Yusinto Ngadiman
March 20, 2021·2 min read

Covid and I


No I didn't get infected but my mother in law did. My wife's mum (Mrs Lim), in Indonesia started coughing and then three days later, Mr Lim rang us. What followed was a frantic 72 hours, which involved organising rapid antigen tests, PCR tests, a nerve wrecking wait for 24 hours for the pcr results, and eventually facing the inevitable: she was positive.

Question 1: What's a rapid antigen test? It's a version of covid testing which is not 100% accurate but it's a lot faster (30 minutes vs 24 hours) and cheaper. Generally if you are negative on the antigen, you're good. However if you are positive, you follow up with the pcr test to confirm. Antigen tests are 4x to 5x cheaper than pcr tests.

Silver lining: The father was negative at this time which was a miracle.

The events of that day then unfolded like a season of 24, where each minute/second counts. We had to get Mrs Lim to the hospital fast. They didn't have a car so Mr Lim took Mrs Lim on a motorbike to the local public hospital about 10 minutes from their home. We have a relative who works as a doctor there so at least there was a familiar face. Both had to get re-tested (pcr) and x-rayed at the hospital. Mrs Lim was immediately placed in quarantine, Mr Lim was x-rayed and pcr-tested and asked to wait in a quarantine room pending his xray results. After an hour or so, his xray looks clear, and he had to go home to self-quarantine until his pcr results come out.

Mrs Lim condition degraded exponentially, in terms of her o2 levels, she crashed to 60% in the next 24 hours, the doctor advised us to move her to a better equipped private hospital with respirators, since that public hospital did not have enough machines. Another season of 24 began. We spent the next frantic 24 hours trying to find her a hospital with an ICU bed with respirators. Thankfully, after a few hours the relative doctor found one close by and after a few more nerve wrecking hours of organising logistics remotely from USA, we managed to get her an ICU bed with a respirator.

Question 2: Was Mr Lim infected? No miraculously he remained un-infected throughout the entire seasons of 24. We're not sure how this was possible, but we think he could be immune to covid. But we are thankful he remained healthy.

Mrs Lim spent the next 2 weeks in the ICU, then 4 more weeks in the isolation ward, then another 1.5 weeks in the standard ward. She's out of the hospital now, back at home recuperating, but still very weak. Mr Lim has since received the Sinovac vaccine and continues to be healthy and uninfected.

What I learnt from this is how interconnected and interdependent we all are. I had to reach out to family members and friends in Singapore and Indonesia for help, most of whom I haven't contacted in years, but they helped me without reservation and completely with love and kindness. When covid touches you it touches an entire web of people, not just one.

It is impossible to avoid covid, it is part of life. One way or another we will have to face it directly or indirectly. When that time comes, just know and believe that you are not alone, and if you reach out for help, you will receive help, with love and kindness from the people around you. I know this to be true from direct experience.

For updates and more details on Mrs Lim, please visit gofundme.