ER nurse who recovered from COVID-19 urges other survivors to donate blood
MANILA, Philippines — Kai Soriano, an emergency room nurse, lay quietly on a bed at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital Blood Donor Center as blood was being extracted from her.
She was donating her blood after surviving the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — in a bid to possibly help others who are still fighting the disease.
It was on March 13 when one of her patients was considered as a patient under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. The said patient initially only showed symptoms of a heart-related ailment but later started displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as difficulty in breathing.
Two days later, in the middle of the night, Soriano began experiencing fever, cough, colds, and diarrhea.
“Nagising ako sa sobrang sakit ng tiyan ko, at di na nakatulog, plano ko pa sanang pumasok ng trabaho, pero hindi ko alam para akong may buhat na tao na mas mataba pa sa akin sa bigat ng pakiramdam ko,” Soriano shared in a Facebook post.
(I was awakened by the pain in my stomach and I could no longer sleep. I was planning to go to work but it felt like I was carrying a huge person due to how heavy I was feeling.)
So ito na nga sa Emergency Room noong March 13, 2020 Biyernes, may inalagaan akong pasyente na una ang mga sintomas niya…
Soriano then called the nurse in charge at the hospital at that time who advised her to get her blood samples taken.
“Sobrang nahihiya ako noon [kasi] 6 a.m. duty ko. Sino sasagot ng madaling araw? Malamang tulog pa. Kinuhaan ako ng swab para sa COVID-19, CBC at X-Ray ng parehong araw,” she recalled.
(I was really ashamed because I had duty at 6 a.m. Who would answer in the early morning? They’d probably be still asleep. I was taken a swab for COVID-19, CBC, and X-ray on the same day.)
Soriano was also offered by her colleagues to get admitted at the hospital, to which she declined due to other patients who are also waiting to be admitted.
After all, she was only considered as a mild PUI at that time so she instead opted for home quarantine.
“Siyempre takot ako, lalo na at 60 years old na rin ang nanay ko. Pero may kanya-kanya naman kaming kwarto, 6 [feet] apart din ang pinto ng bawat isa,” Soriano said.
(I was afraid, of course, especially for my mother who is already 60 years old. But we have our own rooms and the doors are six feet apart from each other.)
She started to feel better by taking medications and fluids, but she was still concerned by her lack of sense of taste and smell despite no longer having colds.
On March 25, Soriano felt like her sense of taste was coming back and hoped that she could return to work soon but immediately the next day, her COVID-19 test result was released—it was positive.
“Iyak si ate mo, una kong naisip nanay ko. Tinanong ko siya kung kamusta siya, inuubo nga raw siya at sinisipon,” Soriano said.
(I cried and I thought about my mother. I asked her how she was feeling. She said she was coughing and has colds.)
A second swab was taken from her as well as her mother who was considered as a PUI. Soriano was also seen to have pneumonia and was advised to continue with her quarantine.
On March 30, Soriano’s second test came out negative. Her mother was negative from COVID-19 as well.
This, however, was not the end for Soriano.
The next day, Soriano’s heard a banging at her gate and to her surprise, there were soldiers and barangay tanod (watchmen) in front of her home who placed a caution sign on their gate.
“May sundalo sa harap, at mga tanod, nagme-mega phone sa buong kalye namin na ‘COVID-19 positive po kayo sumusunod lang po kami sa utos’. At may mga kumalat pa na tsismis na kami raw ang nagkakalat ng COVID-19 sa barangay namin,” Soriano said.
(There were soldiers and barangay watchmen in front of our house and using a megaphone they were saying ‘You are COVID-19 positive and we are just following orders.’ There are even rumors that we were the ones spreading COVID-19 in our community.)
Today, Soriano is officially a COVID-19 survivor and is now urging fellow survivors like her to donate blood.
On April 9, she donated antibodies at the UP-PGH Blood Donor Center.
“‘Wag po kayong matakot magdonate sa mga kapwa survivors ko, maraming benepisyo sa katawan niyo ito,” Soriano said.
(To my fellow COVID-19 survivors, do not be afraid to donate blood. It has benefits to your body, too.)
“Sa ngayon tatlo pa lang kaming nakakapagdonate ng dugo, kung may mga kakilala kayo na COVID-19 survivor at healthy na healthy at hindi mga senior, pakisabi na lang na makakasagip sila ng buhay dahil sa passive-immunity na tinatawag,” she added.
(Right now, there are three of us who have donated blood and if you know any COVID-19 survivor and is healthy and is not a senior citizen, please tell them they can save lives through what is called as passive-immunity.)
Soriano said she is excited to return to work and wants to inspire other patients that they, too, can recover from the disease.
“Balik na si atembang sa duty bukas at sasabihin ko sa mga pasyente ko, COVID-19 survivor po ako, ipagdadasal ko rin kayo,” she said.
(I will go back on duty tomorrow and I will tell my patients that I am a COVID-19 survivor and that I will pray for them.)
President Rodrigo Duterte himself earlier appealed to COVID-19 survivors to donate their blood to help other patients recover from the illness.
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 .
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