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DO NOT PUB Recovering at home from Covid-19 was a good thing in a bad situation for this Singapore family

SINGAPORE – My son, who will turn 12 in January, caught Covid-19 on Sept 22.

It started with a cough, then a fever and concluded with a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

As the person closest to him, I was also diagnosed on the same day.

After we tested positive, we quarantined ourselves in my room. But we were freed from the room shortly after, when, the next day, my husband also tested positive.

The happy part of this story was that, on Sept 15, about a week before we caught Covid-19, the home recovery programme kicked in.

When my son and I tested positive, we applied to stay home together. My husband did the same too when he got his results.

Initially, there was a bit of confusion over what to do because we were given scanty instructions, but we sorted things out ourselves by reading the Ministry of Health (MOH) website.

We then hunkered down for self-isolation at home.

The home recovery scheme is to lighten the load of medical personnel and facilities, but I am sure being at home also played a very big part in our recuperation.

For a few days after testing positive, we were knocked out by flu-like symptoms such as a fever, headache, runny nose and fatigue, and nothing beats the comfort of home when you are feeling this way.

Even just lying in a familiar bed made me feel better, which must have, in turn, helped me get well faster. You know, the mind-body connection and all that.

We are thankful that my husband and I met the criteria for home recovery: We are both vaccinated, do not have any health issues, had mild symptoms and do not have any elderly persons living with us.

Although our son was unvaccinated because he had not hit the age requirement, as a young person, he did not seem to be terribly affected by the virus.

Apart from regular bouts of coughing, he was easily the most sprightly person in the house.

So sprightly that I told him more than once I wished they had taken me away to a care facility so that I can rest quietly. (No, I’m kidding. They should take him.)

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We religiously monitored our temperatures and blood oxygen saturation with the Temasek Foundation-issued oximeter, which checks the oxygen level in the blood and can help detect early signs of a deterioration in health.

It came in very handy – it gave us the peace of mind that we were doing all right.

We were not suffering from any life-threatening symptoms, so all we needed to get well were some doctor-prescribed paracetamol tablets, blankets, hot honey lemon drinks and Netflix.

Meals were a problem initially. On the first day that we were isolating at home, we ordered in lunch, but quickly discovered that outside food was terribly unappetising when you were sick.

The other hard-to-swallow bit was that food delivery is expensive. Multiply two meals a day by the 10 days of home isolation and a bout of Covid-19 could leave a sizeable deficit in our bank account.

In the end, we fell back on the love and kindness of family and friends, something which Grab cannot deliver.

My mother-in-law and mother quickly swooped in and took turns to cook our meals and get them dropped off at the doorstep of our apartment.

Along with the convalescent food, they also delivered plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and meat should we feel up to cooking simple meals.

Colleagues and friends too sent care packages, which shored up our inner fortitude to tide over this mini crisis.

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Fortunately, we were not sick for too long. Within days, even the adults were up and about on our feet again (thank you, vaccine!).

Which was when we discovered the other advantage of recovering at home was that my workaholic husband could quickly get back to work, and, because the Primary 5 year-end exams be upon us, our son could attend home-based learning, which is crucial. (He disagrees.)

After 10 days of being at home which, thankfully, was without too much drama, we were automatically discharged. A PCR test is not required on the tenth day, and neither will there be a discharge memo.

The MOH website advises recovered patients to minimise social contact for another seven days afterwards, which we will be doing so.

Although I would not wish to catch Covid-19, being allowed to recover at home is one of the better things that can happen in a bad situation.

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