I Tested Positive for COVID-19. This is How It Was Like.

“Where am I isolating?” I repeated, extremely confused. “Why? I’m just at home. What do you mean?”

It was Friday morning, three days after I got swabbed for COVID-19, and I had just answered a call from an unknown number. On the other end of the line was my contact tracer, Mica, who threw the question at me so nonchalantly, I figured she probably does this on a daily basis. “You can’t stay at home,” she answered, unfazed. “You’re positive for COVID.”

Though it was still a complete shock to hear it laid out like that, it confirmed what I was beginning to suspect at that point. For the past five days, the first thing I would do in the mornings is try to take a sniff out of one of my Anapanasati essential oil bottles and make myself some Berocca in an effort to convince myself I could smell or taste something. But close to a week in, and no amount of Berocca or Vitamin C seemed to work somehow. If I hadn’t gotten swabbed, I would have been extremely worried about it by then.


COVID Day 13: Homecoming

I’m home!

The past few days were a blur of excitement and exhaustion, but the important thing is I’m finally home after spending a full 11 days in quarantine.

I can’t deny I’ll miss some aspects of it—the all-day air conditioning and having so many options for food deliveries in the city proper, for sure—but it’s nice to enjoy the comforts of my own room, even if I kind of have to tiptoe around the house for now.

Officially, it’s Day 16 after I got swabbed, so my doctor reassures me the worst of it is over. I also got a quantitative COVID-19 antibody test that determined I’m not acutely ill anymore and no longer contagious, although I did “not mount a protective response” a.k.a. I didn’t develop enough antibodies to be immune.


COVID Day 10: Vacillating

Sometimes, the universe works in strange and mysterious ways.

Following yesterday’s mental and emotional breakdown, I needed nothing more than to retreat even further—perhaps a strange mindset considering at this point I’ve been alone in a room for all of 10 days. I even told my Mom I was thinking of spending a night in a different hotel before going home just to nurse that insatiable need, as well as my mental health.

But apparently, the drawback to telling people you have COVID-19 is that it’s basically public knowledge, and so when I tried to book a hotel room, I was asked for requirements I couldn’t provide. I commend the safety protocols, of course, but this felt like another obstacle I didn’t have to energy to jump over.

I was all set to just give it up when I was informed by the hotel I’m staying in that protocol dictates I needed to stay an extra night.


COVID Day 9*: Breakdown

Yesterday, I got some news that threw me off: I was already on Day 11 of COVID-19, and I can go home.

The official count, apparently, is the day you got swabbed. That advanced my mental countdown a bit because my initial conversations with the Department of Health considered the day I tested positive as Day 1 and that’s kind of what I’ve been going with all this time. It’s even more confusing when you throw in the count of my days in isolation, which is technically just hours off but crosses into a new day. At this point, it doesn’t really matter; I just wish someone cleared things up with me early on.

Still, in an endeavor to play it safe, I decided to stick it out a couple of days more in my quarantine hotel and complete a full 10 days of isolation. So here we (still) are.


COVID Day 7: Exhaustion

In the past 24 hours alone, I’ve gotten a lot of comments about how I’m still working.

I don’t mean to glorify keeping busy even through COVID-19. I am fortunate my symptoms are mild enough that I can carry on with my usual tasks, but one should listen to their bodies and take this time to rest and recuperate.

But I could… listen to my own advice.


COVID Day 6: More of the Same

I accidentally smeared some gravy on my nose as I was taking a bite of my pork chops, and for a moment I fooled myself into thinking my taste was back. It was not. I just had a faint whiff of the mushroom.

Meals have been such a joyless, soulless experience lately, a routine of sitting on my bed with a packed meal in front of me. Once, it was even the floor, wary I was going to spill my cousin’s lechon paksiw on a mattress I don’t even sleep on (I have two beds in this quarantine bedroom—maybe I should spend a night on the other one).

I never minded eating alone, but boy does it get completely lonely when I can’t even enjoy the food.


COVID Day 5: Breakthrough

9:03 a.m.

Despite the comforts of a hotel room, the crankiness is setting in. There’s a small window that brings in very little sunshine and not much else. Meals are a soulless experience when I can’t taste or smell anything. I’m trying to keep busy, but it’s very slow-going because I tire easily and need frequent breaks.

Part of having COVID isn’t just dealing with the symptoms—it’s a mental struggle.


COVID Day 3: I’m Alive, and I’m Live

Taking a break from my usual writing to embark on something completely new to me: going live.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my very first Instagram Live, and boy do I like to ramble 😅

I started sharing about testing positive for the coronavirus through close friends Instagram Stories, and besides all the well wishes, I got so many questions. It struck me how people are so curious, mainly because all we hear are the scary aspects, which then discourage people from getting tested if they suspect they have it. 


COVID Day 2: The Reality

In a nutshell: COVID-19 is real, you guys.

I can’t even tell you how I got it because I didn’t come into contact with anyone who is positive, or at least they had no idea they are. All I know is I’m always wearing a mask, disinfecting, practicing social distancing, and I make it a point to shower the moment I get home, and I STILL got it.


Turning Thirty

Being a milestone age and all, I’ve always thought I would have a grand celebration on my 30th birthday. I even had party ideas in my mind, but as the pandemic went on with no end in sight, Miss ‘Rona would have just derailed my plans before I could fully flesh them out.

The birthday blues hit, and they hit hard. I had wanted a big birthday bash with as many people as I know and love all in one room, then the Philippine National Police Chief made gatherings a total faux pas, so that idea had to be thrown out of the window. I held on to hope the pandemic would be over by the time November rolled around, but while Cebu City’s active cases lessened significantly, it still wasn’t a good enough reason to be complacent.

Besides that, it really is just a tough time to celebrate. People have lost so much in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak—income, opportunities, loved ones—not to mention #RollyPH and #UlyssesPH had recently caused major devastation in various parts of the country.

(Side note: I was born in the aftermath of Typhoon Ruping. Yolanda also happened close to my birthday in 2013. Everyone should be terrified of what’s going to happen to this world when I turn 40 or something *knocks on wood*)

So, yeah, it’s kind of hard to be in a celebratory mood given everything, and I was just set on letting the day pass like any other ordinary day… except, some people won’t let me. And I love them all for it.