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  • 'Convince Seniors To Get Vaccinated': Family Shares Lessons After Mom Survives COVID-19

    Their senior citizen mom with comorbidities was hospitalized after getting COVID-19.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
'Convince Seniors To Get Vaccinated': Family Shares Lessons After Mom Survives COVID-19
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/sasirin pamai
  • It's a story all too familiar to many by now — a loved one who has been particularly careful and has observed all the protocols lets her guard down one time and suddenly gets infected by COVID-19.

    This is the story of Angelina Carpena, 64, who battled COVID-19 late August 2021. Victoria Carpena, her daughter and who is also a mom herself, tells SmartParenting.com.ph that she's unsure where exactly her mother got the virus, “but she did meet up with a friend once and after a few days, I went with her to do the groceries.”

    Apart from grocery shopping, Angelina's usual routine is to visit one of her daughters' house which was only a five-minute car ride away.

    Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms one-by-one

    Victoria Carpena (right) took care of mom Angelina at home before she was taken to the hospital.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Victoria Carpena

    Victoria recalls that her mom's earliest symptom was malaise — she was unable to get out of bed for a day. This was followed by the loss of taste and smell and by this time, Victoria and her siblings already suspected their mother had COVID-19, even without an antigen or RT-PCR test.

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    The next days were followed by symptoms of fever, back pain, and continuous cough. The Carpena siblings chose to do homecare but when the pulse oximeter showed a reading of 91 and went down to 89, they knew they had to bring their mom to the hospital.

    Apart from her symptoms, Angelina had all the conditions that make her vulnerable to severe COVID-19. She was a senior citizen, unvaccinated, and had a past medical record of mild heart attack.

    These conditions, plus the fact that their mom was in the waiting list for hospital admission filled the Carpena siblings with anxiety and worry. Thankfully, with the help of friends and relatives, their mother was finally admitted on August 28, 2021.

    “Once she was admitted, the doctor said that visitation was prohibited and that was hard for us. Fortunately, she was allowed one companion in the hospital,” shares Victoria.

    Checking in on their mom was also a challenge. “Doctors have limited visitation schedules and we relied on the nurse station for day-to-day updates on our mom,” says Victoria.

    Lessons from surviving COVID-19

    Angelina is recovering at home but promises to get the COVID-19 vaccine soon.
    PHOTO BY Courtesy of Victoria Carpena
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    After two weeks of uncertainty and fighting the virus, Angelina was finally released but the ordeal is something that has stayed with the family until this day. “After being discharged, we took extra measures to ensure that the home was COVID-free,” says Victoria.

    Here, she shares important takeaways from the whole experience that other families can learn from:

    Isolate

    “When my mom got COVID-19, she was staying with my sister and her kids, my youngest brother and two kasambahays. Everyone tested positive except the kids and my brother, so my sister immediately moved them to her place in Marikina,” shared Victoria.

    Victoria, plus her two other brothers took over caring for their mom at home.

    Continue to take precautions even after the patient recovers

    Rules became stricter in the Carpena home when Mommy Angelina had COVID-19. Apart from wearing masks, anyone who went out had to take a bath first before going around the house.

    “We also made sure that there was good ventilation for my mom and if she had to stay inside an airconditioned space, we made sure someone was staying with her in the room to monitor how she was doing.”

    After their mom got discharged from the hospital, Victoria and her siblings continued to take precautions. “Every morning the house is sanitized. No other family members were allowed in for two weeks. Only me and my younger brother together with our kasambahay handled her morning and evening medication,” says Victoria of their set-up.

    Eat healthy

    “We made sure that my mom’s meals were always well balanced.” Especially with her mom's condition, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy foods, and taking vitamins and supplements regularly even after recovery is very important, she adds.

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    Get health insurance and make sure your PhilHealth membership is updated

    “They are very helpful in cases of emergency,” shares Victoria. Having both an HMO and PhilHealth for their mom went a long way in terms of augmenting the hospital expenses for the siblings, whose businesses and sources of income were hit hard by the pandemic. Treating COVID, after all, is not cheap.

    Convince your senior parents to get vaccinated

    “I felt guilty because my mom has a comorbidity and she wasn’t vaccinated before she got COVID. My siblings and I tried our best to convince her then but she refused,” recalls Victoria, who says her mom feared that there might be side effects from the vaccine.

    After what happened, Angelina is now convinced she should get the vaccine. She just has to wait after her two-month recovery period is over.

    It’s a hard lesson everyone had to learn, but the whole Carpena family is thankful their mom literally gets another shot at life. While it is important to listen to your parents, “it’s not always right to follow them when you know it would be harmful to their health,” reflects Victoria. 

    A Pinay doctor shares how COVID-19 patients recover after being admitted to the ICU here[mobilestripad].

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