MANILA - Cecile Guidote-Alvarez on Sunday urged Filipinos to follow health protocols as she recalled her survival of the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Alvarez, 76, said among the worst things the disease brings is isolation as she lamented how she could not even say goodbye to her husband former senator Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez who succumbed to the disease in April.
"Hindi mo makakamtan yung ganung pagpapaalam man lang. Wala lahat yun...Napakasakit sa ating tradisyon na meron talagang paalam, kaya sundin ho natin yung disiplina," the founder of the Philippine Educational Theater Association told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(You can't even say goodbye. It's hard for our tradition which has farewells. So let's observe discipline.)
"Napakahalaga po na mapaalam talaga sa ating mamamayan na napaka-treacherous, deadly, talagang may pagkademonyo ang COVID. Kaya san,a nag-iingat talaga ang mga tao at sundin talaga yung mga protocols na sinasabi para di sila tamaan ng COVID."
(It's very important to inform the public how treacherous, deadly and demonic COVID-19 is. So let's be careful and follow protocols to avoid it.)
The disease also brings fear of the unknown, Alvarez said as she did not expect to be separated from her husband as they were admitted to the hospital.
"Ang dami ko nang napagdaanan. Nabali na ang paa ko, na-cancer na ako. All the time, hawak-hawak nila ako. Kasama ko ang aking husband, anak ko. Ito, talaga solo flight ka lang eh. Di mo alam kung ano ang nangyayari," she said.
(I've been through so many things. My foot has been fractured, I've had cancer. And all the time, I was with my husband and children. This disease will take you on a solo flight, you don't know what will happen.)
"Lahat pala ng sinabihan niya bago siya ma-intubate, he was so worried about me, ako daw ang pansinin etcetera. Tapos siya pa ang mawawala," she said of her husband.
(He told everyone before he was intubated to take care of me, he was so worried. Then he was the one who passed away.)
Alvarez said she was admitted to the hospital after experiencing flu-like symptoms such as slight fever, cough and weakness, and later experienced being paralyzed.
"Minsan nagising ako, parang paralyzed ako. You get horrified, di mo magalaw ang kamay mo. Ni hindi ako makapag-sign of the cross...Talaga takot na takot ka, mag-a-ask ka na lang, di mo alam kung anong nangyayari sa'yo," she said.
(One time I was awakened, paralyzed. You get horrified, you can't move your hands, I can't even make the sign of the cross. You'll get really scared you'll ask what's happening to you.)
"I think dahil sa ganong takot, I went into some kind of unconscious state. Sabi nila, di daw ako makausap, ayaw bumukas ang mata ko."
(I think because of that kind of fear, I went into some kind of unconscious state. They said they were unable to talk to me, my eyes don't open.)
She only regained her consciousness when her child cried through the telephone, Alvarez said.
"Totoo siguro na ang last sense mo ay yung hearing eh. Biglang narinig ko yung hagulgugol, iyak, yung tawag na 'Mom, please fight.' Parang nagulantang ako, I got out of a state of stupor," she said.
(Maybe it's true that your last sense to go is hearing. I suddenly heard my child's cries of 'Mom, please fight.' I got out of a state of stupor.)
Alvarez, whose establishment of PETA won her the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1972, said she has written to lawmakers and Malacañang for the formal appreciation of healthworkers.
"Kailangan meron tayong Frontliners' Day or Week or Month commemorating, thanking them. Palaging alalahanin ang kanilang pagmamalasakit. Sila ang sundalo natin dito sa laban sa COVID, she said.
(We need to have a Frontliners' Day or Week or Month commemorating, thanking them. Let's always remember their concern. They are our soldiers in this fight against COVID-19.)
As of Saturday, the Philippines has recorded 29,400 cases of COVID-19, with 7,650 recoveries and 1,150 deaths.