COVID SURVIVOR STORIES – My COVID Journey: Our Light amidst the Darkness of this Pandemic

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LCP Ronnie Gonzalez
RC Manila Diamonds

In February 2020, the first time I heard of a deadly virus known as SARs COV2 had already spread around the world and reached our country the Philippines. Not knowing all the details about the virus, our country suddenly declared a total lockdown to protect us and curb the spreading of this virus known as COVID 19. I thought it was just a temporary lockdown and in a few months it will be over and we will return to normal again.

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But March came and my sister-in-law who recruited us to be a Rotarian suddenly was infected by this COVID 19 virus and in just 3 days she passed away in the hospital. We were shocked because aside from losing her, we were not able to give her decent funeral rites because of the danger of this virus. Our government health sector advised us to obey all the safety protocols like wearing face masks, face shield, frequent washing of hands and even carrying alcohol to protect us from the virus. Suddenly all businesses closed down, workers were advised not to report to work, meetings and gatherings were prohibited, even family gatherings.

For almost two years, my business was shot down and my finances started to suffer. With no monthly income and continued expenses and payables I was in the midst of darkness and challenges in life. Both our savings were depleted and we were in a survival mode. After several months, suddenly several vaccines from China, USA, Russia and India were allowed for emergency use to control this COVID 19 and we took the opportunity to be vaccinated. But in spite of these challenges, I had to attend training and webinars as I was preparing to be a LCP (Life Changing President) of RC Manila Diamonds this year 2021-2022 of District 3810 under the leadership and governorship of Robert Koa, of Rotary Year 2021-2022.

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As a two year old Rotarian and tasked to serve and change lives in our community, I took the challenge and prepared myself to serve our community even with the danger of this pandemic. I thought that as long as we obey the health protocols we will be protected and safe. As a Rotarian, we need to continue our role and purpose in spite of the danger we are facing. Life has to continue and let God be our shield and protection in our daily life. Lockdown after lockdowns were again imposed by our government all over the country and our economy started to crumble again. But we can never stop, we have to survive.

Then came one day, my wife was not feeling well and started having symptoms of COVID infections. I too was also experiencing the same symptoms as well like high fever, itchy throat, cough, loss of taste, loss of smell and loss of appetite. I told myself this is it, we are positive of COVID, in my mind I asked God, Why? Will this be our time? Can we survive? These are the many questions in my mind during those times. Anxiety and depression crept in my mind. But as a husband, father to my children, as a disciple of Jesus Christ I needed to be strong and courageous and face the health challenges. With the help of my relatives, siblings, our brothers and sisters from our church and friends we were confined in a government hospital in Manila to be treated. We were diagnosed with a severe case of Covid 19 with acquired pneumonia.

First time I was confined in a government hospital with my wife but I had no choice. We didn’t have the money to pay our hospital bills knowing that private hospital bills can go up to millions of pesos. At this time I started asking people that I know to pray for us. I started to talk to God every single minute in my prayers to heal us. Prayers are powerful, God is in control, and He knows what is best for us. As we are being treated for six days in the hospital, God has shown me and taught me a great lesson in life. Always rely on God in everything that you do. Continue to connect with people, your family, relatives, friends and fellow Rotarians. Pray for each other daily and live your purpose as a disciple. Today, as I’m writing my COVID journey and the many lessons God is teaching me, may my journey give you hope and light amidst the darkness of this pandemic. Thank you so much to my Rotarian Family for letting me share my journey. Let’s continue to SERVE and CHANGE lives! To God be the Glory!