You have taken away freedom from my life over the last 50 days as a COVID-19 patient. As I write this letter, I have been isolated in the hospital for the last 50 days, 1,200 hours, 72,000 minutes. I have not been able to leave my hospital room, breathe fresh air, feel the sun and wind on my skin, nor see my loved ones and friends. I miss being able to be in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by my loved ones and eating home-cooked meals. As most people get to enjoy this circuit breaker spending time with their families, I am alone in the hospital with my only human interaction being with the nurses for 5 minutes, twice a day.
The last 50 days have been very difficult and emotionally draining as I struggle with feelings of cabin fever, loneliness, anxiety, depression and insomnia. I’ve had to take Xanax to ease my anxiety from being alone in the same room for so long, but I cannot deny that this ordeal has also changed my life forever.
From my last proper exercise being in secondary school during PE lessons, I am now working out every day in my hospital room! From eating junk food 2-3 times a week, I’m now eating supplements, drinking lots of water, watching my diet and limiting junk food intake. From living life like a lazy bum to finding new hobbies and things to do every day while in isolation (I painted for the first time ever in over 10 years while here). From leaving church at 16 years old, to returning closer to God and reading the Bible. From not knowing how to pray the rosary, to praying the rosary every day. From taking everything in my life for granted, to appreciating everything I have now.
I am thankful that I am going through this. Even though majority of you wouldn’t understand why I am thankful to have been isolated for so long. I would do this all over again because without this experience, I wouldn’t have seen life through a different perspective.
I now truly know what freedom is and I long so much for the day I get to leave this room and reunite with my loved ones. I also now know the value of health, and am so blessed and grateful that my COVID-19 journey has been such a mild one. I now know the value of time – how each day is so, so short, and I should make the best out of it and always tell my loved ones how much I love and care for them because we never know how unexpected life is.
I look forward to spending more time at home with my loved ones after I am discharged. While I’m here, I’ve received a lot of blessings from my family, friends and strangers (followers on Instagram) who have sent me lots of yummy food, snacks, flowers and art supplies to keep me occupied. This has made me realise how lucky and blessed I am, and I too am now trying to be a blessing to other people who may not be as blessed or lucky as me.
I don’t really know how life will be like after the circuit breaker, but I know the road to full recovery is a long one. We mustn’t take freedom for granted and we must continue to practise good personal hygiene. My worst nightmare is a second wave of COVID-19 infections after the circuit breaker restrictions are lifted. I don’t think 1 June 2020 should be a day of celebration, we should still tread lightly, and not take our health for granted. Even though COVID-19 may be mild for the younger people like myself, it usually has very bad prognosis for the elderly and those who are immunocompromised, so let’s do our part to keep them safe!