How an entire Filipina family, struck by COVID-19, coped in the UAE
Dubai: Filipino expatriate Gil Odiaman, 61, is overcome by a deep sense of gratitude. He was in hospital for over 30 days, 14 of which were spent on the mechanical ventilator in the Intensive Care Unit. He was given electrical shocks by the defibrillator 20 times in a span of three consecutive days. But it was his strong will power and the proper management of his condition that saw him through.
Among the last batch of COVID patients to be discharged from Prime Hospital, Odiaman is not thankful for his recovery alone. The entire family of the customer service officer in Sharjah, including his wife, daughter, nephew and neice, had tested positive - but they are all out of the woods now.
Odiaman said he never took a single day off before he fel ill and continued to work during the movement restrictions. His wife Rowena, 56, is a personal assistant and his daughter Dominique, 25, worked with the hospitality industry.
But as Rowena told Gulf News: ‘We had no idea how we got the virus. I was working from home most of the time, my daughter who was working in the hotel industry, first went to work, but underwent two COVID-19 tests, both of which were negative. Eventually, she took long leave from work. I have a nephew and a niece also living with us. It was my niece who works in the construction industry who first tested positive in May. Soon after, my husband and nephew did. My husband’s condition seemed bad and we brought him to Prime Hospital. He had to be put on the ventilator as his lungs were impacted.”
Rowena said she and her daughter also tested positive in June. “While I had moderate symptoms with bronchitis, my daughter was asymptomatic. I was admitted to the COVID ward while Dominique took up a room at the isolation facility adjacent to Prime Hospital."
Odiaman’s case, which was challenging, was treated with an aggressive protocol.
Dr Adel Mohammad Yasin Al Sisi, Chief Medical Officer and in charge ICU at Prime Hospital, said: “We were extremely worried about the patient’s condition as his heart, kidney, lungs and liver were all compromised. His heart had discordant electrical activity, his blood pressure was falling and we had to give him 20 shocks over three consecutive days to stabilise him. The complete COVID protocol was followed to stop the Cytokine storm. Together with round-the-clock care, induced coma and mechanical ventilation, we were able to save his life.”
When his condition stabilised after 14 days, he was weaned off from the ventilator. His wife, who had recovered, chose to stay with her husband in hospital. He was put on non-invasive oxygen support and eventually discharged on June 27.
The family is thankful to be alive and together after the ordeal they went through. Odiaman said, “Earlier, I was consumed by fear and depression, but since I am back home, although I am weak and cannot walk without the help of the walker and still require oxygen support, I am feeling very positive. The disease made me realise what is important in life. We value our time together now. My daughter and wife have been taking good care of me and I am confident I will soon be back on my feet very soon.”