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Filipina maid says positive thoughts helped her win over Covid-19

20 August 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Mae suffered painful blood-taking sessions during her fight against the deadly virus

A 32-year-old Filipina domestic helper who was stricken with novel coronavirus says she survived her 19-day ordeal by thinking positive.

Mae said in an online interview today, Aug 20, five days after her discharge from Tseung Kwan O Hospital, that she was confirmed as a Covid-19 patient on July 28. She was tested after developing a fever three days after her employers’ 10-year-old son was found infected.

On July 29, she was added to the Centre for Health Protection’s list of positive cases.
The next day, her male employer and his younger son, 6, also tested positive, leaving only her female employer infection-free.

Mae said that to this day, she and the employers are still clueless as to how they caught the virus. At the time, the couple and their kids had been staying put in their Lohas Park home for weeks.

He employers were both working, but at the time the woman had closed her music studio and stayed at home, while the man was holding his class online. She, too, had not taken her two weekly rest days in a row.

“Mahirap pong i-trace yung real source ng covid namin. Ang sabi po kasi nila (doctors) baka daw meron na kaming covid pero hindi lang lumabas agad ang symptoms,” Mae said. “Pero hindi po ako nag-off nang two weeks. Bale bahay at market lang po ako.”
Now still trying to regain her health, Mae said she helps with the chores such as wiping the table, while her employers do the all the other jobs including cleaning and cooking.

The maid, who taught English in a diocesan high school in La Union before coming to work in Hong Kong nine years ago, said her employers paid her salary in full during her confinement.
Inside the isolation ward at Tseung Kwan O hospital where Mae was moved when her condition improved
When she was released from hospital on Aug 15, Mae began writing about her ordeal on Facebook under an assumed name.

Mae’s coming down with Covid-19 came as the second of three blows to her family in recent months, she said.

She said her parents and other family members were still nursing her brother who figured in a motorcycle accident that left him still unable to walk and had metal plate braces implanted in his left shoulder and left leg when she contracted the virus.

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“Imagine how my parents felt. My dad cried, thinking they wouldn’t be able to see me if something bad happened to me. I’m far away from them and I haven’t seen them for years now. I know how hard it is for them. My brother is still recovering and me at the hospital,” she wrote in one of her posts.

The third blow came on the very day she left the hospital on Aug 15, when her maternal grandmother died that morning.

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“I just got discharged from the hospital, which is good, my parents are relieved, then this happened. I couldn’t bear to hear my mom crying. It was tough, it was probably one of the most difficult times of our lives,” Mae wrote.

“During those times iyak din po ako...pero saglit lang. Very positive po kasi talaga ako. I always look at the brighter side of things...para easier,” she said.
Mae filled her mind with happy thoughts during the 19 days that she was confined at TKO Hospital

Still single, Mae said that during her 19 days in hospital it was her positive thinking that kept her going despite the pain she suffered and later on, the boredom of confinement. She documented her whole experience in her FB posts.

On her first day, she said she was put in an isolation room with three chairs and a desk. There she learned how to attach her oxygen supply, take her own temperature, blood pressure, and record everything. Then she had to suffer painful blood sample-taking sessions.  And she had to pee in a powder-filled bin.

On July 30, she videoed herself singing a religious song “Power of Your Love”, a rendition that revealed her beautiful voice. 

There were nights of painful breathing. “I suddenly have a hard time breathing. My nose is clogged, my chest is painful when I cough that I have to call the nurse for assistance,” she wrote, praising the nurses for being really nice.

But she said the night of Day 3 was “the longest and (most) painful night” during her ordeal. “My fever was so high, my head was heavy, my chest and back were like pressing on each other and it’s like I was hallucinating. I had different dreams every time but I didn’t remember any when I woke up. I was groaning, tossing and turning in bed. It was hard. Very hard. But I got through it. Yeay!” she exclaimed.

She said she was put through a series of x-rays and other procedures, such as the “long bed with this circle instrument” on which she was laid, pushed in and drawn out. On the last round, she felt “something entered me like a wind that ran throughout my body. It’s cold and warm as it traveled.”

In the isolation room, she was with two older female patients who were eventually moved out. Then she, too, was moved to a ward with three to five patients in it.

Finally, after doses of medicine, including one that caused her a bad side-effect and had to be replaced, she was declared virus-free and discharged.   

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