Coronavirus

I Lost Both My Parents to Coronavirus. Then I Got Infected Too.

“It was then that I truly understood what it meant to feel hopeless.”
KE
as told to Koh Ewe
03 April 2020, 7:04am
Recovered Patient Coronavirus wuhan
This photo taken on February 18, 2020 shows medical personnel walking among patients with mild symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus resting at night in the temporary Hospital set up in a sports stadium in Wuhan, in China's central Hubei province. For illustrative purposes only. Photo by STR / AFP. 

Jiang Li, 42, is an employee at an insurance company in Wuhan who recovered from COVID-19.

When I found out that I had the novel coronavirus, my only thoughts were that I had to survive. Both my parents had passed away due to COVID-19. If I did not survive, my child would become an orphan. I had to pull through for him.

My father fell ill in mid-January. During that time, patients who were sent to the hospital could only wait in line — waiting for a consultation with the doctor, waiting for test results, waiting for bed space to become available. I exhausted all my connections, posted on social media, and accepted interviews in the hopes that I could get help for my father, but we still couldn’t get a bed space.

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So, my father had to keep going back and forth between home and the hospital for treatment. He could not get a good rest, nor could he eat properly. It was then that I truly understood what it meant to feel hopeless.

A few days later, my father’s fever subsided but his breathing became desperate. I called 120, the emergency hotline, for help. But when the paramedics arrived and discovered that my father had the coronavirus, they wanted to just leave and let him continue with home quarantine. I ran after the paramedics and finally persuaded them to bring my father to the hospital, taking a gamble at this moment of life and death to see if they had any bed space.

Upon arriving at the hospital, health workers sent my father to a quarantine rescue ward. He was so ill that he did not get a chance to talk to me. I did not know this would be our last goodbye.

January 25 was the first day of Chinese New Year. It was supposed to be a day of families getting together, but the heavens played a joke on me.

That day, my father passed away after a failed resuscitation attempt.

The next day, my mother told me she felt very uncomfortable and unsteady. We both went to the hospital and tested positive for the coronavirus. My mother needed round-the-clock care, so I had no choice but to sleep in the car for three nights, parked next to the hospital.

On February 1, my mother’s condition suddenly worsened. She was resuscitated in the ICU, but was completely reliant on medical equipment to maintain her vital signs. I watched as the breathing machine worked vigorously, keeping my mother alive. I could not bear to see her in pain. So, I signed an agreement to give up on resuscitation. My mother passed away that day.

I went to another hospital to stay in a quarantine ward. This was when I really started my treatment. When I was battling the coronavirus, my breathing was laboured and my body was weak. My whole body was in pain, so much pain that I couldn’t even fall asleep.

After staying in the hospital for 10 days, the doctor told me I could be discharged. I left the hospital when they confirmed I was better, then stayed at my sister’s house under quarantine.

After experiencing my parents’ passing, I was especially afraid that I would die. But for my kid, I knew I had to pull through.