By MARIA LOURDES TAEZA
One Friday afternoon, my cousin-in-law and I were having an ice scramble. I was surprised that my serving wasn’t sweet at all. How can an ice scramble with candy toppings taste so bland? Maybe the vendor forgot to put sugar. Ate Charie said hers was too sweet but when I tasted hers, it was still bland. Little did I know that that was the start of our COVID experience.
On the next day, I woke up with a 38-degrees-Celsius fever and body pain. I thought it was just the common flu. I consulted our office’s employees’ clinic through TeleMed and was advised to have a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test done. It was a Saturday so I had to wait until Monday for the swabbing. I felt worse the next day. My fever rose higher, my body pain was getting unbearable, I started coughing, my nasals were congested, and I had chills and LBM. On that same night, my husband started coughing as well and my 11-year-old son was feverish.
Surprisingly, my three-year-old daughter didn’t manifest any symptoms and was the only one who was jolly and active, playing and singing around.
On Monday, my husband drove me to the hospital for my swab test because I felt too weak to drive on my own. When we got home, my husband went straight to bed because he too was feeling worse. My son still had a fever but he was still relatively okay since he could still play games on his phone. On that night, I was preparing my essential oils to help with my congestion when I noticed that I can barely smell them! These had strong scents! That was when I was convinced. I didn’t have to wait for the COVID test results to tell me that I was COVID positive. And I had most likely spread it to my family.
I received the confirmation from the hospital the next day. I called RHU to report my situation and called the hospital to have my husband and kids tested as well. They got tested on the next day and I wasn’t surprised that all three of them were positive. It was too late for regrets, all we had to do was to bravely face this virus.
Of the four of us, my husband had it the worst. His oxygen saturation was down to 92, he was lethargic, and had difficulty breathing. I knew he needed to be admitted to the hospital so I called the RHU to ask for assistance to take my husband to the hospital as soon as possible. I was relieved knowing he was going to be admitted as he will be properly taken care of, but I was also scared. I was scared for his life, my life, and my kids. What if my symptoms get worse too, who will look after them? There were times when I was struggling to breathe, that I had to use the oxygen which I bought from a friend online in fear that my oxygen saturation might drop low too. It might have been due to the COVID; it could have been due to anxiety. Even though my body was feeling very weak, I had to get up from bed to still do the household chores, wash our clothes, feed my dog and cat and the usual things a mom does for her kids.
We couldn’t have gotten through this ordeal without the help of my relatives. Since we couldn’t get out of the house, they would take turns bringing food, groceries, medicine and leaving them at our front door. All the things we needed, we just had to tell them, and they came running. My brother who resides in Taguig, also arrived with two of his colleagues, clad in personal protective equipment (PPE), to disinfect the house. We were eventually transferred to a facility, but even then, my relatives would constantly call and message us, cheering us up and praying for our health. My husband, who was alone in the hospital for two weeks, was also comforted by their messages, calls, and well wishes.
As the days passed, we got better and better. My son got over his symptoms, my little daughter stayed healthy, and my husband was cleared from the hospital and got home earlier than us. I am thankful that my kids didn’t have to suffer as much as me or my husband did. I am thankful to God for giving us another chance. And I am thankful to my relatives, in-laws, my brother, friends and colleagues, my cousins who constantly monitored us from the start until the end of our COVID journey and Dra. CD for the assistance.
(The author is happily married with two kids. She serves as Records Officer in one of the government hospitals in Batangas.)