MADYL Cayanong-Damuag never thought the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) would claim three family members.
But in less than a month, her father, former Department of Labor and Employement-Central Visayas director Elias Cayanong, 67; her uncles Emmanuel, 64, and Eliseo, 59, would fall victim to the pandemic.
Damuag told SunStar Cebu that her father started showing symptoms on June 9, 2020, a day after her 91-year-old grandmother Concepcion died.
The retired public official, who was about to undergo chemotheraphy, suffered from Stage 1 Lung Cancer.
Her grandmother arrived in Cebu earlier this year from Canada as she had wanted to spend her last days with her children.
“From what I know from my aunt and uncles, Lola (Concepcion) wanted to see Daddy (Elias). That was the main reason of her coming home since Daddy had his lung surgery last December. Despite the risks, Lola came home to see him. But because of the lockdown, they weren’t able to go back to Canada for her medical treatment which was scheduled last April,” she said.
She said her grandmother had an undisclosed type of cancer.
When she got sick and her condition worsened, Damuag said, her father and her uncles took care of her and never left her side.
“I think nobody expected it to be Covid since she was already 91 and had cancer. They thought her condition was deteriorating because she missed her treatment, although she was never really tested so we can’t really confirm,” Damuag said.
She said her father and her uncles had been staying in their ancestral house since March after her grandmother got sick.
When her grandmother died on June 9, Damuag asked her father to immediately get tested for Covid-19 since he was immunocompromised.
Two days later, her uncle Emmanuel had difficulty breathing and had to be brought to a private hospital. He died Saturday night, June 13.
Damuag’s father was brought to the hospital on Friday, June 12. He died Sunday morning, June 14.
Eliseo, the youngest brother, also died the same day. He was rushed to the hospital after he had difficulty breathing but he was declared dead on arrival.
Their deaths stunned the family.
Damuag said they still don’t know how they contracted the disease.
“We don’t know how it started. It could be from exposure to visitors or it could be because Daddy was exposed while at the hospital for his chemo sessions. It could be that my uncles also went out of the house, we’re not really sure,” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Damuag said her father remained upbeat until the end.
“When we had videocalls, we’d always joke around so he would be happy in case that day would be his last. He asked me not to cry because it would only make his heart ache even more,” she said in a mix of Cebuano and English.
Damuag admitted that some of them underestimated Covid-19, but it taught them a harsh lesson.
“Usually some people would think that doing precautionary measures is overreacting and unnecessary. But if we take those precautions seriously, they could save lives,” Damuag said in Cebuano. (JKV)