Day 1. Let me share with you what happened to me this early part of Aughost. I experienced a slight pain in my throat the night of August 1. I just shrugged it off as I thought it would be gone the next day because this usually happens to me. But when I woke up the next day, my throat was, surprisingly, sore. Oh no! So, I did oil pulling, gargling with salt and warm water and using Ilog Maria throat spray which I have at home. I also took Vitamin C with Zinc and Yoli Defend and some other medications I do not remember now.
Day 2. I had a fever running up to 38.6°C. In my heart, I knew I was Covid-free but I couldn’t be sure as I went out and met some people 14 days before this happened. Anton was very praning already and it was uncommon for me to see him like that. He kept asking me questions… Are you having a hard time breathing? No. Do you still have your sense of smell and taste? Yes, I can still smell the farts of the boys and taste the food I eat. I still had the desire to eat but my throat hurt (now I can relate to my son whenever he doesn’t want to eat when he has sore throat).
He told me several times to list everyone, as in everyone, I met during that time I went out and asked more questions… Did you talk long? Yes, around 30 minutes. Where did you talk? Out in the open parking lot. Were you wearing a mask? Yes, the 3 of us though there was no face shield requirement that time. Did you practice social distancing? Of course! Well, being stubborn (& confident that I was really COVID-free), I didn’t give him the names but I just sent text messages to the people I met and asked them how they were without letting them feel anything was wrong. I was glad to receive positive responses that they were fine! So there, out of the way.
But still, I quarantined myself in another room. Nobody came near me.
Days 3 and 4 were not different. I had a fever running up and down from 37.6 to 38.8. I began to experience headaches but sometimes, only on the right side (which made me worry because of what happened to me a couple years ago when I had shingles, the worst kind! But that’s another story to tell!) which I made me worry. It was a struggle to do my sun tanning but I knew I needed natural vitamin D so I continued to do it. I routinely did the oil pulling, gargling, throat spraying; whatever I could think of, I did! Anton was already worried by this time because I was not getting any better. I, on the other hand, was still feeling positive that I would get better the next day. You see, Anton & I just had our 28-day Transformation and, to my thinking, it had reset our body into a better body system wherein we did not consume sweet desserts as much as we used to during that period. So I thought my body got unsettled due to the unhealthy sugars I consumed that week. Also, my sense of smell and taste were not affected so that gave me another point! But then, Anton convinced me to call our doctor to ask some things and to make sure it was not covid.
During my Zoom session with Dra. Vienne Saulog, our pediatrician (yes, our boys’ pediatrician, because she is the only doctor we regularly see and I am familiar with), she told me that she could see that I was heaving, that my breathing was unusual, which surprised me. But as I saw myself on the Zoom session, I saw what she meant, my breathing was indeed unusual. It was as if I was having a hard time breathing but really, for me, I thought I was breathing normally. Dra. Vienne then asked me the usual questions, what are you feeling the past days, etc. She asked me to take my blood pressure. My heartbeat was faster than normal. Bottom line, if the next day I still have a fever, she told me to get a CBC, urine test and swab test. She shared COVID horror stories with me and said she would not want me to experience it as we have young boys and seniors at home. There were just too many exposures and dangers for the family, I couldn’t take it.
Day 5. My fever decreased but I began to have occasional chest pains, body aches (ngawit feeling) and dry cough. On the other hand, my throat was getting better so I stalled partially because I was relieved of my sore throat and was still thinking that I would be well within the day…again.
Day 6. My temperature was 37.2°C. I was feeling better with just a little soreness in the body, dry cough and no fever, BUT I decided to go for the swab test for our peace of mind as we have young ones and seniors at home. We discussed that it was better to do it now rather than act when I lose my sense of taste and smell, and that would be too late. Also, if you are still sick by the 4th-7th days, this is the critical stage where it is recommended to have your swab test. Too early or too late will not be as effective. We needed to be pro-active.
St. Lukes BGC Covid Swab Test Experience
We set out to get the swab test or Covid-19 PCR at St. Luke’s Hospital in BGC. I had to prepare my things as if I’d be gone for at least 2 weeks. I had a very heavy heart then. First, we decided that I do the CBC blood work and urine test prior to getting the swab test. So off we go to the main entrance of St. Luke’s. On the way to the hospital, I was quiet. I did not want to have that test (and mahal din kasi, damn!). BUT would I risk my family getting infected because of my carelessness if I indeed was positive?
But really, I knew in my heart that I was NOT positive BUT then again, what if? And so as we were nearing the hospital, I cried. I was afraid pala. I did not know what will happen to me if I was positive. Drama in my head. I would be alone. Then Anton asked if I wanted him to go with me. Of course, we did not talk about it but it was obvious that I would do this alone. We couldn’t risk having both of us parents sick. I did not answer him because I was on the verge of crying. He let me cry. After a few minutes, it was time. I had to face it so I went down the car and walked my way through the entrance. There were no people except for the guards. It was past 6pm.
Prior to entering, they required me to fill up a Health Declaration form. As I filled up the form, I felt afraid that I might be taken away and be locked up because of the symptoms I had. Hahaha! drama, right? Still, I honestly declared what symptoms I had recently. Then the guard asked what’s my purpose. I said I had to go to the laboratory for these requests, showing her the doctor’s prescription. The guard simply and unfeelingly said, you need to go to the ER because of your symptoms. So off I went.
I went to Step 1: Registration. Got the form and filled it up. Submitted and waited along this driveway that they converted as a waiting area for all patients undergoing the swab test. As my name was called, they confirmed what I wrote on the form and informed me of the price that I would pay.
The personnel who spoke with me informed me that I would pay around ₱13,500 if I did not have HMO. Since I was sick and shocked at the price at the same time, I just said, “Yes, I can pay that.” But after a while, I asked them if the PCR test was only around ₱4,500. And he or she (sorry, he/she was all covered up) confirmed that there were also ER fees, CBC and x-ray charges that would be added to the total. Prior to going to the hospital, we already called St. Luke’s and asked how many hours we needed to wait before getting tested and were informed that it would be 4-8hours. So when I asked the personnel, what is the waiting time? He told me that it would be 8-10 hours or more. I was actually surprised because the seats were not even full so it was that loooooong? Hmmm, but still I was optimistic that it would just be around 2-4 hours of wait.
It was like going to those health clinics and waiting for your name to be called so you need to be attentive. Good thing, we were there late in the evening so it was not that hot. It was a cool night. They have those big industrial fans in front for ventilation.
The mimeograph paper was the registration form you needed to fill up. Bring your own ballpen to minimize exposure.
Upon hearing your name called in front, you will be led to this room. The chest x-ray room. After the procedure, I went back to the Jerusalem chairs outside to wait and wonder what procedure will be done to me next.
Blood extraction. My name was called by a man in PPE with a yellow & black toolbox. He motioned (in that photo, sorry had to get a photo of him as he left me) for me to wait but, apparently, it was a sign language to stay put. He knelt down beside me, opened his toolbox and ta-dah!
It was blood extraction time! How flexible! Take note that this was done outside the ER, along the driveway converted to waiting area. Again, I waited before my name was called.
Here was the test that I’ve been waiting for—the nose and throat swab test! Would you get nervous seeing this lady holding a long cotton bud waiting to insert it into your nose? Too bad, I was too late to take the photo when she held the long cotton buds on each of her hands for the throat swab! It would have made a more intimidating picture.
The procedure was quick. The waiting game was longer than the procedures. This particular procedure was not that painful too. You know that feeling when you are picking your nose too aggressively and you accidentally scratch the sensitive part of your nose? Yes, that was the feeling I had. Quick and short.
Another waiting time for the results to come out. Actually, I just noticed these signs as I finished the 2 procedures. The laboratory results of the CBC and chest x-ray were also released. Presence of mind is also required here. Make sure you have all the results with you. I was about to leave when I remembered that they have not given my laboratory results so I had to go back (I was already along the street, ready to get into the car.)
This prescription was based only on my Health Declaration form. My throat was not checked nor was there the usual stethoscope check to see if the lungs are clear, etc. The lady just called my name and gave this prescription. She read it out loud because we both had face masks and shields on and told me to take this and that, which was pretty much clear from the prescription.
I was also told that the COVID swab test result will be sent thru my email after 48-72 hours c/o SLMC GC Cellular Immunology. This was the real waiting game—agony.
Then, I waited for the billing. I was surprised to pay at the end of the procedures and almost forgot that I have not paid. All transactions were done in front. No going to any windows or anywhere.
Please see the details. So, it is true that the RT-PCR test is only P4,300 after the discount (not sure why I was given a discount…maybe senior discount?). PhilHealth discount worth P3,409 was also reflected. As you can see, the ER fees are the reason why the bill shoots up. You are paying for all the covid precautionary measure expenses the hospital has been using (i.e., PPE, face mask, face shield, foot cover and the usual ER fees as if you are staying inside the airconditioned ER). Too bad, there were no details on this big chunk worth P7,458.83. I didn’t check these details anymore and just saw a day after. I just wanted to go home. The real waiting game has started.
Total time at St. Luke’s BGC: 4 hours (Not bad right? As usual, exaggerated lang ang 8-10 hours or more!)
True enough, the result came out even before the 48-hour mark. It came out to be NEGATIVE. We were both relieved. Praise the Lord.
Huwag magtakaw sa sweets! Hahaha!
I am just thankful for all the prayers. It truly helped a lot for me to think positive during those times. I guess it is not yet my time and I have a lot of things to do in this lifetime.
Symptoms may not be evident all at once. I may still have the sense of smell and taste but who knows when I will lose it? We just had to make a decision or forever regret it just because I knew in my heart I did not have COVID. The enemy is invisible. We also considered who may be infected and it would be too late to revive our companions at home if we did not act on time. So, have yourself tested before anything bad happens.
Lastly, let us all make ourselves healthy both in body and soul. I know it is hard to do it, but we need to do it for ourselves and our loved ones. Let us all make an effort to make this work and fight off this invisible enemy. We can do this together. Let us also continue to pray alone and with others. The power of prayer and faith will see us through.
Lastly, during those nights that I was alone, when I cannot sleep, I would pray the rosary until I can sleep. Whenever I wake up in the dark, I would continue to pray even if I don’t remember where I stopped (syempre no, nakatulog nga ako hahaha). No matter what. It was like Groundhog Day.
I would also like to thank my Bicolana mother-in-law, she always lend me her Our Lady of Peñafrancia Manto or Cloak. Second time to heal me. The first was also a scare — Shingles, the worst kind because it affected my eye which can lead me to blindness. I think I need to write about it to share my experience a couple years ago. Ang titindi ng sakit ko no?!!? I pray that there won’t be a third time!
Back to the Miraculous cloak, I slept with it, embracing and shielding me away from all the virus. We do not have any UV equipment but we did have the Miraculous cloak to protect me as I sleep.
Is this a reminder for me that I have a pending visit to Our Lady of Peñafrancia? Since this is my 2nd time to be healed, we definitely need to plan a visit to give thanks.
And coincidentally, the feast of Our Lady will be celebrated on the 3rd Saturday of September.
Live an Awesome Life,
Co-Founder, Mrs. Awesome Planet
Disclosure: I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.
P.S. A good alternative for a safe swab test experience is to schedule with the Philippine Red Cross Mandaluyong Office.