My mom was diagnosed with a severe COVID-19 case. She started to show symptoms on April 4, yet she dismissed it as a common cold and self-medicated until she complained about a sore throat a few days later. She started losing her appetite due to stomach aches, felt weak, and had a fever at midnight on April 8.

I immediately called our local CESU to request a swab test and had everyone isolated. Dad insisted on assisting my mom. We agreed, as long as he wears a PPE and that he shortens his stay inside their room. Mom had her RT-PCR test two days later, and we had a telemed consultation.

CESU staff administering RT-PCR Test
Mom’s RT-PCR test

The doctor started treating her already as a COVID patient and told us to keep an oximeter and an oxygen tank on standby. She seemed to improve for a couple of days until we woke up to a loud knocking at our door on April 13 at 2:00 am. Mom’s oxygen plunged to 82, and she was groaning of the pain in her back.

Using oximeter to measure oxygen saturation
Mom’s oxygen only hits the normal range when supported

I followed up on her results right then. One hour later, we received a call from a CESU doctor saying that she indeed was positive.

Mom’s RT-PCR result

I didn’t know what to do. There’s a shortage of hospital beds; we don’t have a car to bring her ourselves, and Grab will definitely reject us (not to mention, it won’t be fair for them). I had nowhere to turn, but I breathed a prayer saying, “Ang importante dito, Lord, kasama Ka namin.” (The important thing here, Lord, is that You are with us.)

CESU waitlisted her already for a hospital in Tala, Caloocan, where they can only accommodate patients after a week. But CESU told us to start looking for hospitals as well.

Miraculously, there was room for her at The Philippine General Hospital. Apparently, patients who are already having trouble breathing don’t need to wait in line. The PGH doctors have been waiting for her since 7:00 am. The only problem was that there was no ambulance to service my mother due to the number of cases. That day, we can literally hear sirens every five minutes.

Valenzuela City Ambulance fleet
Photo from Valenzuela Alert Center

When the ambulance finally arrived, I saw how she shook of fear because she had to go alone. The rest of us are locked down. We assured her that it’s better for her to stay in the hospital because the doctors would know what to do. After all, we can only do so much here, at home.

Barangay tent in the Philippines for locked down addresses.
The barangay tent posted outside our house.

They ran lab tests on her and confirmed that she already developed pneumonia. Her other vitals were also elevated as an impact of COVID. (She was neither hypertensive nor diabetic before.)

Insulin on the dextrose
The doctors needed to manage her raised sugar level and others before they can introduce antibiotics.

It was a relief that she was better cared for, but sleep eluded us. I guess we had gotten used to waking up at 2:00 am when the attacks were the worst. Plus, next on our list of concerns were the bills to pay.

As you may know, hospitalization fees for COVID can go sky-high, so we started raising funds. The outpouring of support shocked us. Many people have offered help and services, from securing groceries to filing documents, and we were able to raise a sizable amount for mom’s hospital bills in just three days.

We were surprised to receive money from people we don’t even know. One time, I teared up from a GCash notification that said somebody gave us PhP 50.00. To us, it was all a form of generosity. Aside from that, there were too many anonymous donations.

GCash notification
We deeply, truly, appreciate any amount we received.

Throughout our ordeal, all I could think about was the character of God: how He introduced Himself to His people in the Bible. And it goes like this:

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in loyal love and faithfulness.

Exodus 34:6
Savoring God for who He says He is.

We have discussed it in our small group a month before, and the part on His compassion struck me the most. In the Bible, He said,

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Isaiah 45:15
Ladies small group
Sharing life together

And that has been the theme of my prayer since: “In your compassion, Lord, heal my mom. In Your compassion, Lord, protect us. In your compassion, Lord, don’t allow any of us to get sick.”

I can honestly say that He heard our prayers. We didn’t expect mom to recover too soon. In a way, my sister and I were confused about how to feel because it doesn’t seem to make sense. But we remembered that we asked for a miracle (when we thought she wouldn’t make it), and this whole experience was nothing short of that.

Patient recovered from COVID-19
Mom is home.

For the record, we still isolated mom for 14 days after getting discharged for everyone’s safety while the doctors continually monitor her blood pressure and blood sugar online.

Finance-wise, we didn’t need to shell out anything out of our own pockets. We’re confident to say that this is because God is who He says He is. In one of our prayer times, I shared that the anxiety and fear are very real, but our pastor reminded us that while that may be true, the Lord is infinitely more real.

Praising God, and thanking everyone.

On behalf of our family, we praise the Lord for everyone who extended generosity in prayer, encouragement, support, and financial aid. May the Lord bless you a hundredfold!

We hope this blog brings encouragement to people who are undergoing difficult times. We have also posted our best practices during the ordeal, if anyone is looking for ways to deal with COVID-19 at bit.ly/covidexperience.

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