab because you’re going to protect your household. It’s not about you, it’s about everybody else around you. We need to take care of them, especially the elderly.
If you have a place in your house, that’s good. If you don’t have an extra room inside your house, go somewhere else. You should also have your own bathroom, since this is the most used room and easily contaminated.
- When you get it, don’t panic.
You will only get stressed. Just keep yourself busy and get enough vitamins and rest. We’re designed to fight it off, unless you have other ailments. But the recovery rate is improving, so stay hopeful.