MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews / 13 June)  — I remember my first article about Covid-19 was datelined April 29, 2020. This was followed by a few more articles all published by the MindaNews. Now I have my story to tell. I share this with the hope that it will help save precious human lives. Life has become so fragile these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I started feeling uncomfortable and feverish on May 31, 2021. My son, a medical technologist, would tell me to wait for three to four days before he can administer the antigen test on me. The Antigen Test and Rapid Test Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) both require swabbing, but the Antigen test would yield result much faster. The result comes out in a few minutes.

The problem with COVID-19 is that the symptoms do not show outright, unlike ordinary flu. The early symptoms are usually fever, headache, and runny nose. Coughing may be experienced by the infected person a few days later. This is the case for the so-called symptomatic person. But for some infected persons, the symptoms never show at all throughout the supposed incubation period of the virus. This is the case for the so-called asymptomatic person. Both symptomatic and asymptomatic persons can potentially infect other healthy persons, except that the asymptomatic person may be able to infect more people because of his unrestricted association with them. The symptomatic person can be isolated right away from the rest of the population.

In severe to critical cases, other symptoms could be: shortness of breathing, hardness of breathing, loss of sense of smell and taste, and sometimes even loss of balance.

And then my antigen test was finally administered on the fourth day. By this time, I am constantly feeling the feverish sensation, and believe me, even when my body temperature was normal (36.5̊⁰C to 37.0⁰C) and headache. After reading the result, my son exclaimed “you are very positive.”

This time, my daughter nurse had to take over. She told me it was important that I would know how to operate the electronic blood pressure apparatus, electronic thermometer, electronic oxygenation meter (or oximeter, for short), and I would know how to count my respiratory rate. I have mastered all of these in no time at all.

My daughter nurse would tell me to post my vital signs every four hours in our family group chat. For the record, we have four children: the eldest – a nurse and will take the bar exam this November 2021, the second – an electronic engineer, the third – a medical technologist, and the youngest and only girl – nurse. It would seem I have a complete medical team except a doctor of medicine. Well, no problem. One of my classmates, our consistent valedictorian from elementary to high school, has been a practicing medical doctor in the U.S. for almost three decades now. And what more! She is a COVID-19 specialist in one of the hospitals in Hawaii.

She would tell me to furnish her a copy of my vital signs every now and then. Then she began to take an inventory of my medicines.  I told her I have a good stock of Vitamin C 1000 mg, ascorbic acid with zinc, Vitamin B complex, and symptomatic treatments for cold, cough, headache, and fever. I asked her if she would add anything to the list. “Yes, I would add Azithromycin (250mg), two tablets on first take, and one per day for succeeding days for four days.”  Not known to her, I also bought Ivermectin and Lianhua capsules. I feel it was not good that I would hide these from her. She discouraged Ivermectin and she never tried this on her COVID patients, but she indirectly endorsed Lianhua by saying: “my relatives in Manila who got infected with COVID would swear by it.” In case my condition gets worse she would rather recommend Remdisivir over Ivermectin.

On the first night that I took Lianhua capsule I perspired immensely for three times even when the airconditioning unit was on. But I swear, I felt so much better for the first time. I asked my doctor classmate if the perspiration was alright. And she said, “your vital signs are encouraging. I think you are doing well.” My eldest son, a nurse, would complement by saying, “you know dad, your having a first dose of Sinovac somehow gave you passive immunity.” And true enough, I had only mild case of COVID-19 all throughout.

This time, my doctor classmate asked me how many days have I been infected and I said it is the 11th day (June 10, 2021). “Good. I want you to go through a test: no paracetamol for 24 hours but you should monitor your body temperature every six hours.” I obliged and this was the result: 36.2̊⁰C, 36.6̊⁰C, 36.8̊⁰C, 36.4̊⁰C, and 36.5̊⁰C. When I sent this result to her, she congratulated me by saying, “you know by CDC standard you should be out of quarantine area now.” CDC means the U.S. Center for Disease Control.

It was to be noted that the following day, June 11, was my 65th birthday. I had asked my medtech son to have my second swab test on this day. The night before, I prayed so hard to Allah (SWT) to give me the most precious gift ever! And you know what I mean. My medtech son came at about 9 a.m. on my 65th birthday to perform second test on me. After the test, I went straight to the terrace, my favorite part of the house. His family lives in a house about a hundred meters away and he would pass by this way to tell me about the result. And he said: “yes dad, it’s NEGATIVE this time.” And I sighed in deep relief: “thank you Ya Allah for this most precious gift on my birthday. Alhamdulillah (praise the Lord).”

I relayed the good news to my doctor classmate: “You know what? I tested negative on my second test today. This is my most precious gift on my birthday. I have the best nurse and medtech in my two children. And I have the best long distance doctor in you. I owe you a lot. I know I cannot thank you enough, but thanks anyway.” This was her exact words: “You gave me goose bumps! Go give your lovely wife a big hug. Happy birthday, Mau.”

Now, if you ask me: which episode in the whole ordeal was most difficult? I would say: the first seven days. I would feel too hot inside. I would feel like my urine is steaming hot too. Though I didn’t lose my sense of smell and taste, no food would taste good to me! And consider my case was just mild. Thanks to my first dose of Sinovac. I had developed some kind of passive immunity, somehow. Now, I am ready to have my second dose on June 15, 2021, Insha Allah.

This was the last vital signs I sent my doctor classmate: body temp: 36.2̊⁰C, BP: 118/72, pulse rate 68, oxygen: 97, and Respiratory rate: 14. And Dr. Maria Stella Kriekenbeek said: “Your vital signs are getting better and better. YOU ARE A COVID SURVIVOR!”

Thank you Ya Allahu Rabbi, first and foremost. Thank you to the best medical team I have ever assembled. And thank you to my very supportive wife who stood by me and prayed all along.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews.  Maugan P. Mosaid, PhD is a freelance writer. He is a planning consultant and teaches Statistics in the graduate school. MindaNews welcomes Mindanawons with a story to share about their own COVID journey. You may email editor@mindanews.com)