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Opinion

Recovering from COVID

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

I can’t thank enough the doctors and nurses at The Medical City (TMC) for the recovery of my wife, Josephine, from COVID-19.

She was in the hospital for more than three weeks, most of it spent in the intensive care unit (ICU).

That Josephine is home now – she checked out of the hospital on Sunday, Nov. 28 – is nothing short of a miracle.

Her doctors at TMC told us that one of the reasons she recovered was that she had been vaccinated against COVID-19 months earlier. Her second dose of Sinovac vaccine was on May 15, 2021.

She was the hardest hit in our household because she had several comorbidities – she has a heart condition and high blood pressure; she is also a diabetic.

Everybody in my household was hit by the deadly ailment: from my two-year old granddaughter Alivia; grandsons Armon, 11, and Szymone, 14; my daughter Gem and her husband Art; my wife’s sister, Norma Dumo, who came to visit for the holidays; our three household staff members; my wife’s driver; my two drivers and a bodyguard.

Except for Norma, who was also admitted at the TMC, all of us didn’t experience symptoms associated with COVID-19: fever, loss of the senses of taste and smell.

However, we had a cold and malaise that we thought was due to the change of climate at this time of the year.

We came to know we had the deadly ailment when we had all members of the household examined. Josephine and I were found positive for COVID-19 through tests administered by the Red Cross.

I appreciate the candor of the TMC doctors who took care of Josephine; they told me she had a slim chance at survival, but that they would do all they could to make her recover.

Again, at the risk of being repetitive, I thank the doctors and nurses at TMC for taking care of my wife.

Norma, who had moderate COVID, was released from the TMC a few days after admission.

But Josephine remained in intensive care even after Norma’s release from the hospital. Like Josephine, my sister-in-law Norma, who’s 81 years old, also suffers from ailments associated with the elderly.

Except for the three children in the household, all of us had been vaccinated. That apparently made our COVID symptoms mild.

I praise our village officials and some representatives of the Quezon City government, who convinced us to get quarantined in different places. My two drivers and bodyguard, Regino, were sent to the quarantine facility inside the University of the Philippines (UP) campus in Diliman.

I had myself quarantined at my brother Erwin’s unoccupied apartment.

All of us are now free of the virus; we were told that the human body expels the virus in two weeks.

What amazed me most was that Alivia, Armon and Szymone only had slight fevers, and they recovered within two days when they had yet to be vaccinated.

TMC doctors said that children have very strong immune systems.

*      *      *

I don’t know who the carrier of the virus was, but I can speculate on the matter: one of my drivers or bodyguards; my wife and Norma, who went to supermarkets to shop for monthly supplies for the household; or one of the guests for Szymone’s birthday celebration, which happened at our home.

We observe all the safety protocols – wearing face masks, social distancing (even during Szymone’s birthday party, the guests were far apart) and frequent washing of hands. There are bottles of alcohol in all corners of the living room, the kitchen and in every bedroom, including those for the household help and the one for the drivers and bodyguards in an adjunct building.

And yet, we were hit with the novel coronavirus. Why?

Again, some of the TMC doctors who took care of Josephine said people could only do so much to prevent contracting COVID-19.

But the best solution in combating the deadly virus is to have a full dose of the anti-COVID vaccine, the doctors said.

So, even if you get hit by the virus, your ailment will only be mild, according to the TMC doctors.

For the readers who haven’t been vaccinated, please get vaccinated immediately. It may save your life.

*      *      *

Here’s encouraging news about the COVID-19 Omicron variant that has panicked the whole world.

A South African doctor, one of those who discovered the Omicron variant, said symptoms of the dreaded variant were mild, and could be treated at home.

The Omicron variant started in South Africa.

A Reuters article published on Nov. 28 said that Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a private practitioner and chair of the South African Medical Association, noticed seven patients at her clinic who had symptoms different from the dominant Delta variant.

The Omicron variant has “very mild” symptoms, Coetzee said.

Omicron patients experienced “extreme fatigue” for two days with body aches and headaches. But they didn’t need to be hospitalized, Coetzee said.

The South African doctor told Reuters the Omicron patients she handled were treated “conservatively at home.”

“Symptoms at that stage were very much related to normal viral infection. And because we haven’t seen COVID-19 for the past eight to 10 weeks, we decided to test,” adding that the patient and his family turned out to be positive.

It seems that the symptoms experienced by Coetzee’s patients who had the COVID-19 Omicron variant are like those for the common flu.

I’m not a doctor, but whenever I had the flu in the past, I experienced the same symptoms as the Omicron variant patients.

If that’s the case, then COVID-19 may have lost its steam and might now be evolving to something like an ordinary flu.

So, there’s no basis for the world getting panicky over the Omicron variant.

COVID-19 TMC
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