What It’s Like to Be a Patient in the COVID Ward and a Relative of a COVID-Positive Patient in Hospital Confinement

Nanay and my sister tested positive for COVID-19 last August. Nanay experienced the following symptoms (chills, diarrhea, fever), while my sister had fever and myalgia. Fortunately, for our Tatay, his swab test came out negative, despite experiencing exactly the same symptoms as Nanay.

Photo taken by the City of Imus Doctors Hospital COVID Ward Head Nurse

Being COVID-positive, Nanay was not allowed to undergo hemodialysis at her dialysis center anymore. She had to be admitted to a hospital for close monitoring of her underlying medical conditions. A stroke and heart bypass survivor, Nanay is also diabetic and has been receiving hemodialysis sessions for well over a year now.

Her nephrologist finally found a slot for Nanay’s confinement at City of Imus Doctors Hospital (CIDH) COVID Ward. Nanay was admitted last August 30 and stayed in the hospital for almost two weeks. For those not in the know, COVID-positive patients stay alone in an isolation room, only seeing his/her doctors and COVID Ward nurses. No companions or visitors are allowed.

Nanay’s Experience at CIDH COVID Ward

Being alone in a hospital room at the COVID Ward without her spouse and children for 13 days would probably be the loneliest days of Nanay’s life. On her first few days of confinement, she would call me several times a day despite our already long conversation earlier in the day. She would often burst out crying, too, because she said she missed us.

The only persons she saw during her stay at the COVID Ward were the nurses, her attending doctor, and just days before she was discharged, an infectious disease specialist. There was nothing else to do inside her room but eat, sleep and talk with us on the phone.

My Experience Dealing with CIDH Staff Remotely

Being the main contact person for Nanay, I did everything remotely. That’s because my parents live in Dasmarinas, Cavite, while I live in Pasig. A COVID ambulance provided by their barangay health center transported Nanay alone to CIDH. My sister and father who live with Nanay were already placed on home quarantine that time as they were also experiencing COVID-like symptoms.

Hours before Nanay’s arrival to the hospital, I talked to CIDH’s Admission Department to inquire about admission procedures, to give her personal details, and to inquire about our payment options. I also called their ER Department where I was interviewed by a resident nephrologist for Nanay’s medical history and COVID-19 history.

I was also given instructions by an ER Supervisor where Nanay’s ambulance should park and where she would be met by the ER nurses and doctor. And because Nanay was alone in the hospital and no relatives were allowed to visit, I also requested the hospital to let Nanay sign all her papers. Whew!

Our hospital deposit, partial payments made after we’d reached the allowed limit for COVID-positive patients, and our remaining balance were all paid through online bank transfer. Thank God for modern technology! I also had the Viber number of the Billing Department’s supervisor who gave me our daily running bill and official receipts for partial payments we’ve transferred to the hospital’s bank account number.

I also have the Viber number of the hospital’s COVID Ward and was in regular communication with the three COVID ward nurses: Mark, EJ and Angel. They give me updates on Nanay’s condition. They send me pictures of Nanay, too, in her room. They also facilitate video calls so that Nanay can see us whenever she wants. And not only that. I was also able to request one of the nurses, Angel, to buy adult diapers and some snacks for Nanay. Wasn’t that amazing? Hats off to these young and brave frontliners! You guys rock!

Our Overall Hospital Experience

It was Nanay’s first admission at CIDH, and I must say I’m impressed with how the staff handled COVID cases in their hospital. Everyone I talked to in whatever department I called (Admission, ER, Billing, COVID Ward) was polite, courteous and accommodating.

Our Hospital Bill

Would you believe our hospital bill reached almost half a million? Php456, 971.25 to be exact for 13 days in the hospital. If not for the big discount from PhilHealth (Php153,667) and 20% senior citizen discount (Php80,858.26), we wouldn’t be able to produce such a big amount right away. Our total cash payment minus PhilHealth and senior citizen discounts was Php222,445.99, an amount that still wasn’t readily available when Nanay was about to be discharged.

But many thanks to generous souls who helped us in our hour of need. Monetary assistance from relatives and friends reached 80k+ which greatly eased our financial distress. Thank you all so much from the bottom of our hearts. You all know who you are, and we pray that God richly blesses you far more than you could ever imagine.

Nanay Is Finally Back Home and Safe

Nanay’s admitting doctor was keen on discharging her early from the hospital because her condition was already good a few days after she was admitted. Her repeat swab test done on September 3, however, revealed she was still COVID-positive. Another repeat swab test done on September 10 yielded the same positive result. That’s when an infectious disease specialist was asked to see her to certify that she’s COVID-recovered despite the result of her two repeat swab tests.

Nanay had her third repeat swab test done last September 25, eight days after she was discharged from the hospital. Finally, SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) was not detected anymore. She is now back to her 3x-a-week regular hemodialysis at her dialysis center. We could all heave a sigh of relief at last. We were just really happy that our family’s COVID nightmare was over, and that Nanay did not suffer much during her hospital confinement.

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