COVID-19 survivor’s son shares journey to bring dad home
MANILA, Philippines—“Everything was happening so fast. I was panicking. I was scared. I wasn’t prepared to lose my dad.”
For one son of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient, witnessing the illness from the sidelines was a battle against anxiety and losing hope.
Miggy Azurin, 27, stayed at The Medical City in Pasig day and night even if there was no room for him and the companions of other patients while his dad, 56-year-old businessman Jojy Azurin, was treated for COVID-19.
“When they told me they had to intubate my dad, I cried so much outside the ER,” Miggy said on Facebook last April 1 as he looked back at the struggles he went through when he was looking after his dad.
However, things were looking up as he added that his dad was finally out of the intensive care unit (ICU). Jojy, in his hospital gown, can be seen in a photo beaming with the sign “I survived COVID-19.”
Days later, on April 6, Miggy announced, “Dad is home!” He also dedicated his Facebook post to the frontliners of The Medical City.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be at the forefront of our generation’s worst health crisis. They are literally putting their lives on the line so families can welcome home their loved ones,” he said.
His father’s guardian
As with many patients, finding a hospital was an ordeal of its own for Miggy. Hospital after hospital would not admit his dad when he had to be rushed last March 19.
Just the day before, Jojy had taken a swab test for COVID-19. Although they would later learn he was positive for the disease, Miggy said his dad had no travel history or exposure to other positive patients. However, he did have fever “on and off” for two weeks and would later be diagnosed with pneumonia.
Miggy recalled on Facebook March 20 that to get a room at the hospital, he “camped out” on the driveway as his dad’s condition worsened.
“When we got there, it was a crazy scene. Dozens of people brought their loved ones to the COVID Response Unit in Medical City,” he told INQUIRER.net.
“You sense also how stressful it was for the staff. Everyone seemed a bit agitated but it was completely understandable. Patients were brought in the unit and guardians had no choice but to stay outside and wait for updates,” he added.
After the long wait to get in the hospital, the news came that his dad had to be intubated, but that there was no space in the intensive care unit (ICU). Jojy was put to sleep and stayed in the emergent section of the emergency room (ER) for the meantime.
Miggy, who is one of five kids, became the designated guardian. “ER required that a relative must be present outside since dad couldn’t make his own decisions while asleep,” he explained.
“The first night, I stayed in the driveway with other people who were waiting. The other nights, I stayed in the waiting area of the ER. There were no other places for guardians to sleep in,” he said.
Family and friends brought him food and clothes since he could not go home—it would be a week until he would able to do so while he kept watch over his dad.
Besides the lack of a proper place to rest, the uncertainty also proved tough. “It was hard to sleep in the waiting room and to stay patient with his progress. Updates came sparingly,” he said.
“It didn’t help also that the news of more people dying from the virus was all over my feed. All of this along with just the general anxiety of this time was difficult to manage,” he added.
Although he had to stay alone in the hospital, he did find hope and support from loved ones, colleagues and strangers. “I think many people could sense the gravity of our situation. Worst time to get sick. They didn’t hesitate in sending in moral and financial support,” he said.
His dad was finally moved into the ICU on March 28, about a week since he was intubated. His recovery picked up from there: Two days later, he was extubated and by April 1, he was moved into a normal hospital room.
After coming home, Miggy said of his dad: “He’s doing way better now. Still weak but breathing on his own.”
‘Listen to your body’
Miggy shared insights for both COVID-19 patients and those who are caring for them.
“For loved ones of COVID patients, plan accordingly. Call at least a dozen hospitals and get a feel of their waitlist,” he advised.
Logistics that must be considered include transportation and funds. “Make sure you have a car available or access to an ambulance. If you do have to be admitted in the hospital, mobilize and raise funds earlier so bills don’t pile up.”
When the time comes to bring home a patient, he said, “Sanitize the entire house and assume everyone at home got infected. That would mean practice social distancing even at home (which we still do) and double down on vitamin C.”
“For COVID patients, listen to your body. What saved my dad was his humility in accepting that he was no longer okay, that he had to be brought to the hospital,” he said.
“He has this tendency to downplay sicknesses that he goes through,” shared Miggy. “I think if he tried to stay strong longer, we might not have gotten the help that we did.”
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.