--Written on 4 March 2022.
My husband tested positive, 6 days after our wedding.
It was a Saturday afternoon. He was feeling slightly feverish and decided to test with the ART kit. I was mopping the floor when he looked up and said, “I am positive”.
We were both calm. We didn’t expect the virus to catch us so quickly, in less than a week after our wedding. Nevertheless, we were thankful it happened only after all was done.
To be honest, I was unusually calm. I finished mopping the entire house, while he googled what to do next. After I was done with the chores, I quietly sat down to let the “positive” news sink in, before I took out a set of ART kit.
I noticed that I trembled a little, just before I clearly tested negative.
Rightfully, we were supposed to take our booster jab the next day – Sunday. Since he was already positive, I had to reschedule mine to a later date. My consideration was that I cannot be down from the booster side effects too.
Imagine two sick souls in the house, who’s going to take care of who? The daily meals. The household chores. We had to rely on ourselves.
He booked an appointment and quickly went to a Quick Test Centre near our home. After reaching home, he soon isolated himself into the master bedroom while I quickly gathered some clothes, daily essentials like toothbrush and soap etc, into the study room and common bathroom.
It dawned on me that the sofa bed was going to be my rest area for the next few days. And I felt sad. We had no idea where he could have caught the virus, because we did almost everything together. We were just beginning to adapt to this new phase of life – living together in the same house, waking up every day with a loved one by our sides. Then, we had to be separated from each other.
Deep down, I knew I had no time to be sad. I had other urgent things to do. I had to clean up and sanitise the house, stock up on the cleaning agents and tools, food ingredients, medications and many more. I even made a few trips down to the supermarket downstairs and at the nearest shopping mall.
It felt like I was racing against time. I have so many things to deal and settle.
I have no idea when I might be positive (or am I already battling something inside?). Which surfaces did he touched? How should I “protect” myself? Where should I wipe and sanitise? How “clean” is clean? Who can I ask for advice? What do I do next?
A hundred different thoughts raced through my mind. There were a million things which I wished I knew.
It wasn’t easy caring for a patient. He was lethargic with a high fever. He experienced headache, itchy throat, cough symptoms and felt groggy all day. It felt helpless, because I couldn’t be there for him when he needed me.
I could only steal glances at him from a distance, when I opened the door to bring him food, water and cleared his rubbish. I couldn’t wet a towel and put on his head. I couldn’t hold his hand and look at him in his eyes to assure him that he would be okay. He was all alone in a room with 4 walls.
Which was worst – being positive or negative - the positive and sick soul inside the room in isolation or the worried negative caregiver outside the room trying to stay safe and Covid-free?
The days were long. I had no one to talk to. I didn’t get to see him more than 30 seconds every time I opened the door. I had so many worries and doubts, I didn’t know if what I was doing was right or wrong?
I prepared and cooked three daily meals, separated the utensils for him, cleaned surfaces at home, boiled water at every hour-interval, and did the chores. We video call each other every night. I chanted and prayed sincerely for his recovery every day and night, for us to get through this episode together and emerge stronger as a couple.
On his fourth day, I tested positive.
That was after much fatigue, cleaning and sanitising work, precautions and all. I ran a fever, experienced flu and cough symptoms. Truth to be told, the moment I started feeling cold and coughing, I knew I was soon to be positive.
I was clearly under a lot of stress and mental turmoil from being paranoid. Similarly, I went to the Quick Test Centre near our home and confirmed positive.
It wasn’t a happy news that I was positive, after holding on for so long. But I guess, the happy thing was that he no longer needs to be isolated since I was positive too.
This was our conundrum. We were unsure if he should continue to isolate since he was on his road to recovering and I just turned positive. Nevertheless, we decided that since there are already two positives in the house, so we shall just let it go and not isolate then.
He was happy to be free to roam around the house. And I was glad that I can finally have a nice homecooked meal with him at the dining table. It was so precious.
Today is my day 4. It felt long, yet time passes by in the blink of an eye.
We have had many achievements unlocked so far. We took turns and managed to whip up many delicious meals for lunch and dinner over the last few days. We shared the household chores load, so far so good. We watched Netflix and enjoyed those long dialogues together.
Our parents delivered loads of love over to us. Our friends, colleagues and bosses checked on us too.
A learning takeaway from this Covid episode:
The daily numbers scare me a little for the past week. I have noticed more friends and family members down with Covid too. It’s unclear how many people in Singapore have actually been infected, because not all infections are identified.
Sometimes, the lack of empathy is real. It feels like it doesn't concern or hurt you, unless it happened to you.
With each passing day, I fear a little less. Hang in there, for a while more.
Click here to read this letter to Covid-19, written in June 2020.