When both you and your partner have COVID-19, what happens to the kids? Two families share their story…
With the numbers of people testing positive for COVID-19 on the rise, it feels as though dealing with COVID-19 at home is an inevitable reality for families in the Philippines. But what happens when families — specifically, both parents — get COVID-19? We spoke to two parents, Patty Castillo-Camacho and Mallen Andrey, who recently went through the ordeal…
Hearing the bad news
It was her lack of smell that prompted Patty to get tested. “We’re extra cautious at home, which means we use both Lysol and bleach to clean.” says Patty. “When I couldn’t smell both, I knew something was wrong.” After hearing the alarm bells go off, she informed her husband right away, who also said he wasn’t feeling well. The next day, both of them got swabbed first thing in the morning, where they both received positive results.
For Mallen, it was her husband who had tested positive for COVID-19 first. After discovering his results, he left their home and isolated himself only for Mallen to find herself down with a fever. “I thought it was just a fever,” Mallen shares, “but on the sixth day I had a hard time breathing. I went to the hospital and they confirmed I had COVID-19 and bilateral pneumonia.”
Fear: the feeling that binds
As parents, both Patty and Mallen were distraught. They knew they had to entrust their children into the care of others. Patty, a mom to three young boys, was lucky enough to have a yaya to watch over her sons. Mallen, on the other hand, had to rely on her eldest daughter, Aianna, for everything. “She took care of her siblings (twin girls aged 7 years old and a boy, 10 years old), did all the household chores — including disinfecting the floor, laundry and bathing the twins,” Mallen says proudly.
After receiving her results, Patty acted quickly and reported it to her barangay. Though nobody in her household showed any symptoms, everyone was tested. Mallen’s children were tested too, and they found that one of her twin daughters tested positive, but only had mild symptoms.
What it feels like
“I had fever and found it difficult to breathe,” explains Mallen. “There was no room for me in the hospital so I had to home care. The oxygen, IV and dextrose was brought to our home and I had a nurse and doctor who would come and check up on me.”
For Patty, it was her husband who had severe symptoms. His temperature constantly registered at 38-40, had joint and body pains and was coughing on and off. His condition took a turn for the worst when his oxygen levels started dropping to 88; he had to be hooked up to an oxygen tank twice a day for an hour. It was losing her sense of smell and taste that triggered Patty the most, and she didn’t experience anything else, except feeling tired.
How they coped
While Mallen had her daughter Aianna to help, receiving cooked food from relatives was also a blessing that helped her family deal with COVID-19. “Having support from family and friends makes a huge difference,” shares Patty. To help with recovery, Patty and her husband took their antibiotics, practiced breathing exercises and took every chance they had to get extra sun.
Staying and thinking positive helped Mallen get through her darkest days.
“We would always start and end our day with a prayer,” she shares. “And that’s also brought us closer together.” While she still continues to use a spirometer to expand her lungs and take her medication, she’s very grateful to be on the road to recovery.
Advice for other parents with COVID-19
Be a source of strength for your kids
It’s important to remain a pillar of strength for your kids. Being strong reassures them that you’re trying your best — despite the dire circumstances.
Teach kids all the important rules surrounding personal hygiene and COVID-19
If you haven’t yet, teach your kids the proper way to wash their hands. Talk to them about the importance of sanitizing and washing hands, staying home and wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Talk to your kids about it
If you’re down with COVID-19, it’s important that you’re transparent with your kids. Explain how you’re feeling and the steps you’re taking to get better. By keeping your kids in the loop, it should ease their worries about COVID-19 and reassure them that you’re doing everything you can to get better.
While it might take a long, long while before everyone’s vaccinated, we just need to do our best and stay safe and at home whenever possible. We’re all in this together; let’s all do our part in the fight against COVID-19! You’re got this, parents!