April 23, 2024

After an extended hospital stay due to Covid-19, perhaps I should share some random thoughts. Obviously, I am not a doctor, so don’t take what I say as sound medical advice.
To begin with, I had previously been fully vaccinated with Sinovac. Despite the vaccination I still got what is called a “breakthrough” Covid-19 infection. That is not the fault of Sinovac. In fact, my doctors say Sinovac may well have lessened the effects of the infection and may have saved my life considering that what hit me was classified as “severe.” Others may have it easier with a milder form.
First lesson. Get yourself vaccinated the first chance you get. Never mind what kind. It helps. It did in my case. The virus is the enemy, not the vaccine. Vaccine is the shield.
Second lesson. Vaccination is not an absolute protection against infection. It can still happen. Get it anyway. You have nothing to lose.
What kind of Covid-19 did I get? The “regular” or the Delta variant? I don’t know. My doctor did not say. I really did not care. Does it matter? Either way, you get sick anyway. Very sick.
Third lesson. You cannot choose your virus. Prepare for all of them. The obvious ways: wear a mask (if not for yourself, for the sake of others), double mask if you must, shield, observe social distancing, and constant washing of hands.
But there are no fool-proof preparations or guarantees. You cannot be on guard all the time. There will be lapses due to neglect or necessity. For example, how do you eat or drink without removing your mask? One cannot resign from the human race. There will always be interaction and with it come the chance that Covid-19 is waiting for.
Fourth lesson. No matter how difficult, take precautions anyway. It might be during the times when you did, that the virus failed to get you. We will not know. We deal with an invisible enemy.
Covid-19 does not hit you instantly or with a big bang. It creeps into your system slowly and treacherously.
Fifth lesson. Be on the alert for signs. Even small ones; slight fever, slight headache, sneezing, running nose, cough, loss of taste/smell, fatigue, etc.
Sixth lesson. Don’t take that smug devil-may-care attitude of “if it come it will come.” Believe me it will come. And when it comes, all your bravado, false pride and image of yourself as Superman, goes down the drain. Reality gives a hard slap on the face. And you wish, too late, you could start from the beginning.
Seventh lesson. Don’t ignore or dismiss the signs. I did to my regret. I had slight dry cough but treated myself to scotch, wine, gin, lozenges, cough drops. And I pretended that the lozenges and alcohol were working. I was only fooling myself.
And so, the eighth lesson. Don’t be your own doctor. Seek help. Doctors know better. That’s what they went to school for. When doctors advise you about the law, forget it. But when it is about your health – listen. Don’t self-medicate. And don’t listen to quacks who peddle tales about unproven remedies. They may be good for horses, but you are not a horse. At least, I hope not.
Ninth lesson, appreciate your doctors and be thankful for them. Doctors and health workers of today, are harassed and overworked enough that they should not be burdened with arrogant patients who think they are entitled or privileged (some seniors?), or that they know it all, or even know better.
To all the kind doctors and health workers who helped me through my ordeal and saved my life – Dios ti agngina Apo!
If, despite everything, you get sick anyway, tenth lesson, don’t lose hope. It is not the end of the world. More Covid-19 victims survive compared to those who did not. Fight back! (Easier said than done.)
In my case, I kept thinking of Atty. Benny Carantes, who wrote when he found out about my illness that I was a “bad grass” and will not be easy to put away. I clung to that thought, and he was correct. I am surviving so far. It’s too bad I did not get well soon enough to have a few drinks with Benny. He left us ahead.
Eleventh lesson. Never make the selfish assumption that when you get sick, and find yourself alone, quarantined or in isolation, that you are the only victim. There are people suffering simultaneously with you. Your family, who are not even allowed to visit are at their wits’ end worrying about you. I guess it also crossed their minds that they may not see you alive again. (Let’s hope they did not like the idea too much.) Think about them before you dare get sick again by flaunting rules and protocol. Think of where they will get the money to pay for costs, for support, for daily needs and requirements.
Reliance on ayuda from government or society is a false short-lived hope. The problems your loved ones must bear while you are sick, are worse than your getting sick. And all that time you are there lying down and “relaxing” alone on your bed waiting for your next meal. Shame on you. Like the late Sen. Johnny Flavier used to say: “Bawal magkasakit!”
Twelfth lesson. Getting knocked down by Covid-19 is not going to be easy. You cannot wish it even against an enemy. My hospital stay has been my longest in all my life. Not only that, I cannot remember ever having felt so helpless
In just a few days time I was X-rayed and poked all over with all sorts of pins, needles and injections, more times than I can ever remember. Blood had to be drawn. Many times. That is not a pleasant sight. Swabs and tests had to be made. Many times. Tubes have to be attached for intravenous medicine. Tubes must be inserted into your nostrils for oxygen. And they can be done at the most unholy hours of the night.
Is it going to be painful? Siempre ah, it is going to be extremely painful, especially if like me you have no love for swabs, needles, pins and tubes. Going to the hospital is not a picnic. Ano ka sineswerte?
Thirteenth lesson. Don’t complain or blame your doctor or health worker for all that pain and suffering. It’s more your fault, not theirs, that you got sick. They are only doing what is necessary and trying to help. You are making their task more difficult if you become difficult yourself. Don’t smile, because you cannot smile. Just grit your teeth and bear it. Gungunak.
Fourteenth lesson. If and when you are cleared, do not think you are cured. There are many reasons why they decided to release you. For one, the hospital or isolation space may be needed by someone more in need. So don’t jump around in joy thinking you can now go back to your reckless wayward ways and try to get infected again. Next time you may be cremated.
Finally, will you have long Covid-19 or long-lasting effects? Only time will tell. They say that among possible long-lasting effects of Covid-19 are insomnia, brain fog, difficulty to concentrate, fatigue, dyspnea, anxiety, hair loss, etc.
Neh, marikriknak met amin daguitan uray idi saanak pay nga na-Covid!