My Journey with Covid-19
It all started on late Saturday, February 19th night when I received a notification on MySejahtera (a mobile app by the Malaysian government to facilitate contact tracing efforts) informing me that I had become a Casual Contact. As a Casual Contact, the risk of contracting Covid-19 is supposedly low, and home quarantine isn't necessary.
I had been asleep when the notification came through, but when I saw the notification on Sunday, February 20th morning, I immediately did a self-test at home despite not having any symptoms. Result was negative.
I could easily identify the places I had been to over the last 4 days - home and the hospital - as Caleb, my 15-year old was warded due to a foot injury on Wednesday, February 16th and was only discharged on Saturday, February 19th. I had been with him most of the day during this time till late at night.
Still asymptomatic on Monday, February 21st morning, I brought my dad for his scheduled appointment with his oncologist. We got home before noon, and I started to feel a little feverish around 1pm, so I decided to do another self-test - and this time, unfortunately, the result was positive.
Day 0 (Monday, February 21st)
I immediately quarantined myself in my bedroom, and informed my two sons and dad to do the same. Luckily, all our bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms. Next, was to get everyone (including my domestic helper) tested. Thankfully, they were all negative. And so begins the week-long room quarantine for all, that includes daily self-tests.
Day 1 (Tuesday, February 22nd)
What a horrendous night! My fever would not go away, although it never crossed 38.2°C. And the headache was crazy intense. It first felt like my head was being squeezed on the inside, and then the pressure turned the other way, expanding outwards until my whole head felt like it was going to explode. I was super lethargic for the whole day from not being able to sleep the night before and had to move all my work calls to the later part of the week.
Day 2 (Wednesday, February 23rd)
From a mix of sheer exhaustion and Panadol finally kicking in, I managed to get a good, deep, dreamless sleep waking up to no more headaches! However, on Day 2, I still had a mild fever of 38°C and the start of a really bad sore throat.
Day 3 (Thursday, February 24th)
Another horrendous night! My sore throat had become so bad that it was painful to even swallow my own saliva. The burning sensation kept me up most of the night, and even though my fever finally broke, I woke up in so much pain - and without a voice.
But the day got much worse. My dad's self-test at 11am showed that he is positive. For those who do not know, my dad is 84 and was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, which makes him incredibly high risk of developing a serious illness from Covid-19. Although he wasn't displaying any symptoms at that point in time, I had no idea what the next 7 days would be like for him. With no voice as well, it was so hard to communicate and plan the next steps, but thankfully, I have a great friend who made calls to a number of hospitals on my behalf to check on bed availability.
We found a suitable one, and an ambulance came to take my dad away at 4:30pm. I cried myself to sleep that night, feeling so alone and hating the feeling of helplessness, and questioning God on why he's allowing all of this to happen - where is the grace and mercy? I was physically exhausted from the little sleep I had the night before and having eaten only one cheese sandwich and a protein shake the whole day; but the emotional and spiritual exhaustion was far greater.
Day 4 (Friday, February 25th)
My throat isn't as sore this morning, and my voice is slowly coming back.
My dad was extremely restless at the hospital the whole night and morning, and the nurses at the ward had called 4 times by noon to ask for my help to comfort him. Only when they had lent my dad a smartphone to video call with my boys and I, did he manage to calm down and promise to not be a difficult patient at the hospital. Thankfully, his stats are all stable, and he is eating relatively well.
I managed to attend to some important work calls, but moved as many as I could to the following week.
God hadn't forsaken me, like I thought He did. I'm ashamed to have turned away from Him in a time of distress when I should have turned to Him.
Day 5 (Saturday, February 26th)
The doctor informed me that my dad had a mild fever at night, but all other stats remain stable.
I no longer have a sore throat and my voice is 70% back, although I have developed a dry, persistent cough that sometimes leaves me a little breathless. But as I'm feeling better, I decided it was time to start doing some housekeeping in my bedroom and bathroom.
Day 6 (Sunday, February 27th)
My self-test today is negative, and the boys' PCR results have also come back negative. I have decided to send them off to their father's so that I can bring my dad home from the hospital as he has been so miserable there. I'm not entirely sure if that's a good idea though, as the nurses had informed me that he had 2 minor falls the night before, but thankfully, suffered no major injury except for a scratch and bruise.
Most of today was spent cleaning his bedroom and bathroom in preparation for his homecoming tomorrow. Except for a dry cough, I feel almost back to normal, although I did get a little breathless again today - but I'm guessing that's due to the housework and not Covid :)
Day 7 (Monday, February 28th)
As I am still under the Home Surveillance and Observation Order (HSO) and am not allowed out of the house, and my dad is still Covid-19 positive, I arranged for an ambulance to bring him back home today. And so begins My Journey as a Covid-19 Caregiver - which I will cover more on in my next blog post.
As I am writing this on March 8th, my dad is still Covid-19 positive, 12 days after first testing positive.
When I was at my lowest point: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually; when I felt so alone and so worried about my dad; when I felt so helpless at not being able to be with my dad when he needed me; when I had thought that God had forsaken me - I should have known better. I should have kept faith that with God, I can face any trial and overcome it because He gives me His power and strength. He knows that trials can easily crush and destroy me if He does not intervene. But I should rest in hope that God will never forsake me.
In Isaiah 43:2, the scripture talks about "when" and not "if" you pass through the waters, rivers and fire. These things will come in our lives, but we have God's assurance and deliverance of hope. His promise is that when the waters threaten to drown you, He will be there to make sure you don't. He promises that the rivers will not sweep over you. He is watching you closely to make sure that you get to the other side safely. God will not leave or forsake you in your times of trouble. You may think He is not there (I'm ashamed I did), but He always is, like He says in His Word. He will deliver us all from the waters, rivers and fires of life that want to take away our peace and joy.
Isaiah 43:2 (New International Version)
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."