When the news came that I was Covid-19 positive. I didn’t expect it but I wasn’t at all surprised. During the waiting period of our swab test results, I began experiencing mild symptoms and so did my family.
It started with my aunt when she felt slightly feverish which only lasted for a day and then, she started coughing bit by bit. Eventually, my brother experienced the same symptoms and so did I. We weren’t coughing but we lost our sense of taste and smell for a few days. We had suspicions that it must be Covid-19 already but we brushed the thought off and tried our best to think positively.
While waiting for our result, we decided to isolate ourselves in our rooms. Since Tita Peng and I shared a room, she decided to stay in the living room so that she can cook and serve us food for our meals. It was to limit the number of times we had to go out of our designated space. We only talked to each other through Facebook chat.
That was our routine for the first few days at home since the swab test. We only went out of our rooms to get our temperatures checked daily by barangay officials and to go to the bathroom which we had to disinfect right after using. And even then, we made sure to distance ourselves from each other.
A few days later, my brother and I noticed that Tita Peng’s condition worsened. She hasn’t been sleeping well due to anxiety while being constantly tired from cooking and cleaning. When she began to cough uncontrollably, my brother and I decided for the both of us to switch rooms. I’d stay in the living room and she’d be in our bedroom so that she can rest properly. Before transferring spaces, I had to disinfect everything in both of our areas. I practically cleaned the whole day just so we can rest in our new space by night.
When Tita Peng and I finally switched rooms, it automatically became my responsibility to cook and clean for the family. I seemed to be the safest option since I wasn’t showing any symptoms. During this time, I started to feel the paranoia and anxiety that my aunt most likely felt.
I was so scared and anxious about every single thing I touched. I never realized that I had to touch so many things while cooking. I had to wash my hands for 20 seconds right after holding something because I was afraid to be infected or to infect my family if ever I tested positive of Covid-19. The fact that my aunt who started showing symptoms was the one who previously handled the kitchen was unsettling as well.
I did not know how to cook so I had to learn by myself and plan for the next meal right after serving my brother and my aunt their food. There was so much pressure in cooking because I knew that I had to cook healthy meals rather than those easy fry recipes that I usually do, and it had to be tasteful to raise a bit of morale.
It was all mentally and emotionally draining. I tried to distract myself by watching YouTube videos or Netflix but I couldn’t focus on the clip because in the back of my mind I just knew that Covid-19 was upon us. Instead, I constantly cleaned and did the laundry to keep myself busy. I would tire myself out so that I can pass out and sleep when the night comes or else I would end up awake the whole night and thinking about worst case scenarios. It got so bad that my back really started to hurt and I felt lightheaded very often.
I was experiencing this slow build up of paranoia and with it comes a level of denial. During this time, I started coughing a bit and for a few nights I’d feel my throat sore but then the feeling disappears for right after taking medicine. I kept convincing myself that it must be because I’ve been tiring myself out too much but at the same time, I had a feeling that “this must be it”.
It was so depressing. We’re all at home but I’ve never felt so alone. I was in the living room and I’d pass by our hallway to see the rooms closed. We were in one place but I didn’t get to see much of my family unless it was necessary. If we did see each other, we’d be wearing masks and kept as much distance as we can inside our small home.
I only told a few friends about my situation but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them in detail what I was experiencing because it’s like reliving the pain that I am going through over and over again. I was a mess. I wanted to tell someone because I felt so lonely but at the same time I didn’t want to tell anyone because I knew that they wouldn’t understand.
While all of my friends are looking for ways to pass the time or making the time of pandemic “worthwhile”, I was scared for myself and for my family. I’d sometimes wake up thinking that this was all just a nightmare only to realize that it was my reality.
It was around 11 pm last August 11, 2020 when we found out the result. Tita Peng, my brother, uncle, and my cousin’s cousin tested positive for Covid-19. I wasn’t in on the list at the time so we assumed that I tested negative. I got even more worried and anxious knowing who was positive among us. I became more cautious about what I touched and thinking about who touched it before me.
For the first time in a long time, I prayed the rosary with all my heart that night. I begged to God for my family’s health and safety. I cried so hard while I was praying. Doing so calmed me down enough despite knowing that my family will be brought to the Covid facility the next day.
I thought I was going to be home alone with 2 of my younger cousins who tested negative. All I kept thinking was how I had no clue how I was going to take care of them. I was the eldest among us but I was the one who was near my breaking point. Still, I held it together and slept it off.
At around 2 am, my aunt woke me up saying that she called for an ambulance because she was having a difficult time breathing. While she was packing her things, I only waited for her to finish. I was so worried and frustrated. I couldn’t even help her get ready to avoid getting infected. When she was picked up by the ambulance, I couldn’t even hug her goodbye. I was so worried because my aunt is a 50 yr old with diabetes. I just knew that Covid-19 can affect her health drastically. Later on, she was diagnosed with Pneumonia.
It’s traumatizing to see your only parent get taken to the hospital because she’s in a critical condition. I’ve never tried so hard to hold my tears before but as soon as she was taken away, I closed the doors and broke down. I had the most instense panic attack I’ve ever felt.
My imagination went wild. All I could think about was the worst case scenario that could happen to my family. I called my friend and started crying hysterically while trying my best to minimize the noise I was making. He was with me on the phone until I calmed down and fell asleep which was around 4:30 am.
On August 12, 2020, My brother and uncle was supposed to be brought to the facility but they were rescheduled to be picked up the next day due to emergency situations that the ambulance had to tend to. I thought I got anxious all day for nothing but little did I know that I had more things to worry about. It was later on this day that my test results arrived claiming that I was actually Covid-19 positive. Anyway, good thing that I was asleep before I knew or else I would’ve been up all night.
When I woke up on August 13, 2020, I saw the messages from my family confirming my result. They sent me the screenshot of the list of those who tested positive and there it contained my details. I was contacted by some barangay officials about it later on. I was going to be brought to the facility along with my brother and uncle. I didn’t really have time to dwell on it. I had to pack my things immediately and before I knew it I was in the ambulance and on my way to the facility.