I am Case #48 of COVID-19. Yesterday, I was discharged.
Salt&Light // February 18, 2020, 2:37 pm
Photo by Jair Lázaro on UnsplashPhoto.
Among the 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Grace Assembly of God (AOG) church is Case #48, a male who was admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on February 10 and was confirmed to have the virus the next day.
Yesterday (February 17, 2020), Case 48 was the first case from Grace AOG to be discharged from hospital. This is his first-person account of his brush with COVID-19.
The day that I got a call from the Ministry of Health (MOH) that I tested positive for COVID-19, I was left speechless. No one would expect to be carrying the virus.
MOH gave me slightly under an hour to get ready before the ambulance would come to take me into isolation at NCID. I told my wife, gathered my necessities and bade goodbye before the medical staff took me away.
I avoided touching my family because the last thing I wanted to do was to infect my loved ones. It was a hurried farewell.
“Physically, I felt in the pink. Doctors said I was asymptomatic … But mentally, emotionally and spiritually, it was a challenging time.”
As I sat in the ambulance, I felt unsettled and uncertain of what to expect. Upon reaching NCID, I was shortly warded in a fairly large isolation room.
To prevent contamination, and due to the contagious nature of the virus, there are two glass doors to the room, and a food hatch in the wall for the medical staff to deliver food trays and medication to the patients. All nurses and doctors put on protective gear before approaching any patient .
The nurses attached a tracker on me to monitor my movements and patched me up wirelessly for minimal contact. They communicated via a desk phone next to my bed. To say the least, I felt like a leper and a prisoner.
There were no tests, no treatment or medication administered on my first day. As I sat in isolation, my mobile was buzzing and ringing off the hook. I needed to update my family, my leaders, my team and, at the back of my head, I thought about the people whom I had met in the past couple of weeks.
At that moment, guilt set in. I was concerned and felt guilty about the implications this would mean for my family and me.
“My wife’s text said: “Not gonna let this rob my praise. Jesus is good and His mercies never fail! … Let’s raise a Hallelujah!”
When my case was made known publicly on mainstream media, it was a rough time. It did not help that some information published about me was inaccurate. I faced backlash and harsh comments from the public, and even those who know me.
My team and my leaders were extremely understanding and they understood the full context of my situation . They checked in on me constantly and kept encouraging me throughout my stay in NCID.
My first nasal swab test for COVID-19 came back and the result was negative! My family and friends celebrated along with me and were hopeful for the next day’s test result. But the happiness was short-lived. The results for the second nasal swab test came back positive.
That news hit me hard. I did not understand: “Were those my results?? Did they make a mistake?? How can that be?? Can they administer the test swab on me again??”
Physically, I felt in the pink. Doctors said I was asymptomatic. But mentally, emotionally and spiritually, it was a challenging time.
“I needed to trust that He is working even when I don’t see it or feel it.”
There were so many calls, questions and meetings I had to take. I was very discouraged, like I was led on to feel hopeful and then a spanner in the works … and it all went south.
However, a text message which came from my wife reminded me: “Not gonna let this rob my praise. Jesus is good and His mercies never fail!! They are new EVERY morning. Let’s raise a Hallelujah!!”
At that moment, I went against the grain of my flesh and stopped the whining in my spirit.
“God began to bring a peace and calm into my spirit, reassuring me that regardless of what happens, He is still in control.
I put my phone away and worshipped. My hope, my peace, my joy and comfort were not dependent on the outcome of my test results. It was in Christ – the Anchor of my Faith. God is my delight, He is my song!!
My third test came back equivocal – undetermined. This meant that the test did not count and I had to start the cycle of tests all over again.
The doctors and nurses were also very empathetic towards my situation. This time, God began to bring a peace and calm into my spirit, reassuring me that regardless of what happens, He is still in control and I had a stirring that He will bring me out in due time.
All I needed to do was to have that faith and trust that He is working even when I don’t see it or feel it. I continued to remain hopeful in Christ and began to praise and worship through the whole situation.
As I think about it, it is in our weakness that He is strong. In our cries that He hears and answers. In our distress that we are set free.
It is when we come to the understanding of how limited and broken we are that we realise and see a glimpse of the magnitude of the grace of God over our lives.
Yes , it was a trying period for my family and I, and for the church.
Yes, there was much uncertainty throughout the episode and it was so easy for anyone to simply take a stance to condemn others for what has happened.
Yet, it was through this adversity that we witnessed a move of God through the movement of people.
“While the enemy wanted to isolate us, the body of Christ came even stronger to unite.”
While I sat in isolation and my family was quarantined, I saw the tireless support of encouragement and tangible love that the community was pouring out.
While our church had closed its premises for two weeks, this did not hinder people from meeting online together as a community to pray for our church and those affected.
Cell groups also continued online – thank God for technology!
“The Church rallied together to intercede, to pray, to worship without the initiation of her leaders.”
Churches across Singapore reached out and prayed alongside, bringing encouragement during such a time as this.
The Church rallied together to intercede, to pray, to worship without the initiation of her leaders. Members and friends came to serve and deliver food, groceries and care packages to those on Home Quarantine Order (HQO).
While the enemy wanted to isolate us, the body of Christ came even stronger to unite.
I interacted with one of the nurses and told him I wanted to be home where my family is and not here in isolation. He said it is the same for him too. He has a young child around the age of my son and his wife is pregnant.
These healthcare workers work round the clock, their leave has been frozen and some of them are separated from their families.
Let them not be forgotten, under-appreciated or treated like the plague.
Another nurse from India asked if I had a Bible, and being a fellow believer, she began to encourage me to stay strong and trust God that He is good and He will help us overcome.
“A nurse from India asked if I had a Bible, and being a fellow believer, she began to encourage me to stay strong.”
The next two swab tests were negative for COVID-19 and that became clear when the doctor walked through the doors without any protective gear to congratulate me and inform that I was free from COVID-19!
I was overjoyed that I would be discharged without any quarantine. My body had fought the virus and I am a COVID-19 survivor! I got myself into a taxi and headed home to reunite with my family.
Through this, I have learnt the depth of my own failings and blindness. I have wrestled with His silence and I have been frustrated that I didn’t understand all that I wanted to know.
Yet through this, I saw the goodness of who He is and His unfailing love towards us.
We want to learn quick while He wants us to learn deep. We want an outcome but He wants to refine our obedience. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)