I did it, and I did it successfully.
Being alone and sick is frightening.
When you're sick, you want someone to take care of you, to hold you, to be there for you, to nurse you back to health. Just like I do as a nurse: I take care of sick people.
Since being in America, I’ve had to adjust to being so far away from home - away from my dad, my mom, and my younger sister. They all live in the Philippines. I made the move here to Louisiana because I know America has great opportunities for nurses - opportunities that will provide me personal and professional growth, opportunities that will provide my family and I financial stability.
My transition here in the U.S. was not really that difficult. Thanks to my friends, relatives, co-workers, and to the Filipino community here in Louisiana. They made me feel welcomed. They made me feel that I am home even away from home. After about a year I felt comfortable and settled into my new normal. That was also the time when I made another big decision to go back to school and get my master’s degree. I applied and got accepted by Aspen University under the program of Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Public Health. For the past two years, I have been juggling school and my full-time job as a nurse. Unfortunately, just as I was in the midst of my last course of the final semester, I got sick with COVID-19.
As one could imagine, I had so many mixed emotions. There is a fear of death or, at least, becoming critically ill. During that time, no one could give definite answers about COVID-19. Everything was, and still is, under scientific investigations.
I sunk deep into self-pity, considering I am living alone, all by myself. I am away from the comfort of my family, from the comfort of my home, from the comfort of just being around people who really care about me. Way back home, we may not be able to afford the luxuries of life, but at least our family lives comfortably. My parents always made sure that all of the necessities were provided. When my sister and I were still in school, our parents even preferred that we had a house helper. Our parents wanted us to focus only on our studies and not worry about household chores. Here in the US, it is different. There is no one to cook for you, no one to do your laundry and clean your house. Here, I need to do all the stuff that I once didn’t have to. Sadly, I also need to do all of it,even in times of sickness and powerlessness. During that time when I got infected, I just wished that someone could physically be here with me. But, for obvious reasons, that’s not possible right now.
Despite my unfortunate situation of being COVID-19 positive, I still feel blessed to know that I am surrounded with genuine and caring people. My family, relatives, and friends from different parts of the world were offering prayers for my recovery. My family never failed to call me every day to check on me. I remember my mom setting her alarm every six hours. She didn’t mind waking up in the middle of the night just for me to be reminded that I’m already due for my next dose.
My co-workers were also sweet, I received messages from them asking how I was doing. They were even offering help for whatever I needed. I also have my closest friends here in Louisiana, who made sure that I had food, medications, and disinfecting articles. Briana and her family did several trips for my groceries. I made an arrangement with them that whenever they bring me stuff, they will just leave it in front of my door to avoid any close contact. I will just wait a couple of minutes for them to walk away before I open my door to pick it up. The same arrangement goes with Nilda, who generously shares food whenever she cooks. Since I don’t have a car, Jerosh was also there with no hesitation offering me to be brought to places whenever needed. I made it to the drive-thru testing center stress-free because of him. I really appreciated all of them. I am so grateful that God blessed me with these amazing people.
It took me more than a week to recover. I must say, doing school and working full-time was really a challenge. Adding COVID-19 to the picture even made it more difficult. I remember that time when I was stressed with my symptoms and at the same time thinking of deadlines to catch and research papers to finish. I had an option to ask my instructor for considerations like deadline extension. However, I thought it’s not necessary anymore. I know I can handle it. I told myself, “You’ve been working really hard on this for the past two years. You are almost there. Don’t allow COVID-19 to delay you from crossing the finish line.”
I added, “Have faith, you’ll make it out alive.”
Eventually, I recovered from COVID-19. I graduated with my Master’s degree during COVID.
I Made It Out Alive
Ervin Marc D. Aranas, MSN RN CCRN