“Hindi ko akalaing tatamaan ako agad (I never thought I would be infected immediately),” Dr. Grace Caras-Torres said.
Caras-Torres is patient no. 194.
In her Facebook post on Monday (March 23), she said the war on COVID-19 was just beginning at the time, but she was already one of its casualties.
She began experiencing high-grade fevers, body pains, and loss of appetite. She thought it was chikungunya virus (CHIKV) which comes from a mosquito bite.
“Saka lang nag-sink in sakin na posibleng Covid nga ito nung malaman kong may symptoms din ang kasama kong mag-opera (It only just dawned on me that this might be COVID-19 when I found out that my colleague, who did the surgery with me, also had the same symptoms),” she said.
The fear she felt was not for herself but for her loved ones. It was the fear that she might have exposed them with the virus. She thought about her 4-year-old daughter and her parents.
“Hindi bale nang ako, huwag na sila (Let it just be me, spare them),” she said to herself. She remembered crying as she began her isolation.
She celebrated her 42nd birthday alone in her room, grateful for reaching that age.
She spends her time on social media while battling the physical and mental struggles that come with the virus.
Four of her colleagues have already passed away.
According to her, doctors in Wuhan said that if a patient is experiencing gastrointestinal (GI), they are in worse conditions. She began experiencing diarrhea, which worsened her fear.
“Kailangan pa ako ng anak ko (My daughter still needs me),” she said.
But despite the fears, she still bears courage. Despite the tears, she still bears hope. She longs for her daughter and in her isolation, the warrior in her is still fighting.
“Sasabak pa ako sa giyera (I still have a war to fight),” she said.
She advised everyone to check on the people who are under quarantine because they are not just fighting the virus, they are also fighting themselves. The mental struggles of those in isolation also need to be treated, she said.
“Sana matapos na ito. Sana gumaling na kami. Sana wala nang mamatay (I hope this ends. I hope we recover. I hope no one dies anymore),” she said. — AAC