COVID 19 Drew Him Closer to GOD
By Rose de la Cruz
On April 8 browsing through Facebook, I saw a beautiful narrative of a COVID-19 survivor, Julian Thomas Alcasid Sese, a young family man, whose brush with the disease drew him closer to God and to be more prayerful than he was for the most part of his life.
More than the excruciating pains that he experienced during his bout with COVID, what kills him more is the isolation and desolation of not having somebody next to you even if they could communicate via the mobile phones and suffering alone.
He, however, is luckier than most COVID patients—many of whom have not seen or talked to their loved ones and friends during their agonies and even at the face of death. Their bodies were cremated but no one was there to bid them goodbye.
The COVID virus has hit indiscriminately—not choosing people in terms of economic, political and social status—and it continues to spread because the living (and potential carriers) remain mindless of security protocols spelled out by governments and only listen to their personal desires to socialize and free movement. Hence, it is expected that the virus would take much longer, than projected, to lick.
Julian was full of gratitude for surviving his 23-day ordeal with COVID (plus 14 more days of self- quarantine to make sure he is freed completely of the virus before rejoining his family). He thanked his Lord and Savior, Jesus, who “had been with me all throughout this experience,” his family, the doctors and nurses who attended to him 24/7 and the prayer community and the music ministry of his church (where he is a choir member). A lot of them sent me food, home-cooked meals and whatever else.
Thank you, everyone. Through this experience, I recognize that I am privileged, blessed and loved by so many people. This all shows me how much God truly loves me, through you all, his post said.
His first symptom was on March 13-14 with LBM that was followed by fatigue and lethargy and by March 15 he had a continuous fever, headaches and body ache (myalgia). The next day, he had coughs and extreme chills at night so he drove himself to the nearest hospital where he was interviewed and asked of travel history, his vitals checked and he was given a prescription and told to go home without being tested.
By March 19, the headaches, fever, lethargy, fatigue and chills persisted that he consulted his pulmonologist by phone who advised him to get swabbed, Xray and blood tests. His Xray showed pneumonia in the right lung and the blood work showed infection. He was given antibiotics and told to rest. Should he have difficulty breathing, he should rush to the ER with his asthma condition, which the driver of his lola’s driver did on March 21 close to midnight.
The following day the hospital’s ambulance took him to another hospital for CT scan. By March 23 the doctors told him his pneumonia getting worse based on his last Xray and so was his infection in the blood. They put him in IV meds, continued monitoring of oxygen levels and moved him to the COVID positive wing.
From March 26 to April 6 he had daily Xray and blood tests and a total of six COVID tests, of which four came out positive and the latter two negative as days progressed. By his 5th COVID test on April 7 he was prepared for discharge but asked to stay 14 days on self-quarantine while waiting for the last (6th) test to yield negative result.
He said it was his first time to: a) drive himself to ER while “super sick;” b) experience headaches and body pains that bad like being whacked by a baseball bat at the spine and shoulder blades and reverberating in is entire body; c) to chill despite two thick blankets, pajamas, socks and jackets at an aircon room with temperature at 25 degrees; d) get CT scan for his lungs; e) confined in a hospital for over two weeks; f) to feel so all alone despite being connected by technology (as nurses won’t be near him or in his room for more than 5 minutes) and g) to be confronted with the possibility of dying.
He recalled that while waiting for a room for 17 hours at the ER, he kept asking to be transferred. Finally, he got his wish only after the room was disinfected from its dead previous occupant.
“Hearing this broke me and sent me into tears while curling up into a ball in the ER. But I believe that I really needed to hear this so that I could fully grasp the reality of my situation and cling on to the Lord tightly as well.”
Most importantly, he said, it was his first time to have, “this kind of solitude with the Lord. While being alone and afflicted, I found that when I approached Jesus in my heart and mind He was always there. He was there when I was sick at home by myself, when I was in CT scan, ER isolation and beside my hospital bed, especially at the days and night that were tough and filled with tears.”
“My uncle sent me a guitar so that I could humor myself and there were days that I was just worshipping the Lord alone in my hospital room playing the guitar with tears streaming down my face, it was the first time that I was worshipping this way,” he recalled.
My lab results only started getting better when I stopped reading news articles and focused solely on clinging to the Lord. This not only reduced the negativity that I was exposing myself to but it took away the loneliness as I felt Jesus in my room every day, he said.
“I choose to surrender my worries about this virus to the Lord, trust that He is in control, let the experts in the medical field keep on doing what they do best and keep praying for the people that are affected. So yes, the hardest but the best part was the isolation, which forced me to hold on to God’s word, his promises and his unconditional love,” he said.
He said the pandemic will change all our lives. “ So many stories on social media of families being closer together, reconnecting with people they haven’t spoken to, extended hours of family time, increased consciousness of personal hygiene for everyone just to name a few.”
But it made me cherish my time with loved ones. Day- to- day routine can keep us from the actual experience of living with the people closest to us. Once you experience extended periods of isolation you realize how much family time you’ve taken for granted and it taught me to spend less time thinking of myself but of others. “
His advice: Let’s be cautious, maintain social distancing and good hygiene but let’s also think about our fellow human beings as well especially the people that risk their lives fighting this battle for us. It is so important to have Jesus in your life as your Lord and Savior, way more important than anything else.