Ayah Pauline Pangilinan is only seven years old, but when both her parents tested positive for Covid-19 – she had been the strong one. She wrote well wishes and prayed hard, especially for her dad who was on a ventilator for 16 days.
Filipino expat Rhea Almazan Pangilinan, Ayah’s mother, was shocked when at one point her daughter asked her, “Will Papa die?”
“She asked this in a very straightforward manner, right into my face. But then she asked me why I am worried when there is God to protect us,” Rhea said.
Although Ayah was the youngest member of the family, she showed immense courage and behaved with maturity during such trying times, she added.
“She never cried knowing Papa and Mama were unwell. She understood that I couldn’t touch her. She also wrote notes asking me to stay strong and eat healthy food. She prayed in the morning and at night.”
Reminiscing the time when she and her husband had fought Covid-19, Rhea – a Dubai resident – is relieved now that she can finally talk about the ordeal without breaking down.
Until some time ago, she couldn’t hold back her tears as she spoke to her husband over the phone while he was battling for his life.
“Angelito first showed signs of the illness in late March and his condition started deteriorating soon after. He was immediately hospitalised. I was scared,” she said.
Angelito’s lungs had been severely infected, so he had to be they had to intubated.
‘We were extra cautious’
Recalling the trying times, Rhea said: “As my husband tested positive, my daughter, the nanny and I also had to take the tests. I always prayed that if someone else had to be positive let it be me. I knew that by staying positive, I could fight back.”
Rhea tested positive. As soon as she found out, she wasted no time in isolating herself to protect her daughter and their nanny.
“The problem was, we had only one bathroom. So, each time I used the bathroom, I had to disinfect the area before coming out and anyone who would use it next also had to sanitise it first,” Rhea said.
Baffling moments, caring family
When her husband was severely ill, there were times when Rhea was baffled by Angelito’s behaviour.
“I can laugh it off now. He behaved as if he had a memory loss. At that time, Angelito was so dazed and fatigued that often he would talk gibberish. I felt scared, funny and annoyed”, said the thirty-seven-year-old woman.
Rhea, who is now happy to be reunited with her husband in their home here, maintains that the strong support that she got from everyone around has helped their family rise above the challenging times.