Take my word for it, you DON’T want to get sick with COVID-19. I am one of the lucky ones who can say that I survived COVID-19. I was also lucky enough that my case was relatively mild because I was allowed to isolate and quarantine at home. It was mild in that I didn’t need hospitalization, and I could still smell and taste but since then I have had to endure constant headaches and I have had difficulty sleeping.
I read somewhere several years ago that when you have a headache you should grab fistfuls of your hair and tug and release. This massages the scalp and eases the headache. You can just imagine how often I have done just that to ease the pain.
It has been several months now, and I still get headaches every day. I don’t like taking meds so when that happens, I just take a nap in hopes that it will go away when I do. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. An ice bag or cold compress on my nape or on my head sometimes works.
It didn’t occur to me that those were COVID-related until my sister told me earlier that in COVID survivor support groups many have mentioned that they are still experiencing those symptoms today.
How it began
On June 19, 2020, I had to bring one of the carpenters working on our house to East Ave. Medical Center because one of our dogs playfully nipped him. It wasn’t a bad scratch, but he was scared of getting rabies and no matter how much we assured him (and showed him the records) that all the vaccinations of our dogs are complete, nothing would appease him, so I felt I had no choice, I had to bring him to the animal bite center. The additional expense and high-risk exposure to COVID-19 but I didn’t feel that I had any choice.
We were at the hospital for at least two hours and I even had to walk a couple of blocks to BPI sometime in between because the hospital did not accept debit card payments. The whole time we were there I tried not to think about the possibility of catching COVID-19, but I knew it was a possibility. Even before the pandemic I didn’t really step out of the house unless it was absolutely necessary, which was twice a month grocery and medicine runs, occasional convenience store and bakery run, and going to work (twice a week) or events (occasionally).
Since the pandemic started and everyone was in quarantine, going to work and events were no longer necessary, and I rarely went out. We even had supplies delivered whenever possible.
The following day I had a general feeling of malaise and thought I was just tired. The day after that I couldn’t get up at all. I had chills, a very bad headache, a raging fever, and the sniffles. For fear that it could be COVID, I decided right then and there to isolate myself. My family would occasionally peep into my room and check in on me. They would also bring me food. I don’t recall losing my sense of smell or taste, but I do recall that I ate everything given to me. In my head, all I could think of was that I needed to eat so that I would recover quickly.
I took an RT-PCR test
One week later I decided to go to St. Luke’s to get swabbed. Two days later and the results came out.
Upon receiving the results, I immediately informed our barangay, and they scheduled a visit from QCESU (Quezon City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit) so that everyone here at home could get tested, too. Thankfully, they all tested negative.
Even before I got the results, at the recommendation of my doctor I isolated myself for two weeks. Since I am the household kusinera this meant that I had stopped cooking for them since June 21, but I continued to prepare my own food. Isolation was not so difficult to do since I have my own space in the house, and we made sure to sanitize often and not work around the kitchen at the same time. It was lonely but I was ok.
I was still experiencing chills, weakness, and headaches and had to rest often, but I didn’t allow this to stop me from working. Thankfully, working from home means that I could pace myself so long as I go things done on time.
I took a second RT-PCR test
At this point, I had already been in isolation and quarantine for three weeks. I was required to do another swab test and to my dismay, this is what it said.
Another two weeks in isolation for me. Sigh. Afterward, I took the antigen test and was cleared of the virus and was positive for the antibodies. I wanted to donate but couldn’t as I am anemic.
In the five weeks that we were in quarantine I don’t know how we would have survived if not for the kindness and generosity of our neighbors and our BHERT (Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams). My cousin a few houses down offered to do our grocery shopping for us. The owner of the carinderia a few houses closer would message me the menu and then would bring over food on credit so that we wouldn’t have to cook and worry about payment. Our next-door neighbor would bring over food in trays for dinner or snacks, particularly those that she felt my mom would enjoy. Even dog food was delivered to us by the nearby pet shop. They don’t normally deliver, but they did for us. We got through this all with their help and the prayers of our family and friends.
I count myself blessed for surviving this pandemic and I pray every day that my family and friends stay safe and are spared.