Brush with Covid-19 a chance to reflect, also a wake-up call


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  • Thursday, 03 Mar 2022

DESPITE being unnecessarily paranoid about constantly sanitising my hands and avoiding social events over the past two years, I finally caught Covid-19.

Now that we are almost in the endemic phase of Covid-19, I've always thought the symptoms of Covid-19 wouldn't be too serious, as figures have consistently shown that 99.5% of infections consist of those who are asymptomatic.

Fortunately, I did not endure any serious symptoms and I mostly had a runny nose and fatigue, similar to a common flu.

It all started on Sunday (Feb 28) night, when all of a sudden, I started feeling aches in my joints, a "hot-and-cold" feeling, a horrible fever and a nasty sore throat.

At first, I thought I must have gotten the fever and sore throat after weeks of heavy drinking and smoking that persisted till the end of February since the eve of Chinese New Year on Jan 31.

It was a familiar feeling as I've often gotten sick after enduring a month-long bender.

However, when a local reporter tested positive after attending the same event as I did on Saturday (Feb 27), I decided to test myself on Sunday using a self-test kit provided by the office.

After seeing a second faint line appearing on my saliva test kit, I freaked out and immediately messaged my editors and colleagues.

Thankfully, my colleagues and editors assisted me throughout my ordeal on Sunday.

Credit here goes to my colleague Allison Lai, who bought medicines and food for me, as well as my bosses - Star Media Group Chief Content Officer Esther Ng and Executive Editor Loong Meng Yee - who ensured that I had everything I needed to stay in quarantine.

My symptoms were mostly mild but it was really horrible on Sunday night, as I was shivering profusely and sweating, and the cough felt as though bits of my lungs were coming out of my mouth.

Fortunately, by Monday morning, there was no more fever and all that was left was a sore throat and cough.

It felt almost like a sharp pain on my throat, and it was even sharper whenever I smoked a cigarette.

Though Covid-19 wasn't pleasant, I think I have endured worse conditions and that is contracting Influenza B in 2018. I remember having a high fever for three days, blacking out and fainting when I'm in the toilet as well as shivering even though I was feeling warm.

I'm currently quarantining at a beach resort in Melaka, while continuing to cover the campaigning in the ongoing Johor state elections.

There are some challenges in covering the Johor state election remotely, as I'm doing it.

I have relied mostly on recordings and live stream videos shared on WhatsApp group chats.

I think one of the biggest challenges for me would be staying awake, as I'm constantly feeling fatigued despite four glasses of black coffee and adequate sleep.

Nevertheless, I think getting Covid-19 was a blessing in disguise for me, as being alone in isolation allowed me to reflect on the decisions I made in my life over the past two years and all the bridges I have burnt.

Like many Malaysians, the past two years haven't been too kind to me.

In July 2020, my uncle passed away of a heart attack and frankly speaking, it was the first time I really felt sad when someone died.

A few months later, my 15-year-old Schnauzer named Rocky died from a seizure in my house, followed by my 13-year-old retriever named Jessie, after battling cancer for a mere three months.

Having to grieve three unexpected deaths during the pandemic, it was the toughest experience.

Being alone and isolated due to Covid-19 gave me a chance to slow down; to take a breath.

Fast forward to now, I'm in the third day of quarantining and I think I will consider adopting a healthier lifestyle from now on, so I can spend more time with people who matter the most - family.

To everyone who's reading this, know that you are not alone in dealing with depression and remember to seek help if you need to.

TARRENCE TAN

Journalist, Star Media Group

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Covid-19 , Personal Experience

   

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