KUCHING: Most recently, Nur Aina Insyirah (not her real name) got a taste of a Covid-19 isolation ward.
Before her admission into the ward, she travelled overseas quite a bit. Last March 1, she returned from Korea where she did some work. Soon after her return, she vomited, had a headache and her nose bled. She was admitted to an emergency ward on March 21.
“A doctor asked if I had been outside the country the week before. I checked a calendar and told him I had not,” she said, adding that she was not aware of any correlation between being outside the country and the sickness.
She was scheduled to undergo endoscopy the following day at a different hospital, but was stopped by the doctor who suspected that she had Covid-19 judging from her symptoms.
“He halted my endoscopy for fear of contamination. I was ready for one thing but something else happened to me,” Aina said in an e-mail interview.
She said that she had to wait for specialists, including the specialist in-charge of the hospital’s Covid-19 division. As she did not show the regular symptoms, she was surprised that things had escalated for the worse.
“As I cried while waiting to be isolated, I kept thinking of my son,” said the mother of one. “It was good that the nurses and doctors consoled me and gave me words of encouragement. They even prayed for me to be strong in whatever I went through, and promised to provide me with the best treatment.”
At 1.30pm of that day, she was officially wheeled into the isolation ward.
“It felt like I had done something wrong,” Aina recalled. “The staff members were all wrapped up in protective attire when they took me to the ward.
She remembered that throughout the transfer process, the health workers that she called “mahkluk plastik hijau” (green plastic beings because of their green attire) sprayed disinfectant that smelled like bleach thoroughly on the walls and floor.
In the isolation ward, she was all alone as the nurses came only when they were summoned.
“I kept my phone throughout my quarantine as it was the only way to communicate with the staff and my family.”
Asked how she felt being alone in the ward, she said she was suicidal due to fear of infecting someone else. Thankfully, none of her family members was infected.
“I fought the suicidal thought and tried to be positive throughout. I believe that a positive mind brings recovery.”
On the second night in the ward, her health deteriorated.
“I felt like dying. I kept on sneezing; my nose kept on bleeding and I even vomited blood. My whole body was in pain. I felt feverish and my head was painful. I tried lying down and sitting up; everything was not right. I could not even breathe comfortably.”
She waited for the nurses to come, and when they did, clad in blue protective plastic attire, they gave her injections.
“I didn’t know what the injections were for. I felt too much pain to even ask.”
But she clearly remembered the pain caused by the needle. She described it as worse than being hit.
“My whole body felt warm when the medication entered by body. I didn’t remember anything after that as I was in pain. Whatever they said, I could not hear. I could not focus.”
She was not sure how many times she was given injection. To help her deal with the constant pain, she was given painkillers.
“I was injected so many times, and that included the times when they took my blood samples three to four times a day.”
The worse part of being in the isolation room was missing her son because he had to be lulled to sleep by being carried around.
“I had to video-call and sing lullabies to him. If I did not video-call him, he would cry looking for me,” she said.
“I felt disheartened and de-motivated being in the isolation ward alone. Despite that, I prayed, read the Quran, video-called my family and even did live recordings for my Facebook page. Whenever I was in pain, I would sleep it off.”
Fortunately for Aina, her condition improved on the fourth day.
“I no longer bled and vomited. Then on March 26, I was officially discharged. But I was kept under watch at a quarantine centre, so I was still unable to see my son until after 14 days.”
With the worst over, Aina recommended keeping up a positive attitude because emotions could affect one’s health.
“When we are sick and we continue to lie down without doing anything, our health can become worse.”
Aina also advised Malaysians to take care of their health and stay at home during the movement control order period.
“Avoid touching each other; practise social distancing. I am sure we will be safe in the end.”
Despite all the bad things that happened, there are also good things to look forward. Aina was aware of this during her quarantine. She has become more vigilant since then and is thankful to all the frontliners who helped her.