Chronicles of Covid: Finding Acceptance

By Gianina Maria Ciriaco | Posted on February 16, 2022

2022, yet another year in pandemic, didn’t start off quite well. A new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, made its presence. The country opened the new year with over 3000 new Covid-19 positive cases, totaling to over 2.9 million active cases. Per reports, that’s one of the highest number of new cases reported in a single day since October 2021.

As someone who needs to keep tabs on all these numbers for work, it fascinates me how these statistics control the way our country operates, how every livelihood adjusts to the growing or shrinking numbers. I am always hoping to wake up to a day where we are all slowly going back to how things were but bringing all the best practices we’re now used to during this time. 

The first of January felt like a plague. Almost everyone I know had fever, flu, colds, had a positive Covid-19 diagnosis and pharmacies are running out of medicine. After Christmas, I didn’t leave the house. I was preparing myself to go back to the office onsite, full time and knowing what’s happening around me, it would be best to stay indoors. Sometime around the 7th, I had fever, sore throat, laryngitis and flu. I had to cut my work hours to rest earlier than usual and cancel all my speaking duties. When my voice came back and thought I felt better even if I still had a little cough and cold, my boss requested that I take a Covid-19 test as a part of my medical clearance and secure a fit to work. I took the test on the 12th courtesy of Red Cross Angkas Home Service testing and got my test results via email and database on the 15th.

In between the test taking and result release, I would nervously refresh the Red Cross test result data base to check my diagnosis. I know in my heart, at that time, it was going to be negative. I just wanted the result so I can move on with work. I vividly remember that Saturday early morning notification from my phone. I was doing my usual exercise stretch when I opened my phone and felt my heart sank. I had to pause the lively music from my phone speakers to fully comprehend what was stated there and think what to do next. The thing is, I can’t think straight. Too many questions running on my mind while I try to recall if I had plans for the rest of the month and counting down how many days I have to stay isolated. It sounds exhausting but that’s just me not coming to terms, not wanting to accept the reality that I am part of the statistics I keep tabs about.

Me, taking a happy selfie in isolation during the online District 3810 Mid Year Review

I didn’t continue my exercise routine that day because of the emotional burden it brought me. I sent a screenshot to our family group chat, sent my medical leave notice and memo at work then took a long, hot bath. I was devastated to the say the least. I kept asking the same questions over and over again, trying to figure out where, how, who I got it from, why it had to be me. I am already tired thinking about the amount of medication (and the diligence to do it!) I have to take and the amount of caution I have to have around the house so the rest won’t have it. As I started to strategize my Covid-19 game plan, I was thankful my family tested negative and that it won’t be hard to manage since I’m the only one with it. Messages of support from my bosses and co-workers, collaborators and closest friends started to pour, each and every one of them rooting for me to recover and stay strong. I didn’t disclose it to many people because I don’t want them to worry too much and a positive result isn’t exactly something I would want in my social media timeline forever. I know I’ll be fine, I would need to get this over with and comply so others won’t end up like me.

My first agenda is to connect with my doctor. He prescribed a cocktail of medication I had to take several times a day. I had to adjust my work to just 2-4 hours, sleeping earlier than usual. I also took time to unwind and clear my head by watching videos online. There’s not much to do inside the room but I was content catching up on sleep, learning how to do short funny videos and keeping myself happy through these little things. Once in a while, either before I sleep or whenever I’d take a bath, I’d still ask all the questions in my head and be frustrated at the lack of conclusion I’d make. It feels like solving a puzzle where there are always missing pieces or none of the pieces fit together. I’d acknowledge the fact that it’s there, it’s happening and I’m working my way around it but I lack acceptance. I would feel that getting the questions answered would make me accept my circumstances.

In between laughing, sobbing, monitoring and managing my allergies, cough and colds in isolation, I also had some moments of zeal and success. For Rotaract, our team and my home club was able to host and help our Life Changing Presidents complete their Mid -Year Review. It made me truly happy to be there and to listen to the accomplishments each club made for the first half of the year. The company I’m working for received the Top Employer Certification and Award for the 2nd year in a row. I’m thankful for technology so I wouldn’t miss out on these events and to safely celebrate without risking the health of others. There is connection in isolation and that thought alone helped me cope with everything. Did it help me accept my circumstances? Maybe. It was at this point when I figured, my initial questions don’t really need to have an answer and I just have to focus on the things I can do at this given moment.

Perhaps, that’s really my biggest takeaway from this ordeal- to just live my best life by focusing on what can be done and by doing things that make you happy at the moment than dwell on the limitations and the things you can’t find an explanation for. To be able to experience satisfaction and joy even at my most challenging and vulnerable times helped me gain inner peace. The fact that I could say “I was there”, “I did that”, “I helped there” made me lose a lot of my personal resentment and shame towards being a statistic because I didn’t let Covid stop me from doing what I want. Knowing I have a strong support system through family and friends helped me realize they’re all rooting for me no matter how hard I can be on myself.

Colorful cocktail of healing

After 14 days, I was finally negative. During my last teleconsultation with the doctor, I was smiling more than usual. Aside from knowing isolation is over and I can resume my daily routine, it’s just me, slowly accepting what happened and discovering how it changed my life. Why is such a hard question to answer and I think that’s exactly why people have conflict with themselves. After everything, I still found myself asking questions. However, I could confidently answer them this time and highlighted what’s important. Instead of starting with why, I asked myself, what are things I’ve done during isolation that helped me get through Covid-19? What were the new things I learned about myself? What did this teach me? How could I use this experience to help others? Sometimes, it’s just a simple shift in perspective that gives us clarity and brings out the real meaning of life.

There’s no ultimate resolution to Covid yet and I’d like to believe every patient has their inner conflict dealing with this illness. Some may deal with it better than most and some may take time accepting it. I may be recovered physically but I’m still at driving that road to acceptance, making peace with the struggle, with the limitations, celebrating the wins I had along the way and looking forward to the rest of what I can do with life. My only hope is that we learn to treasure life and even when it is at its most difficult, we do something good with it.

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