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Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Thoughts on the Pandemic and the Enhanced Community Quarantine

I used to pride myself on knowing how to respond to difficult 
situations. Even if there may be times I do not know whether 
what I do makes a huge dent on changing a situation for the 
better,I do what is needed to the best of my ability. 

The events that transpired in the past weeks have made me 
feel vulnerable. A pandemic, COVID-19, that started in Wuhan, 
China caught the country off-guard.  A number of individuals
who were admitted to the hospitals showed signs of influenza-
like illness. Many of them returned to the country from their
travels abroad. As of April 10, 2020 there were more than 
4000 individuals who have been infected by the virus and 
more than 200 who have died including  medical personnel.

I feel like I’m walking on a deserted alley with an invincible 
enemy lurking around, ready to pounce given an opportunity. 
No one is exempt from the possibility of getting this virus. 
The elderly and those who have pre-existing health conditions 
are particularly at risk. I’m pre-diabetic; I have a wound that 
is taking too long to heal. It was when my husband, the most 
disciplined in our family regarding food and other health 
matters, came up with chills that I realized the virus may 
really hit any one of us at any time. Thankfully, he did not 
have any other symptoms, eventually getting better. 

I realized how important it is to draw up a plan in the event 
that one of us may get sick or die because of the virus. Much 
as it is difficult, it is important and necessary to talk about 
these things so that the surviving family members would not
be left confused and pained with the death of their loved ones.
Some of the questions that need to be discussed by the elders
in the family are:Who shall bring the sick person to 
the hospital? How shall the sick be transported to the hospital?
Who shall be in charge of the finances and getting the food 
for the dinner table? Who shall be the second-liner if the 
parents get sick? To whom shall the care of the minor 
children be entrusted?

It is crucial that the family unit is united during this critical 
period. It is however  important to be compassionate and 
understanding with each other given the stress that the 
situation is bringing to each member of the family. This is 
easier said than done. Many households are being pulled 
apart while living in the same house given the uncertainty
surrounding the pandemic. 

There were times that my husband and I got angry with each other 
during the past weeks. What was helpful for us was being open to 
each other about our concerns and allowing breathing space for 
resolving things. We realize that what matters at the end of the day 
is our commitment and love for each other and for our family.

It is helpful to remind myself of the things I am thankful for in spite of the uncertainty of the pandemic. Yes, we can still go outside of our house to get our much-needed sunlight. I appreciate dinner time in the family, where we are able to talk about things aside from developments on the pandemic. My husband and I take turns in cooking batch meals even if these are only variants of our favorite nilagang manok. 

It  is likewise helpful for me to list down things that I can do, what my family can do given the quarantine.  I follow a schedule since I am working from home. My husband is working on a mathematical model regarding trends in the COVID 19 pandemic in our country and Southeast Asia. I wonder if there is already a trend towards a much-diminished curve. My younger daughter is reviewing her notes as part of her online learning for her Circuit class.  I read and collate materials on resiliency and mental health so I may share these with my students online. I am also part of a volunteer team that does counseling for frontline medical personnel. 

I’m thinking of my eldest daughter who lives and works in another city, far away from us. I know that she’s a kick-ass person who knows how to handle different situations. Her husband is also a good person who cares for her. I’m confident that  they will be able to manage this challenging period of living under the enhanced community quarantine aka lockdown.

I pray that my relatives, especially my sister, are safe from harm’s way. My sister is one person I deeply respect and care for. She has endured many difficult times in her life, survived and thrived. She has given so much of herself to me and to many others.


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