Medical doctor shares her story as a Covid survivor

BAGUIO CITY – (10 March 2021) – “Let us keep our bodies and minds healthy for the coronavirus-2019 virus attacks easily when we are quite sickly.”

This was the advice of Dr. Elizabeth Solang of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and a Covid-19 survivor during flag-raising rites at City Hall, March 8, as the Summer Capital celebrated International Women’s Day and launched Women’s Month activities.

“Juana Laban sa Pandemya, Kayang-kaya!” is this year’s celebration theme.

“We should never ever  put aside the strict adherence to minimum health protocols like wearing of face mask and face shield, frequent washing of hands and physical distancing,” Solang, a widow and grandmother,  stressed.

She pointed out that as women and men, “we are bound by our duty to keep our families and communities, disease-free.” 

From a medical frontliner  to a Covid-19 positive patient, Solang said she learned of having the disease during the city’s second month of the pandemic lockdown last year after taking a swab test.  She was “shocked and speechless” when she learned of the result.

Solang was then whisked via ambulance to the BGHMC  where she underwent several standard medical procedures and given  anti-bacterial and anti-viral medications together with other patients as part of treatment protocols.

She said her family and close contacts were immediately traced and tested for the virus.  Solang was elated to find out later that none of them were infected by the deadly disease.

She was then put in an isolation facility for 16 days for medication and to check for further signs and symptoms  of the virus.

“At first, I told myself that I will fight this virus.  A year past senior age and with no serious health problems, I should not fear this virus,” Solang said.

She admitted, however, that the fear of the virus was difficult to sway as she passed the time  by regularly disinfecting and cleaning her room and herself.

“The days were long but the nights were longer. I longed for sleep which seemed to evade me forever.  I had erratic blood pressure, crying episodes and frequent palpitations.  Was this anxiety or was I sinking into depression,” she asked herself.

Knowing that she had to do something, Solang put on her shoes and danced.  When she got tired, she wrote down her thoughts on paper or on a laptop computer to keep herself busy.

She learned from doctors, nurses, nursing aides and attendants, that many of the women were the main providers of their families.

With the use of cellphones, Solang said she and the other women patients were able to bond with each other and create an informal “support group” where they shared information, prayed and lifted each other’s spirits.

Finally, being discharged from hospital isolation after medical examinations and tests showed that she no longer had the virus, Solang was told to still have herself quarantined for 14 days which she faithfully abided.

She expressed her gratitude to the hospital staff and others who have made her recovery possible through their selflessness, skill and commitment.

“I am eternally grateful for their sacrifices that saved me.  I have recovered and I am stronger because of the strength they shared and helping hands they lent,” Solang said. – Gaby B. Keith