When Covid Hit Our Home

A story about that time when my mother and I had Covid and the lingering trauma because of it.

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Last year, Covid-19 was just something that stopped everything. Plans, business, trips, all put on halt because of it. Due to the pandemic, all that I have planned that I wanted to do in 2020 were shelved. I wanted to go to Singapore again, or probably go back to Siargao. I wanted to save money from whatever projects that we’ll be working on through our PR and events consultancy. We were about to leave for Coron last year to do an ocular at a resort that we were supposed to do work with but then just about a week before our flight, the country was locked down.

The quarantine. I tried counting the days until it got lifted but then I eventually gave up. I don’t even know if were still under quarantine or not since the government has been changing the name and guidelines all the time, I already lost track. One thing was constant though, my nanay didn’t stop treating her patients. A number of doctors here in Sta. Rosa Laguna have stopped their practice because of fear that they’d get the virus. Not my nanay though. “Kung oras mo, oras mo na” sounds like a line from a Pinoy action movie but that’s just how my nanay sees life. Me however, I’m the woman with anxiety. There were nights that my anxiety would wake me up. I’m anxious about the uncertainty of everything: my career, my friendships, my health. But it got better, even though I still get worried from time to time, it wasn’t as bad after a few months in the lockdown.

I worry for my nanay. I just don’t show it but I do. She’s a frontliner whose clinic is just at the other house. She’s exposed to her patients almost on the daily and to be honest, it was no surprise that Covid eventually hit us. I was still hopeful that it wouldn’t though. That there would be some kind of invisible shield that will protect her and I. But that didn’t happen. May 27, 2021 when we took her to the hospital to have her X-ray and PCR test done. Our doctor friend Dra. Mitch told me that she has pneumonia. Then on May 29, we got confirmation that she’s positive from Covid. We had to convince her to be admitted so her doctor friends arranged a room for her and I to stay in at the Covid ward at the Perpetual Help Hospital in Binan, Laguna. I wasn’t still sick at that time, as far as I know, but I knew that I had to stay with my nanay at the hospital. By doing so, I also knew that I would eventually get the virus also but I was just constantly praying that should it happen, that I’d still be strong enough to tend to her.

This was my nanay’s chest x-ray and this is when we found out that she has pneumonia. She did a PCR test after this.
The same day we found out that she had pneumonia, I asked around where we can buy an oxygen tank. Good that we have friends who helped us so we were able to get one immediately.
First of 10: Our first day at Perpetual Help Binan. I didn’t have a bed since usually in a Covid room, only the patient can stay so no extra bed for the companion. We had to make a special request and it’s a good thing that the people from the hospital were able to find us an extra bed that I can use.
I had to write a waiver for my stay

It’s been a while since both my nanay and I stayed in a hospital. The last time that I had to be admitted was back in 2017 when I had my hysterectomy. I was alone most of the time because my nanay had to be at her clinic. I don’t even remember the last time that my nanay got confined, to be honest. When my sister and I were kids, the hospital was our playground, specifically Perpetual. We would go with our nanay when she’d have her rounds. I remember we would run around the floor where the ICU would be because my nanay would usually have patients there; patients with severe cases. Sometimes we would hangout at the nurse’s station trying to read the charts. The hospital was a place that I was not scared of going until I got older when eventually, the people that I would visit that were confined in a hospital would sooner or later die. It’s no longer my favorite place to be in, so imagine that my nanay, who’s sick from Covid and pneumonia, and I had to stay there for ten days.

Me and RJ: I decided to bring my BT21 RJ doll with me at the hospital. It was a good idea because I used him as my pillow

There were only a few nurses stationed at the Covid ward. Having been there for several days, I could already familiarize myself which was which, who was who. I spoke to a nurse and asked why was that, he said that nurses are scared to be assigned at the Covid ward, for fear that they would get the virus or worse, bring it home to their families. Fair reason, very understandable. My nanay got infected from a patient who went to her clinic, got himself confined but died after he got out from the hospital. Our stay there took a toll on me mentally. I couldn’t show my nanay how difficult it was for me seeing her sick with all the IV medications hooked on her to cure both her pneumonia and Covid. I had to be the strong-willed daughter who looked like she’s ready for anything but I’d breakdown whenever I can, mostly when she’s asleep. There was a time that her oxygen level was fluctuating, that it would automatically go down if she’s not attached to an oxygen tank, I couldn’t sleep. I’d check her oxygen level almost every 30 minutes just to make sure that she’s okay. My sister, who’s a nurse overseas, would call her via Facebook Messenger just to check up on her, on us. I was also missing my dog Noodle very much. We had him stay at a friend’s house while we’re not home.

Team No Sleep. I hardly had any sleep when I was in the hospital especially during the time that my nanay’s oxygen level was fluctuating. I remember walking to her side to check her oxygen level every hour. I would also wake up whenever a nurse would come in our room
Suob. Thankful that we had friends that we can contact to bring us food or ingredients to do this. I remember doing this the second time while at the hospital and that’s when I found out that I lost my sense of smell because I couldn’t smell anything from the suob concoction that I made for my nanay.
When my nanay’s was feeling a bit impatient during our confinement, I asked my friend Paolo Valenciano to ask his dad, Gary Valenciano, to give encouraging words to my nanay. I was so touched by it that when Paolo sent me the video, I cried. To my surprise, Tito Gary also sent me a video message and it really warmed my heart.

I’m grateful that my nanay had really good specialists who would visit her. These were her students back when she had a short stint teaching at the university of the hospital. They took good care of her. Even though I decided to wear a PPE and mask the entire time, day six when I tested positive for Covid. My nanay’s pulmo advised me to monitor what I’m feeling. The day after, I lost my sense of smell. It was so weird. I started getting really anxious but still wasn’t showing my nanay that I was extremely bothered by it. Other than that, and coughing from time to time, I didn’t have any symptoms. My nanay was starting to become restless inside our room. She wanted to go home. I also wanted to go home but her oxygen level was still unstable so we had to stay there for a few more days. Until the 10th day, we were cleared to leave the hospital. I was still a few days in being positive for Covid but since other than my missing sense of smell and body pain, I was feeling fine. Worried that my nanay’s oxygen level was still fluctuating, I hooked her on a tank. As for me, at times I’d feel out of breath and sluggish.

Watching Gary V’s message to her while having coffee
Time to go home. Her pneumonia was already getting better but I was still a few days in from being Covid positive when we were given the go signal to go home.
Noodle loves his mimi. My dog would always be by my nanay’s side whenever she would rest near the oxygen tank. The sweetest dog ever.
Proof of life. I remember taking this photo after my nanay finished tending her garden and while my sense of smell was still absent. We survived Covid and praying that we would never have it again.

It’s been several months since we survived the virus. We’re both fully vaccinated and life is back to how it was before we got confined. As grateful as I am that nanay and I are okay, I’ve never been fully joyful since a lot of people, friends, family of friends, acquaintances didn’t make it. They lost the battle from the worst and fastest killer that we’ve all ever encountered. Gone are the anxieties that would wake me up in the middle of my slumber, what replaced is the lasting trauma from what I’ve experienced. I want to go out, see my friends, go to the beach, but a huge part of me wouldn’t allow me to do so due to the fear of getting sick again. How I wish I could be like my nanay, who is back taking care of her patients, still holding on to her action star motto. But again, I’m very grateful for prayers and support sent by our family and friends. I’ve never been the religious type but I did feel that all the prayers helped. I prayed every night for healing and strength and God did deliver. Life is uncertain; you’ll never know what tomorrow will be so just live it like it’ll be your last. Do what you want to do without hurting others in the process. Learn what you want to learn and enjoy doing it. Stick to what makes your heart happy and never mind the naysayers. I just hope that things would have some kind of normalcy really soon and that personally, I would be able to live a life that will not be clouded by fear.

FUCK YOU, COVID!   

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