The COVID fatigue is real. COVID, you win.
After living through schemes of circuit breakers, celebrating 0 cases a day to fearing the surge of 22000 cases per day, we are now living in a survival of the fittest. It’s funny to think how hard everyone tried to prevent COVID at the beginning and eventually after getting the necessary immunity for the country, we’re left to fight this out on our own (which tbh seems like the only way out). I’m honestly thankful for the number of measures, aids and laws created to help Singapore fight against Covid-19. They were a lot to handle initially but are ingrained in society as the norm now.
Thanks to COVID, I haven’t experienced an office experience of bonding sessions with my colleagues, fighting for meeting rooms and networking seminars for fun. But thanks for COVID, I get to have a reasonable 5 days MC so as to prevent spreading the infection around!
TDLR; This is the timeline of events for how our family of 4 caught COVID in what Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung termed as the subsiding wave of Omicron cases in Singapore.
9th March, Wednesday:
It started with my father coming back from his meeting and he shared that he’s feeling a bit uncomfortable (which is rare cause he’s usually well). When I heard how he shyly put that, I know he also suspected that he possibly caught COVID. But he refused to admit it, so we pulled out the ART kit. And voila, there was a very faint line on the T.
However, this adamant old man denied the faint line and was so strong-headed that he does not have COVID. We forced him to wear the mask and safe distance from us. When my mum came home, she affirmed to him that it was positive. All of us were still fairly okay at that point, ART testing negative.
We should have taken that initial phase to set up some measures in the family, but we all didn’t know better. I leveraged this to work from home for the next 2 days as I didn’t want this to spread to my colleagues. I had to cancel all my weekend plans too as I’d rather be safe than guilty. Given that my body was also recovering from a wound, this arrangement was a blessing in disguise! It all felt so predestined when I look at the bigger picture.
Honestly, there were many questions that we had to research. It was good that we knew of many others who had caught COVID first so we could ask around. The government also prepared websites to guide the public on how to handle such circumstances, where we would fall under Protocol 1 (symptoms and unwell). We were discussing the possibility of sending him to an isolation facility but my dad was scared to stay in the room by himself. It was a wasted opportunity and shows how much of a child he is. However, I do agree that government resources shouldn’t be used so casually. It should be reserved for those who need them more (moreover, we didn’t qualify too hehe).
10th March, Thursday:
Dad’s positive line was more prominent and mum took him to the doctor. He was officially a COVID patient and our family really said No to my dad. We made sure that we are covering our noses and mouths while talking, and checked that he had his mask on.
BUT, my father is really a stubborn cow. He cannot understand the idea of needing to isolate if you are positive!! He still remained massaging on the massage chair in the living room righteously with his mask on, coughing and clearing his throat.
While I am frustrated, I also didn’t know what should be done. There’s no entertainment for him in the master bedroom (cause he only knows how to watch horse racing videos on his phone), and he would be by himself in the room feeling helpless.
My mum also slept with him in the room though in the opposite position as she suspected her symptoms were a sign and doesn’t want to risk us getting exposed. She was also really responsible and sweet to empathise with baba’s feelings, so she doesn’t pressurise him and placates us.
11th March, Friday:
Baba’s symptoms were the worst on his “third” day. He spoke with almost no sound and his face was uncomfortably scrunched up most of the time. I’ve never seen him this weak before. It was a tell-tale sign that COVID is a serious illness that hit him hard. He slept so much (finally), had diarrhoea and vomited too. It really got us worried about how severe his COVID was, and when he would recover.
His symptoms also drew us more caution as we actively avoid handing in the same area as he did. It was helpful that while he was stubbornly staying in front of his TV, we had our own rooms and dining tables that we could eat separately from him.
Speaking of eating, since our chef is down, we have been enjoying dabao’ed food from the nearby food centres. My mum gave me a heart attack when we went to the mall and I saw that she BROUGHT THE POT TO DABAO SOUP.
12th March, Saturday:
Was woken up to the sound of my mother’s low and coarse voice speaking to her manager that she has been tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to return back to work for the week. That was sort of expected. By this point, I also started noticing my throat being kind of dry but I spoke fine.
She went to the doctor and got a 7 days rest that she was grateful for. It’s been long since mummy took some time off work, so it’s a little gift for her too.
On the other hand, my dad woke up a changed man different from the crouching sick man he had been less than 12 hours ago. He could even laugh now. I was still worried that he would stay a baby for the entire duration.
As long as anyone in your household is registered to be COVID positive under MOH records, you would receive a HRN/be eligible within 24 hours to collect ART kits from the vending machines nearby. This is such a good initiative that grants accessibility to people at high risk. It was also simple enough for our older generation to use!
In terms of food, we have also taken it into our own hands in (trying/) whipping up nourishing and healthy food. My mum brought back some ingredients for me to cook Kway Teow after visiting the doctor. With the assistance of 2 sicklings who wanted to make the food work, they guided me to cook char kway teow for the family. I must say that it was the first time I did that, and it was super delicious. I had 3 servings!! It turned out to be super simple, we just had to cut the meat, prawns, fish cakes and vegetables and stir fry them while adding lots of water after the meats to reduce the broth.
Everybody sang praises for the food that was honestly easy work, I’m a delighted chef!
With my police mum in place, she managed to pull the stubborn dad into the room where they wore N95 masks and isolated as they should. For a moment, the germs in the house did feel like they have gone away.
But at night, the dynamics have changed. Mummy wanted to buy some online NTUC groceries since both of them are cooped at home now. Hence I brought my laptop to connect to the TV so that they are able to see and order. But I was really sensitive to their flu-like voice and incessant coughing. So I told my dad to wear his mask, but he was eating which was inconvenient. He insisted that he has recovered and could do an ART to prove that. Our fight escalated and I decided that I’m going to take a pause and cycle instead of quarrelling more.
Cycling was a relief and a change of fresh air away from the germ-filled house. I was turning my anger into energy and it was a good avenue to release the tension. Being able to cycle by myself again felt so refreshing. I did a good round around Punggol and bought dinner and groceries back before we called the day off.
13th March, Sunday:
At this point, I was convinced I should have gotten the COVID flu, but I was still self-testing negative. Since the online grocery didn’t happen, my brother and I went to the mall for lunch and bought $70 worth of groceries back home. I truly appreciated the service fees that applied to the packing of goods, it was hard work to choose and pack the groceries. We were so tired we took the bus back home instead of walking.
Over our small trip, my mum also sanitised the entire house and made sure that we were able to separate the sick and the well. They brought their utensils and set up an isolation unit in their master bedrooms where they were going to have their meals there. When my brother and I were done and returned to our room, they took over the living room for their daily dose of TV. At least, this arrangement felt like something.
At night, I got to bring out my chef hat for the rendition of the earlier dish, Kway Teow soup. It was chef’s kiss. We also used the leftover soup from the wonton mee to cook which was so brilliant! That’s why it’s so good to not waste food and save up. 🙂
14th March, Monday:
Knowing how unwell I was, I applied for WFH since my mum got it recently too. The night before work was when I felt the brunt of COVID. I couldn’t seem to fall asleep and I was feeling cold. I had to wear socks, switch off the fan, go under my blanket and switch to long pants to feel normal enough to sleep. I also had insomnia the whole night waking up between hours to check if I had any success in sleeping.
I measured my body temperature and oxygen levels which were regular, even my ART was negative again. I was starting to doubt the kit for the obvious symptoms that I was feeling!
With the apparent symptoms and wide awake 5am brain, I decided I will just visit the doctor for their assessment of my symptoms and call in sick the next morning. True enough, I was COVID positive after a throat swab (since the normal ART couldn’t detect). There was a huge queue across all clinics and a substantial waiting time too. I’m glad to visit my trusty GP and that my company covers these medical benefits too.
It felt good to ascertain what these past few days have been, but also tragic that I’m now in the #smallbrainclub. I hope that there aren’t too many long-term effects that come with COVID. Seeing how my parents feel over the course, I’m grateful that these symptoms are passable.
My colleagues and friends were also really sweet and understanding of my plight. I received so many “How are you feeling” messages that I created a template to answer them for different days of recovery. I’m glad that my colleagues could shoulder the work I’m doing and felt a little guilty for leaving them for an entire week too. Nisha even called me to assure me that it will be okay. I was really touched that some of my colleagues offered to help whatever they can, so selfless!!
When I went home, tables have turned, my brother was isolated against the family. The sick people have won and are living as per usual while he coops up in his little room. My bathing supplies have also been transported to the COVID toilet.
I had so many medications to take (cough, runny nose, inflammation, fever and pain), I was also resting when I could. Being sick really gives you the excuse to just be a worm and eat and sleep (my mum’s favourite activities).
Sadly, I appear to develop an allergic reaction to the medications that I was on as my hives started appearing again even though I was eating food that I normally consume. So I stopped eating the new medications and stuck to my allergy ones.
On Wednesday, my brother also got diagnosed with COVID and that marks the end of our separate isolation. We are now hanging out together in the entire house as usual with our nasal voice and occasional coughs. All of our symptoms were rather mild, it didn’t take us out but it didn’t allow us to function as we normally would too.
Overall, the COVID-19 experience for us was not a pleasant one. While I heard stories of people not feeling a thing with COVID, our family could be easily identified with it due to our symptoms. It differs between people and viruses. Isolating within the same house had also proven to be very difficult, depending on how serious your family members take the flu.
Our family had a cautious but unavoidable stance towards the flu. We didn’t take enough precautions and eventually it swept all of us., 2 days at a time
I am really thankful for all the concern and care that we have gotten over the past 2 weeks. We are blessed to say that we are okay and we had the access to healthcare that we needed in times of necessity. Our house was also stocked up on masks, sanitisers and staples that allowed us to carry on with our day as usual. It was an uncertain period but at least we could tide through it.
Do stay safe and keep proper hygiene even as we recover from COVID. It is possible to be re-infected. Hence, we are also not going to take the chance. Looking forward to the lifted measures and how life will resume in endemic-two-two!