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Wednesday , 6 July 2022

Being COVID-19 positive and being positive in life

Don't ignore the symptoms

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Alice Nicolas
Alice Nicolas
Alice Gregorio Nicolas is the publisher of The Philippine Times.

I was tested COVID-19 positive the other day. Since last month at the height of this crisis, I ensured that we had enough food and necessities in the house. But I realised now that despite preparing, you will never be 100 percent prepared.

For example, I bought one big packet of biscuits for my aunt who is 85 years old. I focused on her food and well-being, so everyday I would cook special Filipino dishes and desserts because that’s all she wanted. I would set up her Tagalog films and would leave her at her granny flat at the back of our house, so she could watch two to three movies a day.

I tried to avoid getting near her as much as possible.

And now that I’ve tested positive, being a patient now, I wished I bought a packet of biscuits for myself as well. We only have a few tablets of paracetamol left, and I struggled to find Vicks VapoRub.

So pretend that one day, you will be sick and prepare things that you need, even contingency measures on what other family members will do, like kitchen duties. I cannot cook now because I need to be in the room all the time.

While having symptoms and being tested, I was still fine. When I was declared positive, that’s where it hit me the most. I was ordered to self-isolate. Not just at home but ONLY in my room. My family brings me my meals, coffee, and snacks. Like myself, none of my family members are allowed to go out and work for 14 days.

A 'mini-kitchen' in the isolation room
A ‘mini-kitchen’ in the isolation room

They say your family will always be by your side. When you have COVID, you can never be with them or near them. We text and video once in a while. My bedroom is like a quarantined hospital room. My used plates and spoons, rubbish bin and bedding, I would put outside the door. When my hubby would collect them, he wears gloves to protect himself. Day in, day out, I am a prisoner in my own “hospital room” and my family is being very careful.

Used dishes are left on the floor

Monitor your own body; don’t ignore symptoms

People have different symptoms so you really need to observe yourself carefully. I had a flu vaccine which confused things. The following day I developed flu-like symptoms, including a headache, sore body, and would sneeze and cough (but just two or three times a day).

I was doing online Zumba with Marita and I noticed that there were days that I was too weak to do it. One time, I had already put my shoes on, but removed them because I had no energy to exercise.

The tricky part was that I could still do computer work, cook and go about my normal chores, except that I felt lethargic and the headache would not go away. That’s when I decided to get tested for COVID. True enough, the symptoms were there.

I am still recovering now. I still have shortness of breath, a persistent headache and feeling weak. But compared to others, my case is mild and manageable. This is only my fourth day and I still cannot say this early that I will be okay tomorrow or the next day.

Until you see the continued flattening of the curve, we are all still at risk. It’s true when they say – stay at home to stop the spread of the virus. I’m doing my part in isolation. If you get tested positive, I urge you to do the same for everyone’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Where did I catch the coronavirus?

It would be hard to say where I caught the virus, as in recent days, I went to the supermarket, McDonald’s, post office, GP, and withdrew money from ATMs. What does this mean? There is no way for me to trace where I got this virus. I don’t blame anyone – this is just me and my body contracting the virus.

The Philippine Times

One of the most difficult parts of this COVID crisis is when some people you know have it and you are part of a newspaper like The Philippine Times. If you keep the news from the public, you will be accused of covering up and protecting your friends. If you announce it, you will still be accused of not having empathy. But after all the issues and dramas, I had to do my job.

When we released that there were coronavirus positive cases in the community, we respected privacy and did not name people, nor did we specify any event. If people posted something on Facebook, those were their opinions and feelings, not ours.

Other members of The Philippine Times team are safe, as we all work remotely. I have not handled any of the physical copies that were distributed.

READ MORE: Filipino-Australian tests positive for COVID-19, says “I’m doing fine”

The focus now

I will still say this to others and to myself: Be kind, avoid hatred. The past few days, there were so much negative energies. I must admit I reacted to these ugly forces and I realised what’s important is, we survive this crisis. That I regain my health back and to keep working and always be with my family and friends. Keep my faith stronger. Despite being coronavirus positive, I would want to continue being ‘positive’ in life.

In isolation – keeping in touch with friends via video chat

My tips for what you need to do if and when you have COVID-19

Here are my personal tips if you are tested positive:

  1. Hydrate. Drink more water. I have my jug of lemon and ginger and my thermos. I have hot drinks all the time. I also have Gatorade.
  2. Force yourself to eat. I have lost my sense of taste and smell and hunger but I remind myself to eat, just eat.
  3. Take vitamin C and D, and anything to boost your immune system.
  4. Avoid boredom. There are lots of things to do. I have Viber chat groups and video chats with my siblings and sister-in-law and a few friends. When I am a bit well, I work and declutter my emails and photos.
  5. Internet and Netflix are your best buddies but choose sites to visit and movies to watch.
  6. Detox from Facebook. Even before testing positive, I already refrained from opening Facebook. If it is getting toxic, why bother open it – it can all get overwhelming.
  7. Don’t wear pyjamas. Being COVID positive, you have uncertain days. I notice that there are days that I am ok and there are days I need to lie down in bed for hours. So on days I feel a bit better I would quickly shower, choose a nice comfy top pretending I will go to shops, put my everyday earrings, dab my favourite perfume and fix my hair. Otherwise, the bed will hypnotise me to just lie down. So waking up every morning is an answered prayer that I get better. 
  8. Be mindful of your mental health. While the room is my world, I still talk to people. I still look forward to the day that everything will be normal except avoiding beso-beso (cheek-to-cheek kiss) and handshakes and crowded events. This is just a temporary crisis and what is important is I recover from COVID-19 fully.
Alice Nicolas
Alice Nicolas
Alice Gregorio Nicolas is the publisher of The Philippine Times.

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