COVID-19 Survivor reflects on 49 days in isolation

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Neaz Subhan

Statement by Neaz Subhan, who recently recovered from COVID-19:

On Sunday, May 17, 2020, I was discharged after been tested positive for Covid 19 on March 29. I spend a total of 49 days in isolation. It was an exceptionally challenging and life-changing period which I never envisaged and which I wish no one would have to experience simply because of the known devastating effects of the virus.

While, inexplicably, many here may seem oblivious of the crippling effects this pandemic has on affected individuals, their families, communities and the country as a whole, I saw firsthand and therefore respectfully believe I am in a better position to offer related advice on the need for all to heed the advisories and take maximum precaution to help stop the spread of Covid 19.

Unfortunately, and inevitably, Covid 19 has attracted unnecessary stigmatization for both patients and their families. Sadly, it has even extended to healthcare workers with some refused accessed to public transportation as one manifestation.

This must be confronted through sustained education from all possible fronts for the virus does not discriminate with regard to time, ethnicity, politics, religion or social status. I will endeavor to do my best to aid in awareness for prevention and for the removal of stigmatization. I remain available to participate in any related effort.

Spending 49 days away from my family was naturally difficult, however, even more impacting was being enshrouded in uncertainty over what my eventual outcome would be and when clearance would be achieved. With every passing day, that gradually eroded my mental strength weakening any inherent ability to fight and not give up.

With the virus being new and research ongoing, I learnt that some patients take much longer than the expected 14-day period to be cleared. Unfortunately, I was in that category along with a few others here and overseas. I therefore reluctantly resigned myself to the uncertainty of when, taking some comfort knowing I was not alone.

While there were moments during that passage of time when I may have emotionally succumbed, the grace of Allah; the support and prayers of my family, friends and others, many of whom are not personally known to me; the sustained and valiant efforts of the dedicated doctors and nurses; their support teams; treatment and care administered, are responsible for my recovery and eventual discharge.

I remain profoundly grateful for their efforts and that of the Minister of Public Health and her team not just for my recovery, but for all others during my isolation and to which I can attest.

While there were challenges in some related areas as the effects of the virus and its treatment evolved and there are areas for improvement, the treatment and care I received and witnessed for many others, were beyond my expectation dissipating my harboured perceptions of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). I am now enlightened about it capabilities.

I witnessed how emotionally devastated the medical teams were when, despite their best efforts, a patient unfortunately succumbed. I also witnessed their tears of joy when others recovered. It hallmarks their primary focus of doing all within their powers to save lives. For that, they must be commended and their efforts recognized.

They are truly, in spite of their own personal challenges, our frontline heroes in the fight against Covid 19.

Many lessons were leant during those 49 days; lessons that must be heeded and shared; lessons I hope that can be helpful to others; lessons that could save lives. In the end, I am thankful and happy that I survived.