My COVID-19 Experience

As the saying goes, you won’t fully understand something until it happens to you. I know COVID-19 is real; I know it is dangerous. But still, I was complacent, I thought I was safe since I was a very vigilant and neat freak that my hands would get dry from rubbing too much alcohol all the time. But COVID-19 attacks stealthily at the most unexpected moment.

Below is my daily experience when I had COVID-19. What happened to me is only for reference, as COVID affects each person differently.

March 17 – I found out my close friend was positive but asymptomatic. Was tested immediately as direct contact. Instructed to quarantine for 14 days as a precaution.

March 18 – My Ehteraz (Qatar’s COVID-19 tracking app) turned RED at 9 PM, but no SMS or calls from the Health Ministry. Also, no symptoms aside from mild cough, thought of as asthma, due to the changing weather.

March 19 – The representative of MOPH called to inform me at 5 PM that I was optimistic about the virus and assessed me over the phone to see if I have any other health issues (diabetes, hypertension, asthma etc.), which I all have. So, to be sure of my current health even if I am asymptomatic, I was told to be ready to be picked up as I had to go to the health centre for a thorough check-up.

March 20 & 21 – Home quarantine. No news.

March 22 – 10 AM Health Transport Team called, telling me to be ready in an hour. I was picked up and spent the day at the centre for all lab tests and X-rays, and ECGs. At 5 PM, the doctor told me they found an infection (mild pneumonia) in my lungs and that I had to be hospitalised immediately and just needed to wait for transport. At 7 PM transferred and was admitted to Messaieed Hospital 36kms away from Doha.

March 23 – No fever, mild diarrhoea and cough but all vitals normal. Allowed to go home for quarantine (or so I thought!)

March 24 – 8 PM released from Messaieed Hospital, then was surprised to be transferred to Al Wukair Quarantine Villas — where we would be finishing our quarantine. The medical, housekeeping and catering team assists the guests (as they call us). We have WIFI access and have our rooms and washrooms, and we can go out of the house and walk around the compound for exercise.

We were called every morning to go for vitals at the nurse’s station, and the doctors would call every day to check up on us. Food is served based on your nationality (Filipino, Arabic, or other Asian cuisines) so you can eat better. If you need toiletries or coffee or anything, you can call housekeeping or catering any time of the day.

March 25 to 30 – Usual day at the quarantine facility. No symptoms still. Waiting for the swab test again for clearance to be released.

March 31 – 8 AM Swab test to check if I no longer have the virus. The waiting game has begun. My Ehteraz app turned YELLOW, which means under quarantine.

April 1 – 9 AM They called and confirmed I was ok to leave and clear! My app turned GREEN. I am now home!

Knowing and experiencing COVID-19 are two different things. I couldn’t believe I would ever have it as I am addicted to handwashing and sanitising with alcohol every few minutes. But when I had it, I was a little panicky, but I told myself I was still grateful I didn’t have bad symptoms. I didn’t want to stress myself as it would eat up my immunity more.

Just make sure you drink a lot of water. And I mean A LOT! The nurses and doctors have informed me that maybe the reason I never had a fever was that I drink a lot of water. I usually drink around 3L a day. It helped to keep my liver and kidney good as well with all those meds I am taking.

Eat and rest. Don’t worry too much. The virus is already in your system. There’s nothing you can do until it subsides. Just keep a positive attitude (this type of positivity) and listen to or watch good vibes, movies or music. Talk to your family. Support each other.

Also, I am thankful that my 2nd home, Qatar, has been beneficial in this fight. They don’t care if they have to do lab tests a lot of times or swab tests to be sure we are safe. The food, facility, and amenities — are all superb. They never think of the money they spend as long as everyone is safe — all free.

Guys, COVID-19 is real. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you don’t know that it is already eating up your lungs slowly and silently pneumonia.

I hope my experience will give you a glimpse that COVID-19 is real and that it is here with us. Let us all keep praying and be safe.

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