“I AM Covid-19-free and I am recovering fairly well,” Mandaue City Councilor Joel Seno announced after his month-long battle against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Seno, a lawyer and a public servant, had no idea where or how he contracted the virus.
He woke up one morning with a dry cough, a cold and a high fever. His body ached and he experienced shortness of breath, although it was more like “grasping” for breath, he said.
Based on his X-ray, only one-third of his lungs was functioning, but his doctor told him it was curable.
Seno could not forget July 12, 2020. At 4 p.m. that day, he was admitted to one of the private hospitals in the city.
The city councilor was classified as a Covid-19 patient with moderate symptoms but with severe pneumonia.
Seno admitted getting very emotional and asking his doctor, who was a Covid-19 survivor himself, if he could cure him.
But the answer he got was not what he expected and he felt his world crumble at that very moment.
“No, I cannot do that,” his doctor told him. “I cannot fix you. Only God can fix you.”
It was then Seno realized that faith was an important weapon against the disease.
During his stay in the hospital, his body initially did not respond to treatment.
He was advised to get a plasma transfusion from a Covid-19 survivor. He was also advised to get intubated and to transfer to the intensive care unit, but he refused both, while his family and friends started to look for plasma donors online.
The first 14 days in the hospital was a struggle, he said. Alone in his room, he sometimes lost his will to live.
The thought that maybe it was his time to go even crossed his mind and he felt bad for the family he would leave behind.
“I felt sorry for them because they do not get to see me for the last time,” Seno said.
A call of hope
After that, one of his close friends, Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, called him and said that he would donate plasma.
That call gave him hope and courage to overcome his health challenges.
After receiving a transfusion of two bags of plasma, Seno slowly began to recover.
On July 26, Seno was discharged from the hospital to spend two weeks at home in strict isolation.
On Aug. 10, he was able to attend a special session of the council at the Session Hall.
Although Seno is Covid-19-free, his lungs have yet to fully recover from the ravages of the disease. He said he still has to see his doctor for checkups.
After all that he has been through, he is grateful to God and to his family for serving as his support system.
He also realized that since his discharge, he has become closer to his family.
The city official is well aware that he may not be where he is today without the plasma transfusion. So he said that he, too, is willing to become a plasma donor. He also plans to endorse to the council an ordinance urging more Covid-19 survivors to donate their blood and plasma.
Seno said the donation should be institutionalized to help patients who are struggling financially and to provide hope to those who are ready to give up against the disease.