I thought it was just a normal cough

Rafedah Yaman

By Kalsum Mohammadin

KUCHING: Being a Covid-19 patient is not easy and even more challenging when Muslims who celebrate the arrival of Ramadan are unable to fast together with their loved ones.

These stories of Covid-19 patients may be able to open the eyes of people who are in a similar situation.

“At first, I thought it was just the usual cough because my body temperature was still normal. Unexpectedly, I tested positive for Covid-19,” said a patient, Rafedah Yaman when contacted recently.

Rafedah who works as a civil servant at a government agency here thought she was only suffering from a normal cough. However, the coughing did not go away even after several days.

“In fact, I started experiencing dizziness, chills, joint pain and body aches for three days before being instructed to undergo screening,” she said.

The mother of two said coincidentally, she was also ordered to undergo screening following her husband’s close contact with a colleague who was confirmed positive.

As a result, Rafedah, her husband and their 18-year-old son were confirmed positive and ordered to undergo quarantine.

“What I experienced was very painful. Emotional and mental strength in the first 10 days play a very important role in fighting this disease,” she recalled.

The 40-year-old woman said that during the period, she had to take supplements and on her own initiative, opted to think positively of the situation to lift her spirit in hope for a speedy recovery.

“Not to mention the social rejection by some people. After this, there may even be some who are afraid to accept cash from my hands in transactions,” she pointed out.

Muhammad Aiman Afiq Nizam

Meanwhile, SPM school leaver Muhammad Aiman Afiq Nizam said he felt scared, anxious and shocked when he tested positive for Covid-19.

“I feel more and more upset because my mother was also confirmed positive. I was very worried thinking about the condition of my mother who has a history of high blood pressure and gastritis.”

Aiman is a close contact to his uncle who was infected after participating in a gotong-royong activity in the village.

He said one of the residents involved in the gotong-royong activity had tested positive for Covid-19 which spread to the other villagers.

Aiman said he was coughing and had flu before being instructed to undergo screening.

Commenting on the perceived social stigma Covid-19 patients faced, Aiman said no harsh or negative words were ever said to him by members of the public.

“There wasn’t any stigma. Now the public is more understanding and knowledgeable about Covid-19.

“It’s not like during the beginning of the pandemic. In fact, many people gave words of encouragement to me.

“The doctor advised me to drink plenty of water and always think positively so that I can get well quickly.

“I was able to fast as usual because the symptoms I experienced were diminishing and I was gradually recovering,” he said.

Aiman said should the second screening result show negative results, he will be transferred to a quarantine centre in Serian before being sent home.

These are stories of Covid-19 patients who persevered in the face of hardship caused by the Coronavirus.

Thus, it is hoped that the people in Sarawak will continue to take precautionary measures by adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

We must also learn to erase the stigma against these patients, and instead, to give them emotional support, avoid being afraid and to never cast them aside.