Cebuano COVID-19 survivor in Canada: ‘Believe in the power of prayers’

By: Raul Constantine L. Tabanao - CDN Digital | June 18,2020 - 08:30 AM

Francisco (left most) with (from left) his wife Mary Jane, daughters Mac, Nikki, and Val, and son-in-law John. Except for Val and John, the family was infected with the COVID-19 in Canada but survived, thanks to an exemplary health care system in Canada and a lot of prayers. | Contributed photo

MOALBOAL, CEBU — It was in May 2020 when Francisco Judilla, a Cebuano now based in Calgary, Canada, faced one of the biggest challenges in his life: Being infected by the deadly coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

To make matters worse, it wasn’t just the 56-year-old native of Mandaue City, Cebu, who had the virus. All but one member of his entire family also got infected.

But Judilla and his family survived the deadly disease on foreign soil, thanks to an impeccable health care system in Canada, and a lot of prayers.

“Believe in the power of prayers,” said Judilla, who migrated to Canada with his family in July 2006, via e-mail with this writer.

Judilla shared with CDN Digital how he got infected with the virus.

Judilla, a father of three children–all born in Cebu City, said that he was in isolation at his home after his wife Mary Jane, a registered nurse in a long-term care facility, tested positive for COVID-19.

“[My] wife is a registered nurse in a long-term care facility. [My] wife was infected with COVID-19 and infected everyone in my household,” he said.

Shortly after, he and his two daughters, Mac and Nikki, also tested positive. Luckily, his other daughter, Val, was not infected by the virus since she didn’t live in the same house with the rest of the family. But she still played a key role as she run errands for the family while they were all under isolation.

All who were infected were symptomatic.

What’s it feels like

Judilla said that he was “worried about his family” when he first found out that he was also positive for COVID-19.

But among the four who were infected, it was him who got hit the hardest.

Because of this, he was the only one admitted in a hospital, where he stayed at for eight days. His wife and two daughters remained under home isolation.

So how did it feel like being a symptomatic COVID-19 patient?

Judilla told CDN Digital that he had terrible headaches in all eight days, he lost his sense of smell and taste for nine days, lost his appetite, felt intense body pain, and for 12 days he experienced dry cough.

In the hospital, he said he was monitored regularly and given supplemental oxygen to help him with his breathing. This was the first time in his life he was admitted to a hospital.

“Dad did not have any underlying health concerns prior to the virus. Some people think it’s only hard on those who do, but he was healthy,” said the eldest daughter, Mac.

Exemplary hospital care

Despite the challenges, Francisco remained firm and positive that his family “would weather the storm.”

Judilla was released from isolation on June 6, 2020. Before his release, his daughter Mac was first cleared from the virus on May 24, 2020, followed by his wife, Mary Jane.

His youngest child, Nikki, was also considered COVID-19-free on June 6, 2020, the same day of his release.

He said the hospital care and services of the Canadian government helped a lot.

“Canada’s public health system was always keeping in touch with me regularly and my family’s recovery and hospitalization expenses were all shouldered by the Canadian government,” he said.

But praying, staying optimistic, and keeping their guards up were also keys to surviving the virus.

“[Practice] social distancing, wear your mask when there are people around [you], wash your hands as often as you can, use hand sanitizers when washing is not possible, self-isolate at the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms, [and] believe in the power of prayers,” he said. /bmjo

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TAGS: Cebuano in Canada, COVID survivor, Francisco Judilla, OFW

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