GMA Network’s Howie Severino recovered from COVID-19 and is sharing his experience to help other patients battling the disease.
Prior to being a COVID-19 patient, on March 26, 2020, GMA Howie Severino posted a message of compassion on his Facebook page reminding his followers to be kind to symptomatic COVID-19 patients and frontliners. He said, “Let’s face it — this disease can strike anyone, it’s a Russian roulette.”
One could ask if he knew that he would soon join those who have made the unlucky draw.
Severino is one of the Philippines’ most recognized journalists and has received many awards for his work. He is famous for his documentaries and non-fiction TV series, like I-Witness; and he was among the first blog-writers for GMA’s online site.
“I am Patient 2828”
When his “flu” turned out to be COVID-19, it was only fitting that GMA released on April 7, 2020, Severino’s account of his experiences as a survivor.
“I am Patient 2828” is not only an account of his harrowing internment with what Severino describes as an illness of isolation, but it is also another message of compassion. He writes that it is a responsibility to “talk about this experience in a way that will enable the public to understand it, lessen the fear, and create compassion for those who survived COVID-19.”
He describes the disease as “one of most stigmatized and loneliest in human history” since having contracted it, one must immediately be quarantined from the rest of the world to prevent contamination. After which, survivors are still avoided like the plague itself despite having recovered.
It’s no news that this pandemic has brought about discrimination around the world, be it bias against a certain race, medical workers, frontliners, and COVID-19 survivors. In fact, Quezon City had recently passed an ordinance to prevent discrimination against frontliners and infected patients.
In his reflective takeaways, Severino mentions the responsibilities of patients and their peers. To patients, he advises them to be honest about their condition. To their peers and companions, he tells them not to see them as their diagnosis but as people whom they love and care for. He mentions how there are other ways to keep in touch in the online era.
In his reflection of the experience, he mentions his terror, fear, and anxiety. He describes how his sleep deprivation and stress came to a head one night with hallucinations of death. To alleviate him from his delirium, his wife guided him through meditation exercises. He now champions the credo of mind over matter to help patients go through the motions of this disease with peace.
He also champions frontliners, thanking them for their much-needed service as well as their as-needed companionship in his isolation. In his thanks to his personal medical worker, he speaks of how keeping busy on side projects upped his morale considerably.
When speaking of his viable antibodies against COVID-19, he says that contributing to the research for a vaccine is what he can do to “pay it forward” to infected patients in the future.
“COVID-19 is not a death sentence – Howie Severino”
In response to prayers and well-wishes from family, friends, and followers online, he says, “Nais ko lamang pong magpasalamat sa inyong mga panalangin na nagbigay sa akin ng lakas ng loob para malampasan itrong malaking hamon sa akin. Sabay-sabay nating lalampasan ito. Mabuhay kayo. Kaya natin ito.”
He adamantly states that COVID-19 is not a death sentence. He says that although the media focuses on the rate of deaths, they do not focus on the rate of recovery.
Although the rates of death and recovery may be skewed, the rate of infection is not to be taken lightly. To further determine the number of infected persons in the country, mass testing has been put into priority. Among the testing kits, the University of the Philippines and Department of Science and Technology have produced the first locally-made kit approved by the FDA
SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Howie Severino for bravely sharing his experience as a recovered patient to help others fight COVID-19.
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