Health & Fitness

When COVID-19 hit our tiny home

It was what we feared most when COVID-19 hit our tiny home. We’ve been extremely careful, especially when the variant, Delta, was detected in our country. We only went out when necessary, bathed and sanitised everything before they enter our door.

Where we are is one of the least ideal places for the virus to hit – houses too close to each other, and in levels, neighbours walking around despite living under the same roof with someone who tested positive, people who don’t care about wearing masks, who hang out in the streets in clumps, as if oblivious to the serious illnesses they may be passing on to weaker individuals.  People who keep their COVID-positive family members a secret, uncaring that others aren’t aware they’re breathing contaminated air. When you live around these sorts of people, I guess it is inevitable to catch the dang virus!

I’m sorry, I’m angry. We have three unvaccinated kids and Jay and I have not completed our vaccinations yet. COVID is nothing like any I’ve experienced. I can’t help but feel angry and do the blame-game.

But the truth is, the doctors we talked to said the air in Manila is already contaminated, and we can catch the virus ANYWHERE, except that, Jay hasn’t really been anywhere since the new ECQ except within the neighbourhood. And once, for an in-person meeting at work. The rest of us have stayed home, despite being bored out of our minds.

Here’s my piece — if you have the virus, whether it’s mild or not, let your neighbours know so they can take the necessary precautions! I am so angry that people think of keeping it a secret. Are you afraid your neighbours will shun you? Well, they just don’t know any better. Teach them what is right by being the responsible one.

Matthew 5:14  says, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Just to do what is right when everyone else insists on doing what is wrong is one of the most practical way to apply that verse.

Our symptoms, isolation and precautions

Jay’s symptom were barely noticeable. He woke up with some pain on his lower back. I actually woke up the same morning feeling like a huge heavy block was on my upper back, but I did some yoga and it lessened my discomfort.

It was Lukas who first had fever a few days later. He was saying goodnight and I hugged him, and his skin felt hot. He said he was feeling okay, but came to me the next morning to tell me he wasn’t feeling well.

His fever ran for two days, but he never lost his appetite nor his energy, he was back in ballet class in two days time. Two days later, Pablo had fever, too. It took him longer than his brother to recover. He had fever and colds for two days, and needed two more days to feel strong enough to go back to his usual activities.

Observing them, we assumed it was just flu considering how quickly they recovered, nevertheless, we took the necessary precautions. When Lukas had fever, we got Judah to sleep with me and Jay in the common area. We let Pablo sleep on the top bunk because we actually thought it was only flu. We just felt that since Judah sleeps at the same level as Lukas, and his folding bed is always beside Lukas’ in the very tiny room, we had to take him out.

When Pablo was sick, we made Lukas and Judah sleep in the common room with us.

On Pablo’s 3rd day, he accidentally coughed on my face. That night, I started running a fever. But I thought that since it’s only flu, a mask would suffice. I laid on a mattress separate from Jay and the kids. But as soon as Pablo was well, I isolated myself in the room.

We ordered a DIY saliva antigen test online and tested negative on my 3rd day, but I wasn’t feeling it. The next day, I decided to take the RT PCR because I just knew something was not right and I most likely contracted COVID.

During this time, the boys were already well, except for Judah who ran a few hours of fever and had a mild cough, which we were managing with a paracetamol and Solmux Broncho, an over-the-counter meds for phlegm.

From bad to worse

I was feeling worse. I had fever but it was gone in two days. I had a massive headache, I noticed that I could not smell the Lysol when Jay sprayed it in the bathroom, I was weak (this made me realise I had COVID), I felt like throwing up all the time (and I did about four times), making it hard for me to eat. I was nauseous, I had diarrhea and I had clogged nose which I was able to remedy with a small bottle of Saline spray.

I could barely walk upright on my 3rd and 4th day, and even going to the bathroom was a lot of energy spent that I had to lie back down right away to rest it off; and I swear I could feel the shape of my lungs the entire time. During my 3rd to 7th day, using my phone or laptop was painful to my eyes. I was exhausted just by trying to update my family and I kept my laptop and my phone shut as much as possible and let Jay handle the calls and the text messages. A K-drama marathon was not possible, so no, I haven’t seen Squid Game yet, sorry.

I was also constantly struggling with fatigue which caused me so much stress. I got sick a week before a major company event and I just knew it would be impossible for me to assist my bosses online knowing that I’ll have to lie down often and drift off. I had to break the news to them two days before to let them know and to give them time to prepare. I felt awful!!!

Doctors and Prescriptions

I asked Jay to book a home service for RT PCR, so he contacted Safe Swab. He also decided to call Dr. Toti Cortez, a trusted doctor in our church community to consult my case. He was swift and already prescribed Cefixime, Azithromycin, and Ambroxol even before my test results came in the next morning.  The first two were antibiotics and the last one is for my cough.

I decided not to take Lian Hua and Melatonin, even though we already had them ready here since last year, and decided to just take what the doctor prescribed. I didn’t have problems sleeping, anyway, except being woken with fits of coughing between 3-4 AM daily, so I could do without Melatonin. I also supplemented with two Fern C with Zinc and two Fern D gel tablets everyday.

My oxygen was normal, my biggest struggle was body malaise and the terrible headache which went away two days after I started taking the prescribed meds.

We also consulted with family doctor and paediatrician from our church, Dr. Rachel Gabato, for Judah’s case. She prescribed him 3-5 days of Azithromycin, but we discontinued after the third day because the coughing stopped already.

Dr. Rachel Gabato also assumed my case since, and has been the one monitoring our progress.

Practical, useful tips that helped me manage COVID

There were many friends who sent tips and gave advices on what to do to help me manage my symptom.

1. Eat, no matter how you’re feeling.

It was hard to eat on my first 7 days. I had to be choosy, so I’m glad I’m on home care because I cannot force myself to eat food I didn’t feel like eating.

The food that gave me the most comfort was dry food. Dry rice, dry viand, dry veggies. No soup. I couldn’t take soup. So even though Jay cooked nilaga, he only gave me the patted dry meat and the vegetables. But I mostly ate steamed fish because I couldn’t tolerate chicken or meat that much.

2. Hydrate well.

Drink lots of water, drink Gatorade, if you must.

3. Cough out the phlegm.

Here’s a video a friend sent me that was most helpful to me. Just click and enlarge to see the demonstration.

4. Take a bath daily. 

I wasn’t able to bathe on my 3rd day because I was just too weak. It was the worst day of my life!!! But when I did take baths, the tap water gave my body comfort.

Well, it’s also to wash away the virus in your hands, hair and body, of course.

5. Rest and don’t stay up late.

There’s no sense fighting it. Your body will need rest to fight COVID.

The truth of the matter is, there are no meds that directly cure COVID. The meds are mostly to manage the other symptoms. You need to help yourself get well and pray your oxygen doesn’t drop below 95.

6. Get some sun daily and try to get up from your bed as often as you can.

I don’t know how it helped, but help it did for me to spend at least 15 minutes where the sun can shine on me, although I would always have to go straight to bed afterwards because merely sitting down exhausted me.

Getting up and trying to move a little also took some pressure off my head.

I get by with a little help from my friends….

As of this writing, I’m on my 13th day since my first symptom, but 8th day in quarantine. We count the quarantine days from the day you receive your COVID confirmation. But Dr. Rachel said that it is alright for me to hug my kids in two days time and I’m no longer contagious.

We would not have survived the quarantine had it not been for family and friends who immediately sent groceries, food, and other items to help us get by. Even our next-door neighbour lent us a hand with an errand. We ran into hiccups with a couple of riders who refused to go up, and I don’t blame them; but so far, most of the riders were kind and understanding enough to bring all the stuff up to our floor to leave them at the table in our balcony.

Just so you know, we live on the top floor of a building that’s all the way up a hill. We usually meet the riders in the street because we are 70 steps up and our building is not easy to find for first-timers. And since Jay was also quarantined, we needed riders to come up to our unit.

At the recommendation of a friend of ours, a TokTok rider who also attends at our church agreed to pick up some of the deliveries from friends and run errands for us. His name is Dan. Remind me to reach out to the kind man after all this to thank him and bless him.

For all the prayers, tips and advices, the generosity of family and friends, the understanding and the kindness of my bosses and our clients, and the compassion of the TNV riders who agreed to climb up to our unit to bring our deliveries, we are truly grateful. God is faithful and He has shown himself faithful in all of you.

May the LORD bless you all abundantly and cause an overflow of breakthroughs in your lives.

To my husband, Jay, thank you for taking care of us. I love you. May God continue to keep you safe and healthy, and bless you with more than you desire.

Recovering, regaining slowly

I’ve completed my antibiotics and meds two days ago, but currently on Seretide inhaler and Ceterizine to manage my asthma. I’m still struggling with fatigue and spends many hours of the day sleeping. I’ve been warned that this may go on for a while — I really hope it doesn’t!

COVID is no ordinary illness. Often, when I feel the way I did, it was time to take me to the hospital. I’ve had serious illnesses in the past when I had been hospitalised, but this one tops them all, and the only reason I was in home care was because the hospitals are currently reserved for the severe cases.

The day I actually felt I was on my way to recovery was already on the 10th day since my first symptom. The days leading to that were blurry. I knew there were some improvements, but I didn’t feel confident that I was getting better because I still felt sick.

And I can’t even begin to tell you about the mental struggle that comes with it! If anything, this experience has brought me back to asking myself how I really want to live my life. COVID does that to you.

This was mild and I think I have to thank my first dose of AstraZeneca for it. Astra is said to have 70% efficacy already on its first dose, I cannot imagine how I would have fared had I not have my first shot.

I had my misgivings when I learned AstraZeneca was the dose the day I came to get mine because of all the news on blood clots and stuff, but something in me told me it was the best vaccine for me and that God orchestrated it, and I honestly think it was true enough!

Only onward from here

We missed our schedule for our second dose, but we have been able to inform them of our situation. We called Safe Swab to ask if they’ve informed our LGU (Local Government Unit), and they said they informed the DOH (Department of Health). It will be up to us to inform the LGU, but at the same time, we have also been told we can simply present a medical certificate from our doctor when we are already well and fully recovered. The only problem is that we’ll have to wait until the next AstraZeneca schedule.

I have already ordered a few items online to prepare for sanitising and decontaminating our tiny home. I plan, not only to decontaminate our home, but to also fog our building and try to rid the air of the virus. Many of us have gotten sick here, the virus lingers in the air. It has to go.

“Caring for other’s welfare is kindness” – Fully Housewifed