A Covid-19 survivor’s story

Amelia Chin

As we gradually crawls out of the shadow of the global pandemic, the virus unleashes its fury with a third wave. Amelia Chin received the most shocking present on her 30th year birthday, in the form of Covid-19.

Stay calm, and look for better days ahead

The year has been a shocking one as the Covid-19 pandemic became major health concerns across the globe. Malaysia is not spared as we recently experienced the third wave of the pandemic.

Faced with the frightening odds, 30-year-old Amelia Chin had the shock of her life when she tested positive for the virus recently.

Amelia Chin received the most shocking birthday present this year in the form of Covid-19.

“On my birthday on October 29, I came down with a fever. My throat felt dry, and I had a cough and flu. It felt uncomfortable and painful, so I stayed home the whole day.

“On the very same day, my friend sent me a message asking me to take the Covid-19 swab as his friend was tested positive. I don’t know who the friend was, but I met mine on October 23,” she shared.

Having gone for the swab at a private hospital on the morning of October 30, Amelia received a call in the evening, confirming her fears. “As the hospital official told me that my test results came out positive, I immediately cried as I was scared that I might have infected my family and close friends. I spent the evening informing each one of them to go for a swab test and to stay at home.”

Amelia also wrote on Facebook that her family was tested positive, immediately following her diagnosis. “My younger sister and brother, my brother’s girlfriend and my father all tested positive. Some of them have mild conditions, and some are asymptomatic.”

Amelia was discharged on November 8, and she immediately took to Facebook to encourage everyone to take the swab test. She also shared a bit of her experiences as a survivor of Covid-19.

In a private interview with New Sarawak Tribune, Amelia explained in detail about procedures that she went through when she was found to be positive.

Amelia said once the results are out, the private hospital notified the General Hospital, and they would inquire on her recent movements.

“They arranged for an ambulance to pick me up immediately. I was told to wait inside my room, and not to come out until they’ve arrived.” The following day, she was sent for a swab test, blood test, urine test and X-ray. “The rest of the day, except for the morning, afternoon, and evening blood pressure and oxygen measurements, there is generally no treatment.”

However, she said, this depends on individual cases. “If the fever doesn’t subside or your lung is infected, you have to continue to take X-ray or take the given anti-inflammatory drugs. While I am not sure about the extensive procedures, from my own experiences, it is not that frightening.”

Amelia showed symptoms such as fever, cough, flu, body ache. Days after her stay at the quarantine ward, she experienced loss of taste and smell, which gradually return, albeit at minimal.

As there are currently no vaccines or specific medications to treat Covid-19, painkillers were given to treat mild symptoms. According to Amelia, she was not given any medicine but she would take Chinese medicines and supplements herself to help with the symptoms.

However, after several days in the hospital, Amelia said that her sense of smell and taste disappeared. “The doctor informed me that it will slowly return in a few months, but he also said that for some, their sense of smell may never recovers” she said. Gradually, Amelia’s senses returned, albeit at minimal recovery.

Speaking more on this, Amelia is very grateful for the frontliners who cared for her throughout the ordeal. “I really appreciate the nurses who take care of all the patients. They take risks everyday just to take good care of us.”

Recalling her times at the hospital, Amelia said that initially she was scared as she thought that there might be many blood tests or swab tests needed for treatment.

Ensuring everyone that it is not as frightening as most terrifying stories, Amelia said, “Stay relaxed and you will feel better. Of course, we might not know much about the virus and can be quickly overwhlemed just by the thought of it, but I urge the public to not exaggerate the situation as it will make it more chaotic.

“If any of your loved ones are diagnosed with the virus, learn to care about them and see what they need, instead getting yourself worked up for nothing, creating more problems,” she advised.

She also shared her moments during quarantine, and that on the first night she actually had a roommate. “But she was transferred away due to her not feeling very well. She returned shortly after and we were both transferred to the Youth and Sports Complex (KBS) once our conditions were stable.”

Asked if it was boresome to be quarantined, Amelia answered, “It’s not that boring actually. The first few days, I just stayed in my room and rest. Then, a few of my friends and people I know were also admitted, so at least we can talk to each other at the corridor. I did spend most of my time watching dramas and replying to texts and calls.”

“During my time at the quarantine centre, I saw many new faces every day. As new people come in, old patients were transferred accordingly. Once their condition is better, they will be transferred to an ordinary isolation ward before they can be discharged, usually only a few days later,” added Amelia.

Having experienced one of the most notable pandemics in world’s history, Amelia encouraged those who had close contacts with known positives to go for the swab test and the two weeks self-quarantine. “Wait for the results. Even if it is negative, continue self-quarantine at home and go for the second swab test 10 -12 days later.

“Many people asked about my experiences as they are afraid to go for the swab. After I explained to them my situation, only then do they feel less troubled to go,” Amelia said.

The virus that shook the world

File photo: Wearing a mask is a must during this pandemic.

Once there was a time when we could plan a party freely, book travel plans a year in advance, walk the streets without needing to practice social distancing or even wear a mask.

But 2020 has been a shocker to many. From the first wave, to the second, Malaysia is now at its third wave since the virus penetrated our borders early this year.

It all started last December when doctors discovered a medical phenomenon happening in the Wuhan city of Hubei, China. The viral pneumonia was said to be caused by a novel coronavirus strain which spreads via respiratory droplets and causes mild to severe symptoms.

Circulating its way from Wuhan to the world — the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that the first recorded imported case was in Thailand, making it the first case outside of the Chinese city.

As the unknown virus begins to spread across the globe, Japan and France became the second and third country with confirmed cases affecting those who arrived to the two countries from Wuhan.

Labelled as Covid-19 in February, WHO recorded 100,000 cases on March 7. A month later, the organisation reported over one million confirmed cases worldwide, and categorised the virus as a global pandemic.

As the virus spiralled through different continents, countries, Malaysia was no exception. The first case of Covid-19 in the country was detected on January 25 as three Chinese nationals were infected.

On the other hand, the first Malaysian man tested positive for the virus on February 4, the first local to have contracted the illness. The actual spike took place only in March, after a religious event took place leading to the exponential rise in cases. After several weeks, Malaysia recorded the highest number of positive cases in South East Asia.

As the number of cases steadily increase, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin implemented the movement control order (MCO) on March 18 in an effort to flatten the curve.

Throughout the year, Malaysians have experienced a three-month MCO period, with an enhanced version at certain locations. As the number went down, a period of conditional movement control order (CMCO), followed by a recovery movement control order (RMCO) were enforced and Malaysia managed to have days with zero cases.

However September saw a rise in cases at several states which health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah referred to as the third wave.

Aiming towards a virus-free country, the conditional movement control order (CMCO) was re-implemented nationwide to curb the spread of the virus. In Sarawak, the CMCO started on November 9, after a surge of cases that began mid October.

As the virus hits the one-year mark in December, it has definitely changed the world’s perspective in many ways. While it is still too early to celebrate, Covid-19 will one day be a thing of the past, but it lies in all of our hands to make that happen. Stay safe, stay at home and let’s save the world.