‘We are thankful we only had  fever and loss of smell and taste’

Published April 23, 2021, 12:12 AM

by Jim Chua


(The author works at a business processing outsourcing (BPO) firm. He is 30 years old. He lives in Commonwealth, Quezon City.)

Up to this day I still can’t figure out how I got the virus but as far as I can remember, it was around April last year when it began.

The government implemented the lockdown, most public establishments were forced to stop operations and public transportation was limited. At that time, I recall that most people were anxious because of a lot of uncertainties about their safety and of course, how to continue providing food on the table throughout the pandemic as the news about the coronavirus was spreading as fast as the virus itself.

With that, our company continued its operations while reducing the number of employees in the office and following safety protocols. Our department was one of the few selected to continue working in the office, I was working in the Rockwell Business Center near Medical City along Ortigas Avenue. My colleagues had different reactions when they heard the announcement. Personally, I didn’t like it, but from a business perspective, work is work.

The company offered point-to-point shuttle services, with the company van picking up employees residing in different locations within Metro Manila. I tried it for a week. From my normal 30-45- minute travel, it took us three to four hours just to get to work. Since the shuttle had to pick up someone from Quezon City, Marikina, Manila and go all the way back to Pasig, just imagine the traffic. And we did that route again to get back home. I later on decided not to go with the shuttle because it affected the time I could’ve spent with my family. Fortunately for me, there were still limited buses available along EDSA. From there I took the train and walked my way to Rockwell. All the time I made sure that I do not take my mask and face shield off and sprayed alcohol before I touched anything.

At around July, MRT-3 announced a temporary shut down due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. I happened to take a ride on the last day before the announcement.

My usual day at the office went on like normal. Soon the company announced that we will continue our operations through a work-from-home setup. A couple of days later, I got sick. I make myself  believe that it was just an ordinary “trangkaso” and I would feel better in a few days.

Days passed and I started to feel worse. I started to have body aches and unexplained tiredness. My wife and I decided that I should be isolated in our bedroom until I got better since I didn’t want to spread the virus to my family, especially to my two-year-old daughter. I was locked up in our bedroom while I still did office work in the graveyard shift.

I felt better after a week or so, but I started to notice the gradual loss of my sense of taste and smell. But I guess our effort to isolate me was too late. My wife and my kid also got sick. We decided to take a test which later confirmed that we were all COVID-positive.

During that time, we were in constant communication with the QC LGU, who gave us all the support that we needed. They advised us to make sure that we took care of our bodies, avoid other people and make sure that we stay at home at all time.

We were really thankful that other than fever, we didn’t have other symptoms. Knowing the impact COVID-19 can do to our bodies, it could’ve been worse.