Symptoms aside, dealing with anxiety the hardest part of being Covid-positive


On days when Lee felt really ill, he worried that no one would know should his condition turn dire. Photo: Pixabay

When 27-year-old Benjamin Lee (not his real name) discovered that he was Covid positive, millions of thoughts raced through his head – ranging from valid concerns to positively irrational anxieties.

“When I got my test results from a routine office screening (staff in my office are required to go for screening periodically), I was horrified to discover that I was Covid-positive!” says Lee who works in the retail industry.

One of Lee’s concerns was that he lives alone. His parents and only sibling live in Raub, Pahang.

“On a bad day, when I felt so sick, thoughts that I would die alone in my apartment and nobody would be there to help would cross my mind,” he reveals.

“Of course, that’s all in the mind, ” he adds. “The doctor, apartment management, and even my neighbours, despite their fear, have all been very helpful.”

He has been home-quarantined for 10 days under the government’s new guidelines for Level One and Two Covid-19 patients, to ease the burden on hospitals servicing Covid-19 patients since he has only “mild” symptoms.

Lee suffered from fever, headache, sore throat and a persistent cough. He also lost his voice and couldn’t speak, and had diarrhea. He took medication for flu, fever, headache and diarrhea, as well as drank a lot of fluids.

“When I received my test results, I immediately informed the apartment management who put up a notice at the building and arranged for disinfection/sanitisation of all the common areas.”

“I was worried that my neighbours would be upset and hate or ostracise me for obvious reasons. But to my surprise, they were all very concerned despite being very afraid,” he says.

Lee found that his fears of going hungry were unfounded.

“I usually order food delivery which has to be collected from the lobby downstairs. Obviously, that wasn’t possible during the quarantine,” says Lee, who is single.

But on the first day of the quarantine, the apartment management arranged for a bag of groceries to be placed outside his door.

Subsequently, whenever he wanted to order food delivery, he would just message the management office and they would also arrange for someone to collect it from the delivery rider at the lobby and place it outside his door.

Whenever Lee opened his door, he would always wear his mask and sanitise anything he touched.

“One of my neighbours also placed containers of homemade soup or herbal drinks like barley, outside my door almost every day,” he says.

His workplace was closed for sanitisation but reopened after several days.

For Lee, finding things to do while being stuck at home for 10 days wasn’t so difficult.

“I’m kind of a nerd and spend most of my time online, so when I started to feel better, I spent the time at home watching anime and regular movies, and playing online games.

“My colleagues and friends, who knew I was down with Covid-19, also kept in touch with me on WhatsApp and Telegram to make sure I was ‘still alive’,” he says with a laugh.

But Lee admits that he hesitated to tell his parents and family members for fear that they would worry.

“I only told them towards the end of my quarantine when I felt better because I didn’t want them to worry,” he says.

Today, Lee has fulfilled his quarantine period and is free from any symptoms. He is just waiting for the clearance letter from the Ministry of Health to enable him to go out and return to work.

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