JAKARTA: It was like my coronary heart leapt out of my chest and dropped to the ground.
“Madam, you might have examined constructive (for COVID-19),” a physician in full private protecting gear instructed my spouse as she lay on the examination desk. My spouse was too unwell to reply or show any emotion.
She had been feverish for the final two days. She additionally had dangerous physique ache and a sore throat. Her lips have been so dry that they have been peeling.
She really felt higher that morning, solely to worsen because the day progressed. I had suspected that she had contracted dengue fever or typhoid.
Now we have been adhering intently to the well being protocols – a minimum of we predict we had – so we didn’t suspect that we’d have contracted the coronavirus.
“Ought to I be examined as properly?” I requested the physician.
“After all,” she replied.
The realisation that my spouse and doubtlessly I had COVID-19 numbed my senses. I nearly didn’t really feel a factor when the physician took samples from the again of my nostril.
I watched anxiously because the chemical compounds contained in the speedy antigen take a look at cartridge reacted to the lately taken samples. Inside minutes, two purple strains have been seen, confirming what the physician had suspected. I had additionally examined constructive for COVID-19.
Because the physician prescribed some medicines and dietary supplements for us, many ideas raced inside my head.
“That is the worst potential time to have COVID-19,” I believed to myself. Throughout Indonesia, the variety of new day by day instances have been rising steadily after individuals have been believed to have ignored Idul Fitri journey curbs and stories of the Delta variant being detected in Indonesia.
On Jun 24 once we each examined constructive, Indonesia recorded 20,574 confirmed instances inside a 24-hour interval, round double the day by day an infection fee the week earlier than. This week, the day by day caseload surged above 35,000.
The variety of instances grew so drastically that throughout Jakarta, the place I dwell, hospitals have been struggling to deal with the inflow of sufferers.
Three days earlier than we examined constructive, the Jakarta well being company introduced that town’s 9,000 COVID-19 isolation beds have been 90 per cent occupied. It suggested sufferers with delicate signs to self-isolate as a substitute of checking themselves in to hospitals.
In consequence, small clinics just like the one the place we took our checks have been crammed with sufferers who had COVID-19 signs.
Dozens of individuals have been queueing to get examined and judging from the expressions of disbelief after they emerged from the testing sales space, it could seem that they too had examined constructive.
The physician mentioned our signs have been thought-about delicate, regardless of the excessive fever my spouse was experiencing. We have been instructed to self-isolate. If we had difficulties respiratory, the doctor mentioned that we’d be referred to the hospital.
After we obtained residence, I started to expertise signs. I felt light-headed and heat.
I had bother sleeping, not due to what the virus was doing to my physique however to my thoughts.
“What if our situation deteriorate?” I believed. “Will I be capable to discover the assistance and care that we want?”
PEOPLE I KNOW WERE GETTING INFECTED
Though I didn’t really feel as severely unwell as in comparison with my spouse, I used to be feverish and coughing often for the subsequent few days.
After 4 days, I realised that I had misplaced my sense of scent. I had bother figuring out if the meals had gone dangerous.
Being usually fitter than my higher half, I took on the duty of doing the family chores, which my spouse later mentioned I used to be not superb at.
I additionally ready meals and sizzling water for my bed-ridden partner, who was asleep more often than not.
The explanation why my signs have been milder than hers may very well be as a consequence of the truth that I had been totally vaccinated. As a journalist, I used to be given precedence within the nationwide vaccination programme. I acquired Sinovac, which kinds the majority of the vaccines within the mass inoculation effort.
Indonesia had simply begun rolling out vaccines for non-priority teams weeks earlier than we contracted COVID-19. My spouse, who has allergy points, was not cleared by her allergy physician to be inoculated.
Apart from my lack of scent, I used to be nearly symptom free by day 5. My spouse, however, was not enhancing regardless of visiting two totally different clinics for second and third consultations.
In the meantime, the general pandemic scenario was worsening.
After we have been recognized, the caseload elevated steadily. I watched how the nation went from having 20,574 day by day instances on Jun 24 to 38,391 on Jul 8.
Within the span of two weeks, greater than 300,000 individuals had been contaminated whereas greater than 7,000 individuals had died.
Amongst those that had examined constructive for COVID-19 have been my private mates and households. In my neighbourhood alone, 12 individuals contracted the coronavirus together with one who had issue respiratory and needed to be rushed to the hospital.
I attempted to remain constructive. However on a regular basis, I might learn information of how hospitals have been so full that well being staff needed to deal with sufferers inside tents erected on the hospital’s carparks.
From my residence, I might hear the blaring sounds of ambulances passing by way of each different hour alongside a serious road lower than a kilometre away. A close-by mosque introduced the demise of various native residents nearly each evening.
In the meantime, cemeteries – even newly established ones – have been reportedly operating out of house.
HOSPITAL BED SCARCITY
Once I checked social media, I might instantly be drawn to accounts of how individuals had both contracted the coronavirus or misplaced considered one of their family members to COVID-19.
“My mother-in-law handed away as a result of we couldn’t discover a hospital keen to deal with her,” mentioned one pal on his Fb web page. “We had reached out to fifteen totally different hospitals.”
One other pal instructed me that his mom, whose oxygen saturation stage was approach under regular and had issue respiratory, needed to be handled for 4 days on the emergency room as a result of the hospital’s intensive care unit was full. She by no means acquired the medical consideration that she wanted and eventually succumbed to her sickness.
My social media feed additionally had many posts of individuals looking for data on hospital mattress availability and the place to acquire oxygen tanks.
Finally, it was my time to hunt details about hospital availability.
On day eight, my spouse had developed one other symptom: extreme nausea. She wouldn’t eat something however two spoons of oatmeal and some drops of honey that day. She refused to take any medicine as a result of it made her vomit.
She was satisfied that she wouldn’t get higher except she was hospitalised.
That evening, I started searching the web for hospital mattress availability. I attempted calling 5 totally different hospitals however nobody answered. I additionally tried reaching out to each physician pal I knew to see if the hospitals they’re working for had any mattress vacancies.
“Even well being staff are struggling to search out beds for his or her households,” one physician pal instructed me.
I additionally tried to search out medical doctors who would do home visits for COVID-19 sufferers so my spouse would have her medicine and vitamin equipped by way of intravenous remedy. The home go to medical doctors have been so busy that they may solely go to three days later.
A pal learnt that there have been nonetheless a number of beds accessible at a hospital round 20km away from my home. Nonetheless, the beds have been in such excessive demand that the one technique to get one was to go to the hospital so medical doctors there can decide whether or not my spouse would have to be warded.
We determined to strive our luck the next morning.
Once we obtained to the hospital, there was already a protracted line of COVID-19 sufferers ready to be examined. I left my spouse within the automotive whereas I joined the queue. She was not alone. On the automotive park, there have been many extra sick individuals who waited of their respective automobiles.
There have been about 20 individuals forward of me. A nurse instructed me that I’d must queue up for 3 to 4 hours.
Contained in the automotive, my spouse was getting stressed. It was searing sizzling and she or he was perspiring. Turning on the air conditioner would make her shiver. After an hour, she threw up once more. “Let’s simply go residence,” she instructed me.
I’m nonetheless unsure what occurred. However she obtained higher that night and her situation has been enhancing steadily.
BETTER BUT NOT THE SAME
Whereas scripting this, I can say that the worst days are behind us. I’ve since examined detrimental for COVID-19 and my spouse, who continues to be experiencing some very delicate signs, seems to be on the mend.
We felt fortunate that neither of us had pre-existing medical circumstances. Our signs have been thought-about delicate and never life threatening.
We have been additionally lucky that we dwell in an period the place meals, medicines and groceries are only a few clicks away.
My spouse and I are perpetually grateful to have mates and neighbours who would commonly ship meals, dietary supplements and natural medicines. We even had mates who volunteered to assist if we wanted to purchase issues that we couldn’t order on-line.
We could now really feel higher however the physique one way or the other feels totally different. I’m extra simply fatigued. My breath feels a bit laboured and I discover myself struggling to say lengthy sentences or hit the excessive notes once I sing and play the guitar.
Maybe these will go away. However I’ve to be ready for the likelihood that we is perhaps experiencing the so-called “lengthy COVID syndrome”, the place some signs would possibly linger for weeks or months after the an infection is gone.
COVID-19 has additionally modified us mentally. We really feel like we’ve to be much more cautious. No extra eating out. By no means reply the door with no masks on. All the time put on two masks when venturing out of the home and carry hand sanitisers and disinfectant sprays round.
I can’t afford to have my spouse or myself contaminated for the second time, as a result of who’s to say that we’ll be as fortunate once more.