What Is It Like To Be A COVID-19 Patient?

We see news, pictures, and videos every day that reminds us of how deadly the coronavirus is, especially since it’s been declared a global pandemic.

While some remain vigilant and extra careful in protecting themselves against the virus, there are still others who we read about in the news that seem to take the situation lightly.

That said, one Twitter user decided to shed light on what it’s like to become a victim of COVID-19.

Zulfandi Haris was confirmed positive for COVID-19 on 9 March and was admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) for 12 days to undergo treatment.

He had close contact with his wife who was first tested positive for the virus, causing him to be infected as well. The ambulance came to their house to bring them to the hospital and they were placed in separate rooms of the same ward.

According to Zulfandi, the doctor only treated symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough or respiratory problems, since there is no treatment for the virus.

He had to undergo a swab screening test six times throughout the period of his stay as patients would need to get a negative result consecutively to be confirmed negative for the virus. Zulfandi wrote that there are some who tested negative during their first screening but tested positive again for the virus the second time they did the screening.

Zulfandi attached a few pictures along with his tweets to document his experience as a COVID-19 patient.

There’s pictures of him arriving at the hospital to get his wife tested for the virus. According to him, his wife had a fever in the first three days of being infected while he was asymptomatic, showing no symptoms of the virus throughout his period of being infected. 

The test was conducted via drive-thru, and the process only took 10 to 15 minutes. The results came out after 2 days and as soon as his wife tested positive for the virus, they disinfected their house before the ambulance came to transport his wife to the hospital.

He was immediately summoned to the hospital for testing and was later brought in by the ambulance, after he was confirmed to be infected by the virus.

Before leaving, he told his son to stay with his relatives, as “mummy and daddy are sick”. They remained calm throughout but he couldn’t help but shed a tear as he was leaving his son.. Luckily, he revealed that his son was not infected by the virus.

There is a special entrance for COVID-19 patients that will take them directly to an isolated ward.

They were given healthy and delicious food four times a day in disposable containers. The situation at the hospital was calm.

He said sometimes they can't differentiate between the nurses, doctors or cleaners as whoever enters the ward must wear full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Despite the rooms being air-conditioned, the healthcare workers were still drenched in sweat after being in their PPEs for 12 hours straight. Once they took off their PPEs, they would need to throw them out immediately even after they’ve just gone for a toilet break or prayers.

The cleaners also need to quickly disinfect and clean the area once a patient has been discharged to make room for new patients. They immediately clean every corner of the beds and even replace the curtains.

He also showed how X-rays were taken if you are a COVID-19 patient. You are unable to leave your rooms throughout the whole treatment. Hence, the hospital staff will come to treat you.

On the 11th day and the last night that he was there, he was transferred to the Open Ward with 30 other COVID-19 patients. He felt uncomfortable at the time to be placed in the same room as those who are still positive for the virus, so he stayed up all night, praying to get out quickly. On the 12th day, he was finally discharged.

He thanked those who have been with him throughout his journey as a COVID-19 patient, from the dedicated healthcare workers who tirelessly treated him and all the other patients, his supportive family, to even his fellow wardmates who went through this journey together and have now become his close friends.

As a final message, he reminds the public to not stigmatize patients who were infected by the virus.

“We consider this our test” he said.

“However, to avoid it from ever happening, it’s better for us to protect ourselves & our families too,” he added.

“I'm Zulafandi Haris, now I'm NEGATIVE COVID-19” he signed off.

Zulfandi’s experience is one of the thousand cases of COVID-19 here in Malaysia. As of today (26 March), there are 2,031 cases of COVID-19 in Malaysia with 23 deaths and 215 patients that have recovered.

Let this be a reminder for everyone to remain cautious and follow all the precautionary measures given to fight against COVID-19. Stay safe everyone!

By: Siti Farhana Sheikh Yahya