Frontliner says surviving COVID-19 was a ‘humbling experience’

By: Raul Constantine L. Tabanao - CDN Digital | June 22,2020 - 03:29 PM

Mary Heather Abiabi during (left) and after (right) her isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 | Contributed photo


(Updated: June 24, 2020) MOALBOAL, CEBU — Mary Heather Abiabi was in home isolation in Minglanilla town when she found out that she was positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Mary, a nurse in a public hospital in Cebu City, found herself in great disbelief after she found out the sad news on June 9, 2020.

“I was extremely scared and hopeless as i know there has been no proven treatment against it. It’s either you survive, or [you] die,” she said. “I just broke down to tears alone.”

Uncertain about her health, she said she almost gave up.

But through prayers and her willingness to be healed for her family, Mary survived.

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

In an interview through Facebook messenger, Mary narrated her tough experience with the virus, which she considered as one of her life lessons.

For Mary, being a positive patient of COVID-19 was a “humbling experience.”

She suspected that she was infected with the virus while working at the hospital’s emergency department, where she was assigned in.

“Around April and May, several patients were rushed there due to difficulty in breathing. So, we immediately gave interventions like oxygen, without having to know if that patient is infected with coronavirus or not,” she said.

The 23-year-old Mary said she experienced the symptoms of the virus on June 4, 2020, five days before she knew about her swab test result.

Road to recovery

She was put in isolation at the Cebu City Quarantine Center the day she found out that she tested positive.

On June 11, 2020, her symptoms became worse. She said she experienced sore and itchy throat, dry cough, and chest tightness due to pneumonia.

According to Mary, seeking medical advice is a must, especially when showing early symptoms of the virus.

“In my case,  I was given antibiotics, Vitamin C with Zinc,  and muculytics by the doctors,  I have also tried ‘comfort measures’ such as steam inhalation or ‘toub’ to lessen the discomfort, and deep breathing exercise,” she said.

Drinking four liters of water daily was also great help for her recovery, according to Mary. But the biggest help, she said, were her prayers to God.

Mary said that she was thankful to her co-frontliners who were patiently taking care of her and other positive patients in the isolation center.

After weeks of battling the disease, she was considered COVID-19-free on June 19, 2020.

“Thankfully, the CCQC had consultant or doctors on duty to supply me with certain medications and equipment to ease my symptoms. And all of it were for free. Because it’s  from the government,” she said.

Mary shared her story in her Facebook timeline on June 20, 2020, hoping to inspire other patients.

“Life goes by faster than we think, start turning your thoughts towards appreciation, thanksgiving and showing love, because that is where you will find your greatest gifts in life, cherish the time with your loved ones,” she said. /bmjo

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