It’s difficult to isolate at home.

Over a month ago, despite precautions, we had some indirect exposure to some positive COVID-19 cases.

It was scary, and my anxiety spiked, but our family quickly decided to isolate at home. We decided we would observe for symptoms and order in for supplies. Unfortunately, this coincided with the week of my birthday, so any careful plans we had made for socially-distanced celebrations were quickly scrapped. Sigh.

Considering we’re a family of sufficient means, connectivity and education, it was still challenging to isolate at home. We got groceries through GrabPabili, and we couldn’t really get everything we needed. We couldn’t ask anyone to buy groceries for us, because we were trying to minimize exposure. We couldn’t buy fresh vegetables from our neighbors as we normally did, so we had to make do with whatever was available on GrabMart, often paying more for delivery and convenience fees.

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We tried ordering medicine and vitamins through Watson’s and Mercury, and it was so confusing. Watson’s didn’t give an option to deliver outside Metro Manila, so I had it sent to Dante’s house in Cubao, then he just sent me the package via Grab. The Mercury Drug website had such a terrible user interface. One page would say deliveries to our area were allowed, while another said we could only do store pick-up. Different pages indicated different payment methods, and when we finally got to the checkout page, the option we had been hoping to use (Gcash) wasn’t even listed, so we ended up using Paymaya. We decided to try for home delivery, but since our house was outside the delivery service area, I had the package delivered to a friend’s house (thank you Roanne!), and she just sent it to me via Grab.

medicine, drugs, pills
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We watched for symptoms. We checked our oxygen levels several times a day. We watched for coughs and colds, sneezes and sore throats, anything flu-like. We kept checking our sense of smell, our sense of taste, and it became a running joke that we had to keep eating yummy food so that we could be sure our taste buds were still working. Luckily, after a week, nobody had any symptoms, and neither did any of the people we had come into contact with before isolation.

I suppose, when you look at it, it’s not really all that difficult. Getting food and medicine while unable to go out is tedious, and worrying about how to get food and medicine while fearing for your health is stressful. I can’t imagine how much harder it would be if we didn’t have access to these apps, these services, these finance platforms.

Our friends who tested positive had to coordinate testing for their households, while taking care of their toddler and their elderly family members, while monitoring their own symptoms. We could do nothing but offer prayers and comfort, even if only virtually.

This disease is so pervasive, so insidious, and this pandemic has forced so many challenges on us. How much has life changed in the past year? How long do we have to insist on these safety protocols? How long do we all have to stay apart?

It’s really difficult to isolate at home, but it’s even harder to get sick. Stay safe, everyone.

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