Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

MANILA – For Jo Avila, a professional photographer, his fight against the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) let him capture moments of how Filipino medical front-liners risk life and limb to save lives.

Avila was rushed to the hospital for severe diarrhea and vomiting on March 20.

He was also suffering from colds and cough, which led to his admission into the isolation room of QualiMed Hospital in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Four days later, he was diagnosed with pneumonia, prompting his doctor to give him a Covid-19 treatment. However, the anti-malarial drug that was administered to him caused an erratic heartbeat that his heart rate had to be monitored using an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine.

Avila said he didn’t realize that “he would be ruled by a routine schedule for the coming days.”

“It became no longer inconvenient to be woken up past midnight,” he wrote on Facebook.

Health workers had to check his vital signs regularly, asking him how often he urinated or defecated.

“This schedule of activities became my new normal and daily routine. The silence at the hospital was not deafening,” he said.

The hardest part of being in the hospital, Avila said, was coping with insomnia.

He had to deal with the rumbling silence, spend his day and night in the same routine within the 18 days of his treatment.

He also was not used to the hospital food.

In his more than two weeks of Covid-19 medication, Avila lost about 22 pounds.

He said he became cognizant of his entire confinement in the isolation room.

A strict schedule of people allowed to enter his room was imposed.

Front-liners’ efforts

Avila said he had no one to talk to, except the nurses coming in and out of the isolation room who were monitoring his condition as he was coping with fever and dehydration.

He commended one female nurse for offering to bring him his needs even if she was on her day-off.

An isolation room at QualiMed Hospital at Sta. Rosa Laguna where Jo Avila stayed for his Covid-19 treatment from March 22 until he was released on April 8, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Jo Avila)

Avila expressed appreciation for the health workers who patiently worked for his fast recovery.

“You would have to admire the hospital staff at Qualimed for their empathy,” he said.

After seven days of medication, the test result showed that he was positive for Covid-19.

“My doctor did a good job of softening the blow. The second one also came back positive. I knew that I needed two negative results in order to be released from the hospital,” he said.

Avila started to get his hopes up when the result of his third and fourth swab turned out “negative.”

“I saw a strange sight a few days later,” he said. “My doctor and two nurses walked into my room with their personal protective equipment off.”

He was then discharged from the hospital, promising his doctors and nurses to self-isolate for two weeks at home amid the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

“I am sincerely looking forward to keeping that promise after spending 18 days under their care,” he said.

Finally, Avila received a farewell card from the health workers of QualiMed Hospital, a sign that he and the front-liners have surpassed his battle against the dreaded virus.

On April 8, Avila was finally free from the infectious disease.

He, however, reminded everyone to be watchful of their health as coronavirus survivors can be infected again.

“We don’t have immunity to the virus,” he said, adding that the public should be cautious at all times. (PNA)

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