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Reflections of a COVID-19 patient

By Abeer Jabaji , Family Flavours - May 16,2021 - Last updated at May 17,2021

Photo courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

By Abeer Jabaji
Personal Development Coach and Classical Homeopath

The voice on the other end of the mobile was loud and clear, “Hi Abeer, I think you should test for Corona. Our friend tested positive.”

“What?!,” I responded, my voice weak and trembling. I felt like an electrical current was coursing through my body.

It was less than two days ago that all three of us had sat in a small office working on a project. We were wearing our masks, but felt suffocated after a couple of hours and got lax. At times we would pull our masks below our noses and exchange pens and calculators.

News of a COVID-19 positive case feels like a life sentence after all we hear on the news and social media, with the escalating number of infected people and the rising death toll. I headed back home, refusing to believe that I could be infected. Thank God my daughter was outside Amman and I was alone in the house.

In a state of denial, I didn’t want to do a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Instead, I called my neighbour, who is a medical lab manager and asked for his advice. He told me how to follow a particular protocol he uses for recovery. It was Thursday, and Friday and Saturday were lockdown days. I rushed to the pharmacy and bought the recommended items and went back home. I did not feel anything other than the start of a little cold; however, panic set in. That weekend was the longest of my life. I spent it taking my temperature every half hour, drinking hot water, swallowing vitamins and reading articles about COVID-19. 

 

From denial to gratitude

 

Full-blown cold symptoms developed by the fourth day, like they usually do with me when I get one: a lot of sneezing and a runny nose. On the sixth day of imposed isolation in my room and still convinced that I was Corona free, my daughter who came back after the weekend brought some takeaway food. As I ate, I told her that the food was not tasty at all. In fact, it didn’t taste like anything. I couldn’t even smell it. Oh no! I rushed to the kitchen cabinet and took out a bottle of Clorox bleach and stuck my nose inside. I couldn’t smell anything! 

I went around trying to smell things, anything: Menthol, coffee, cinnamon — no smell. “It can’t be!” I uttered to myself, with my heart racing, my head spinning and my thoughts all over the place. The loss of taste and smell was like nothing I had experienced before — with any cold. As my cousin, a doctor, told me, we eat with our noses and not our mouths. So once we lose our sense of smell, we lose our taste. 

The next day, and after a week of denial, I went to get a PCR test. At 7pm, I got the dreaded message. I tested positive! Panic set in as I dragged myself back to my room to self-quarantine again. It has been almost four months since I first tested. I was fortunate and very grateful that my symptoms were mild even though I tested positive again after 24 days. This experience will stay with me for a while because of these extraordinary times for us all. Here is a list of theories I came up with based on my COVID-19 experience: 

•While conspiracy theories are fun to conjure up and discuss, they stop being fun once one gets infected with COVID-19. It’s realising that sometimes things you believed to be true are just figments of your imagination once you are put to the test. We take things for granted most of the time, but once faced with a threatening situation, we reexamine our life priorities and start changing accordingly — human nature is very fickle. We move from being staunch believers in something to changing our minds once we experience it 

•Never underestimate the power of a nasal swab in times of coronavirus pandemic . It’s a game-changer. Either you’re in with the outcasts or you’re with the “I told you so” group. I was mildly bullied by some people I know when I contracted COVID-19. Well, these same people later became infected themselves. When we perceive a person as different from us, we put them in a box and judge them, not realising that we may end up in the same box one day. Let’s not judge another person until we put ourselves in their shoes

•This one is for the Corona bullies: Many people will distance themselves from those who contract COVID-19 until they get infected themselves. Then, they become their best friends. We tend to distance ourselves from others because we think they are not up to our standard or social level. We believe we are better than them. But once we face a knockdown or lose our status, these same people we scorned are the same ones who will come to help us. Let’s aim to be accepting of others from all walks of life. One is not better, smarter or wiser; our circumstances are simply different. If others were afforded the same privileges we have, I bet they would excel too

•Those who tested positive and have their names registered with the government were not allowed to go out. Those who got infected but did not do a test could go anywhere. It’s up to us to be true to ourselves. We don’t need a force or a government to keep us in check. We are our own integrity. As Wayne Dyer, a self-help and spiritual author and motivational speaker says, “always live with honesty and make truth your most important attribute”

•In life, some systems work while others don’t. You will get a phone call from the Ministry of Health to ask about your symptoms in order to improve the Aman app while the Aman app keeps crashing. Many of us will keep crashing unless we work on ourselves, our inner system. Unless we truly believe in ourselves and our abilities, we will keep sabotaging ourselves. Let’s not listen or compare ourselves to others. Each one of us is on a different path and a different journey on this earth. What is right for someone may not be right for another. So let’s trust our intuition

•Enjoy the little things in life, for they turn out to be the big things. Enjoy eating, sleeping on the sofa and not moving at all. The little things in life are the important things. A small act of kindness towards a stranger, a phone call to a friend in need, these are the things that matter. Australian hospice nurse Bronnie Ware asked people on their death bed what they regretted the most and here are five things they said: 

1.I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me 

2.I wish I hadn’t worked so hard 

3.I wish I had the courage to express my feelings 

4.I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

5.I wish I had allowed myself to be happier 

 

In the end, let us always remember to be grateful every day. Feeling grateful will bring us more opportunities to be grateful for. Stay safe, everybody!

 

Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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