One year after contracting COVID-19, actor Richard Yap shared his ordeal in his latest YouTube vlog.
He wrote, “I’m sharing this so that we can all learn something from my experience. This was a very difficult time in our lives but no one knew about it because we chose not to make it public at that time. Sometimes you will never know what someone is going through so let’s always choose to be kind. Much love to everyone who helped me through this, specially my family, the doctors, nurses, medical staff at Makati Medical Center and to everyone who sent their well wishes and prayers.”
The 53-year-old actor said he got sick right before the first lockdown in Metro Manila.
“This was at a time when COVID was just fairly new, just after the lockdown. I was traveling back and forth between Manila and Cebu so I don’t know where I got it. March 14 I was still in Cebu and they said that the lockdown was going to happen on March 15 so all the flights were going to be cancelled and you couldn’t come back to Manila if you were stuck there. So I had to hurriedly get my ticket rebooked. I was okay at that time. nothing was wrong with me. But when I came back after a day I was feeling bad already,” he shared.
The former Kapamilya actor described his symptoms to his doctor who advised him to self-isolate immediately at home without putting his family at risk.
“I was coughing, I felt feverish. Ibang klaseng fever. It’s the kind your body is so hot na when you wake up pawis na pawis ka and hindi yung ordinary na konting pawis. Basa talaga pati yung kama mo basang basa. At that time, wala pang mga gamot. I was taking antibiotics already because my cough was starting to get so bad already. Na when you cough it’s like all your guts are going to come out with your guts. Ganun ka grabe. It was all so sudden. Pag umubo ka na, sumasakit na yung dibdib mo and then parang luluwa na lahat ng lamang loob mo when you cough. I was taking medicine so I was hoping na medyo mawala. I started having difficulty breathing,” he recalled.
At the hospital, Richard shared how he spent almost three days at the ER because there were no available beds.
“Buti na lang when I went in, hindi pa ganun ka-puno, meron pa aking nakuhang kama. Dun lang ako sa tabi, ako lang mag-isa. I didn’t want to attract attention also. I told my doctor I didn’t want any fanfare. I don’t want any special treatment. And ang hirap because kahit na gutom ka or whatever, wala ka namang mautusan na bumili ng pagkain mo. Ang hirap pa sa ER kasi isa lang yung restroom. My oxygen level was low at that time. Mababang mababa siya. So they took an x-ray of me pero yung sa akin ang dami ng puti puti (sa lungs) means that I already had pneumonia and then yung puti puti yun yung COVID-19 already. Yung mga virus was infecting my lungs already,” he said.
After being moved to his own room, Richard said he had a scary experience which led him to request to a different room the next day.
“Binangungot ako ng five times that night. Every time I’d go to sleep, I’d wake up because of the nightmare and iba yung nightmare na parang papatayin ka. Sabi ko, ‘Hindi ata ako mamamatay sa COVID, mamamatay ako dito sa bangungot.’ I didn’t want to sleep. Pero sa sobrang pagod na, makakatulog ka ulit. Pag tulog mo ulit, babangungutin ka na naman. It was different nightmares every time I fell asleep. All I did was sleep. Everyday kukunan nila ako ng dugo. I didn’t know it at that time but my doctor was so worried that I wasn’t going to make it. Kasi pa-grabe ng pa-grabe yung COVID ko. Pero buti na lang, because I was healthy at that time, hindi ako umabot na kailangan ma-intubate. Kasi pag na-intubate ka, ang hirap ng buhay mo. Para kang naka-coma na. Buti na lang nilalabanan ko din siya,” he added.
By the 3rd day at the hospital, Richard said his bill had already went up to P200,000. “I was really worried also kasi ang laki na ng bill ko during that time. Good thing nag-work yung mga medicine na binigay din sa akin. Nawala na yung spots sa chest ko. Medyo nag-clear up na siya. So by the end of the 10th day medyo clear na siya. Pero sa swab test, I wasn’t clear of COVID yet. So at least I could breathe on my own. My pulse oxymeter was already 97, 98 already so medyo normal na ako and I wasn’t coughing anymore, I wasn’t sick anymore in terms of yung pareho dun sa first time na pumasok ako,” he said.
After being released from the hospital on the 10th day, Richard’s doctors advised him to continue isolation at home.
“All in all, I isolated myself for 46 days. Six days before going to the hospital, 10 days in the hospital, and then 30 days after that. So no contact with my family. Buti na lang meron tayong cellphones na you could talk to them because that was the only thing keeping me sane. If not, ang hirap to be all by yourself. Kahit may sakit ka you have to do it all by yourself. For everyone that is going through COVID, you have to be strong. Not only in terms of your health but you have to be strong mentally also. You have to fight. Hindi puwede na just because may sakit ka ayaw mo na. I think it’s also the will to live. But when I was about to go into the hospital, I was already thinking, ‘Paano pag hindi ako makalabas ng hospital ng buhay?’ Because it was that bad already,” he explained.
Watch the full vlog here:
After 10 days hospitalization, Richard’s total bill in the hospital amounted to half a million pesos. “Buti na lang may credit card ako. Philhealth only paid P10,000 out of his P500,000 bill. Inisip ko na lang siguro mas kailangan ng pera sa iba. Hopefully sa iba napunta at hindi sa ibang bulsa. That was a little disappointing pero wala naman tayong magagawa. We just let it be. I tried to aslk Philhealth about it pero hanggang ngayon wala naman silang sagot,” he said.