Updated: November 21, 2021 04:57 AM GMT
A suspected Covid-19 patient rests in a parking lot turned into a coronavirus ward outside a hospital in Binan town in Laguna province south of Manila, Philippines, on Sept. 6. (Photo: Maria Tan/AFP)
A seemingly indefinite plague, the pandemic speaks volumes about the excruciating pain of millions of deaths worldwide; the innumerable infections, the continuing nightmare.
In these indefinite days of suffering, beautiful reflections are heartwarming. This plague is bringing humanity together as a family. Families are praying together. Spiritual and online communications are building bridges. We cherish the graces we took for granted prior to the pandemic. Who would have predicted a global calamity?
Let me share my excruciating ordeal of having been infected by the coronavirus. In my case, it was critical. I was confined at the Lung Center of the Philippines under the care of Dr. Sergio Andres, a pulmonologist. He is a long-time friend, a human rights advocate and my doctor during my past lung illnesses.
Other attending physicians came to my room daily. Nurses and nurse aids while taking care of other suffering patients provided care and love, sacrificing their time with families to save lives.
The swab test results of my family were all positive. Luckily, my son was asymptomatic and swabbed negative.
Dr. Abrazado, one of my attending physicians, said that Covid-19 was affecting me to the highest degree and with a possibility of intubation. With strong faith in God, I was determined to never reach such a horrifying stage.
Breathing was impossible. At home I was dependent on oxygen. It worsened in the hospital. My incessant coughing was disturbing
The day prior to my symptoms, I received the sad news that my boss, Atty. Chito Gascon, the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, had succumbed to coronavirus. Poignant. I convinced myself that we would continue his legacy.
I pay tribute to this great man whose human rights defense had earned us a huge national and international impact. No time to grieve. I consoled myself with the belief that he is savoring the tight embrace of the Lord. He is praying for us who are left behind.
Nine days after home treatment, I was confined on Oct. 14. The journey to the hospital was horrible.
The stay in the emergency room waiting for my room took ages. Paper requirements were completed late. Our son, Bryan, was with me in the emergency room. He was not permitted entry to my room. He might have caught a stronger variant of the virus while waiting at the hospital.
Breathing was impossible. At home I was dependent on oxygen. It worsened in the hospital. My incessant coughing was disturbing. My feverish body caused uneasiness. Frequent urination was a discomfort. My dry mouth and lips hurt. The absence of senses of smell and taste meant it took me more than four hours to finish eating a meal. Endless waiting for a change of diapers seemed forever. There were dark nights of sleeplessness.
Inside the room was another suffering patient. It was too upsetting to see and listen to her. I was transferred to another room. A patient in her eighties was yelling. I prayed and continue to pray for her.
For seven days, I was not provided with a caregiver because I entered with moderate Covid-19. Only patients in the critical stage were entitled to caregivers. It did not take long for me to reach a critical stage.
I was finally given the full-time love and competent support of a caregiver. Jeisiline (Jo) Adante warmly arrived at the hospital seven days after I was confirmed Covid-19 critical. A single mother of three, my heaven-sent caregiver is such a blessing. With love, she is unconditionally caring for me on a full-time basis.
Constant monitoring of oxygen levels and other vital signs facilitated my recovery until I was moved to an isolation room
After 21 long days of hospitalization in the Lung Center of the Philippines, my lungs were cleared after a series of X-rays. Six repetitions of hemoperfusion largely cleaned my blood of heart and liver complications. The high doses of antibiotics proved effective. Constant monitoring of oxygen levels and other vital signs facilitated my recovery until I was moved to an isolation room. There, I was already breathing on my own.
The most awaited day came. My doctor ordered my discharge on Nov. 4. We settled the bills. Thanks to the overwhelming support of colleagues in the House of Representatives, to my insurance and to my heaven-sent angels from across the globe, whose prayers and material support are life-giving — a source of profound gratitude that will be eternally remembered.
Our son, Bryan, is our most treasured jewel. He is doing all the work. He takes care of the household chores, coordinates with our doctor and nurses, aides, caregivers, orders prescribed medicines and organic food, pays bills and takes good care of his parents.
Indefatigable, he is working and praying hard. He is not forgetting to get enough yet intermittent sleep to replenish depleted energy. He needed to be swabbed thrice a month to ensure he was not walking around outside with the virus.
During those dark nights and bitter days of sufferings, God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, all saints and martyrs, and angels in heaven, my father and all dearly departed souls were always in my heart. I prayed unceasingly. Music to God’s ears, my prayers are being answered.
Online Masses were offered for me by bishops, priests, sisters, lay workers, Protestant pastors. I remember in 2004 when I visited the Vatican. I did not see St. John Paul ll, but I prayed for his blessings.
My sister in faith and struggle, Edita Burgos, sent me a relic of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, patron saint of the Lung Center of the Philippines. Father Placido de Jose, the hospital chaplain, brought it to me. A deep experience of faith and healing, Father Placido twice performed the Anointing of the Sick. He put the holy oil on my forehead and hands.
Long is the road to complete recovery. With God in our hearts and with human-sent angels, we shall overcome
I shed tears of joy with such a deep experience of faith, forgiveness and the Divine Doctor’s guaranteed healing.
I am also confident that St. Therese of the Child Jesus is praying for me, picking up a rose from the Heavenly Gardens and bringing it to me to smell for the miraculous realization of my intentions. Inspiring me to participate in the attainment of a New Heaven and a New Earth, she spent her Heavens doing good on Earth.
Savoring the love and prayers, I vowed to myself, to humanity and to God that I will never stop my human rights advocacy — my passion for the cause of victims of enforced disappearances and other forms of human rights violations. They are my contribution to the realization of A New Heaven and a New Earth.
Dr. Andres informed me that due to complications and comorbidities, it is taking longer to fully recuperate. My husband’s situation is bad. Incessant coughing is depriving him of sleep.
Long is the road to complete recovery. With God in our hearts and with human-sent angels, we shall overcome.
No end in sight, this pandemic devastates humanity. Let us look beyond the devastation. God’s infinite love brings us together in prayer. Amidst torment that is seemingly beyond bearing, we should strengthen our faith and spirituality. Overcome pain. Fight the deadly virus. Savor genuine forgiveness.
Let us love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength.
This pandemic is indefinite. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemani, “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 32: 29-46). This prayer dwells in my heart. Yes, the Father’s will shall be done. In God’s time, this malady shall come to an end. God is Love. Amen.
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