UAE-based Filipina frontliner: Having COVID-19 made me a better nurse

A UAE-based Filipina nurse who recently recovered from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) said that surviving the disease has taught her to become a better frontliner, and made her stronger than ever before.
In an exclusive interview with The Filipino Times, Niña Michelle Rigor said that since she hit a pause button, she was given a chance to see the real experience of every COVID-19 patient under a microscope—from the mental struggles down to the value of having a strong faith.
“Since I’m a patient and I’m not a nurse for a while, I became the person I take care of every day. And by becoming a patient, I have learned how to become a better nurse,” she said.
The 35-year-old nurse, who has been living in the UAE for six years, first found out she was positive on May 18—when she was tested for having high-grade fever while on duty. Other symptoms she had included whole body weakness, whole body pain, headache, as well as loss of taste and smell. 

Rigor was immediately admitted at the hospital when she was confirmed positive for the disease. She said that to ease worries from her family and friends, she started a vlog on her Facebook called “covidserye” to keep them posted about her situation.
“All I did in the hospital was boost my immune system. I ate more healthy food like fresh fruits and vegetables, I stayed away from sugar and too much carbs (since sugar causes inflammation and COVID-19 is an inflammatory response), and I exercised in my hospital room,” she told The Filipino Times.
The Filipina added that since it is easy for patients to fall to depression due to isolation, it is important to find comfort in prayers and engage in activities that release endorphins.
“There is comfort in prayers. The strength and happiness I have despite of going through a deadly monster was having hope that God is bigger than any kind of trials I have to go through,” she said. “Don’t just lie down on your bed; do light exercises to help release some endorphins, open the window and appreciate every morning sunshine, eat healthy, and learn to be happy. Do things that takes your mind off that you are sick. You will get better,”
UAE’s great response

Rigor also commended the UAE government in how it is responding to the current pandemic. She said the process of her admission down to her discharge was seamless, and that she was well taken care of during her entire stay.
“UAE government is doing a great job in combating covid. Naalagaan ako ng mabuti sa hospital at halos wala akong binayaran sa hospital,” she noted.
To patients: ‘It is not your fault’

Now on her way to recovery, Rigor reminded patients not to put themselves down, and that to not blame themselves for getting infected.
Biktima lang din tayo. Don’t make your illness make you guilty because it is no one’s fault. Just follow the social distancing and boost your immune system. You are not dirty, you are just sick,” she added.
As for the rest of the community, she called on everyone to be mindful of others, keep their distance, and follow the UAE’s safety measures.
“Be mindful of others. If you don’t need to go out of your home, stay home na lang. If kailangan mo lumabas, be protected. Most of all, have a healthy lifestyle. The only one who can help you is yourself. And of course, pray. Remember that God is bigger than any kind of sickness,” she said.

Staff Report

The Filipino Times is the chronicler of stories for, of and by Filipinos all over the world, reaching more than 236 countries in readership. Any interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]

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