More than the physical pain and discomfort, it was anxiety that brought a Boholano town councilor to his knees during his harrowing battle against COVID-19.
“Mura’g ari ka patyon sa imong anxiety, ang imong huna-huna na mura’g wa na kay lain masampit,” said Tubigon Councilor Ernest Mascariñas, 39.
The first-term municipal lawmaker was confined for eight days at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) in Tagbilaran City in late April after being diagnosed with pneumonia and testing positive for COVID-19.
His wife and only child were also infected but were asymptomatic.
Mascariñas said that while in isolation he experienced difficulty in breathing but his thoughts were what bothered him the most.
He shared that he was overwhelmed with thoughts of death and fear of the possibility of having passed on the virus to his elderly parents who have comorbidities.
His fear was also compounded with the anxiety over leaving behind his family including his senior citizen parents who depend on him financially.
“Porbida, kabata sa akong anak. Akong mga ginikanan usa ko sa gisaligan sa financial sa ilang pagpatambal, lisod g’yud. Mao nakaingon g’yud ko sa Ginoo na kung makahanyo ko niya na kung mahimo, dili sa g’yud unta,” he said.
Mascariñas has diabetes and hypertension, which are known to complicate the body’s ability to fight the dreaded virus.
Both his parents have kidney failure while his father in particular also has diabetes.
“Grabe ang akong huna-huna na what if akong mga ginikanan inig swab ma positive, what if mamatay akong ginikanan na akoy hinungdan sa virus,” said Mascariñas.
“Pero kalooy sa Ginoo they both tested negative,” he added.
Mascariñas said that while being treated at the GCGMH he had trouble with eating as he lost his senses of taste and smell.
He also experienced gastrointestinal issues including nausea and vomiting due to the medications he was taking, making it more difficult to get nutrition from food.
“Akong pagkaon, piyong lang…Di man pud mahimo na di ko mokaon kay buntag 10 ka tambal akong imnon, sa paniudto tulo, sa panihapon pito, so sige lang ko og digwa, sige lang ko og suka bisag wa koy ikasuka tungod sa kaluod sa akong tiyan tungod sa akong mga tambal na gitake,” he said.
On May 1, he was discharged from the hospital after testing negative for COVID-19 and was transferred to an isolation facility in Tubigon.
According to Mascarñas, it was his family’s support that helped him get through the ordeal.
He frequently spoke with his wife and father who encouraged him that he would be able to fight off the virus.
“Akong amahan maoy kanunay nag encourage nako na ‘dong nahimo gani nako ankong sitywasyon na akong na feel, na ikaw pa kaha na medyo bata pa ka.’ Kay siya naputlan na pud og kumagko sa tiil,” he said.
While still in isolation, the COVID-19 survivor is now calling on the public to continue observing basic health protocols such as practicing social distancing and wearing face masks and shields.
Amid growing doubts on COVID-19 particularly on its severity, he reminded others that being infected with the virus was a long and agonizing ordeal, physically and mentally.
He said that while others might think that they are strong enough to overcome COVID-19, there is still a chance that they may pass on the virus to someone who is more prone to severe symptoms of the disease which may lead to death.
“Kung mo ingon ang uban na mortality rate sa COVID perting gamaya, ang akong ikasulti lang pud nila siguro kita lig-on ang immune system maka survive ta sa COVID. Pero uyon ba ta na sa atong pagkompyansa tungod kay lig-on ta, what if kita asymptomatic, nig-uli nato sa atong panimalay mapasa nato sa atong mga ginikanan na dunay sakit, mapasa sa atong mga lolo ug lola na maoy vulnerable sa COVID or sa atong mga igsuon ba ron na duna nay mga maintenance na tambal,” Mascariñas said.
“Sa gamayng porsyento sa mortality rate na namatay sa COVID, uyon ba ta na ma apil ang atong pamilya,” he added.