(The author, 38, is a father of two children aged 10 and 5. He works as an accountant in Dubai.)
One Saturday, I felt like I was going to have a cold. The following day, my family and I went out to get some fresh air and sun, hoping it was just what we needed aside from our regular fluid intake and usual vitamin C supplement.
I went to work the next morning but it seemed that my cold was not getting better.
I was aware that two weeks prior, a colleague at work tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but she was in a different area in the office, far from my workstation, so I said it was impossible to get infected.
However, another colleague near my workstation who was coughing a week prior, also tested positive for COVID.
Immediately we were asked to have ourselves tested and to my disbelief, in 24 hours, I was tested positive for COVID-19. Afterward, I was isolated at home in a separate room from my wife and children.
Fortunately, my wife and two kids were not infected, which was a huge relief.
On the day I was tested, symptoms started to get worse. I was having chills and I bundled up and buried myself under a comforter which did not seem to help. That was followed by high fever.
I also had diarrhea coupled with discomfort at the left side of my abdomen. These were my unrelenting symptoms for the first week. I managed my fever with Panadol and loaded up on my daily multivitamins and Vitamin C plus Zinc.
Meanwhile, my wife constantly boiled ginger and turmeric to make tea. I did steam inhalation (boiled water with salt) twice a day, which we thought will work to relieve the body from the symptoms.
I had no appetite but my wife prepared soup-based meals just to entice me to eat. We used disposable plates and utensils to avoid the virus from spreading.
On the second week, I felt a little better. However, the fever still persisted.
Though it was a low-grade fever, I still felt my body was weak and didn’t feel like it would recover soon. My oxygen saturation was normal at >95 percent, which was a good thing. Then, I started having incessant dry cough.
Despite taking melatonin to help me sleep better, the dry cough obliterated my days and nights. On-off fever, chills, diarrhea, body aches, headache and dry cough on the second week, it was exasperating that I found myself angry, frustrated and asking God why is this happening to me?
My wife called the Dubai Health Authority for teleconsultation appointment because I was considered a “mild case” and going to the hospital for admission was not advisable.
The doctor suggested that I undergo lung X-ray, and had it the following day.
Since my fever was still not subsiding after two weeks, I was given an intravenous paracetamol for my fever and intravenous antibiotics for my diarrhea and abdominal pains.
The doctor initially recommended that I stay for a night for monitoring but later on decided to send me home after having intravenous drips.
I was given expectorant to treat my cough and oral antibiotics for seven days to treat the patchy pneumonic infiltrates noted at my lower lung zones.
The following day, fever subsided and my cough was more considerate as I was able to sleep uninterrupted. I was also starting to get my appetite back and feeling a lot better.
I finished my cough syrup and antibiotics and all symptoms were gone except for coughing once in a while.
My wife arranged for my second PCR test to ensure I was cleared of the virus. Towards the end of the fourth week, my test results came back negative.
I disinfected my room and toilet, all walls, corners and surfaces. And finally, I was able to hug my wife and children.
Despite this health ordeal that I went through, I am still very thankful that I was not admitted at the hospital.
Luckily, I did not have breathing issues and other complications.
I know it could have been much worse, hence I still consider myself lucky. Also, the strong support I received at home was a huge help to my recovery.
My children would constantly tell me that they miss playing with me and they were praying for my healing.
One side effect I noticed though was getting tired easily. A simple physical activity like climbing a few steps would leave me catching my breath.
I know it will take some time to get my strength back, my body to fully recover but I am taking it slowly, day-by-day and I continue to thank God I survived COVID-19.
People should really take this virus seriously and should not be complacent that they will not get infected.
Every individual should take care and follow guidelines and protocols and be socially responsible.
Wear a mask to protect yourself, your family, and loved ones.