With the onslaught of the current pandemic, watching the news unfold around the world has seemed a bit like watching the latest, big-budget disaster movie. Sometimes it’s not until the virus strikes down someone we know that it becomes truly real.
WELL, Magazine has received this anonymous submission from a Hong Kong reader. It makes for sobering reading and emphasizes how indiscriminate Covid-19 is. We hope that all our readers are staying safe and actioning all the current public health advice.
Isolated in a curtained hospital room of six people, a plastic bag is the only available toilet. Showers are restricted to certain times – and on intermittent days.
Not allowed to touch or pass things to the patients in order to maximise their own safety, nurses throw items into the room to avoid entering unless absolutely necessary. Patients are phoned with updates about their test results.
Human contact is confined to painful tests.
Fevers are rife; medication side effects can be severe.
The body struggles to survive the viral onslaught.
Pain and discomfort are daily experiences.
Time drags. The days feel like weeks.
14 days must be endured before patients are tested for signs of full recovery.
Until then it’s fever, loneliness, fear, and prayers.
My friend had the health of a clean-eating marathon runner; no smoking, no history of lung disease.
When I received the news they were ill enough to check into a hospital, I felt physically sick.
When test results confirmed Covid-19, I tried not to think of the worst.
My friend – an OCD, hand-washing-obsessed, mask-wearing hygiene fanatic – caught the virus.
I spent the first days praying my friend’s fever would pass; their lungs stay clear; that my friend would suffer as little as possible and they would not become a loved one to mourn.
We are all undeniably mortal. But Covid-19 in its severe form is a horrible, lonely way to suffer (or worse). Moreover, illness is preventable. We can stop the virus from spreading.
Hong Kong is rallying; we are staying indoors. We socially distance as much as possible.
Yet HK studies project 14 deaths in every 1,000 cases of Covid-19.[i]
Each one of those 14 people alone, away from their loved ones. No visitors allowed. Minimal human contact.
This could be me, this could be you. This could be our family; our parents, our children.
This is my best friend.
Please keep yours safe.
HK Government COVID-19 Updates: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/index.html
Research Covid-19 death rates : https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3074015/university-hong-kong-researchers-put-covid-19
My best friend has just been released from hospital.
Their recovery took one month of struggling isolation in a curtained room of six people.
They are aged in their twenties.
A month of daily fear, frustration, fevers, depression, loneliness and exhausting medication side effects.
The hospital offers discharged patients psychiatric counselling to support side effects of the isolation.
She has survived.
I pray for everyone around the world who is still fighting.
Please stay vigilant everyone, let’s conquer this!
This was an anonymous submission to WELL, Magazine Asia.
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