Artwork - Geremy T. Gallenero

Negative Too Can Be Positive Breaking Free from being COVID-19 Positive

In her pitch-black room, she is praying for heavens to ease her heart. Her hand rifles to her pockets to take the beeping phone. The brightness of the gadget showed her burdened face until a comically pained expression followed with the result she got: Positive. Today, being negative becomes a sliver, where light enters and penetrates the darkness away.


An Ilonggo nurse for three years - Aya, had been anticipating this day to come. After tallying days and fixating at the wall clock’s right hand inside her room, finally, the sun’s heat welcomes her with an embrace. The branches waltz gently with the wind of early October, scratching at one another’s wooden fingers. A leaf fell down her brown hair. She heaved a deep sigh, hopeful outside Jubilee Hall for her second swab test.

She firmly closed her eyes when a narrow stick of a short plastic rod made its way inside her nostrils. The absorbing cotton at the tip of the rod touched the insides of her nose— taking a sample for testing.

“As a nurse, I have no experience in spearheading the RT-PCR test, but I am aware of the lack of resources and other challenges in the healthcare this pandemic”, Aya shared.

Aya confessed that at home, she’s isolated. She’s living under the same roof with her aging mother, a diabetic older brother, and petite younger sister, yet the walls must be in permafrost, separating her.

Her mother probably thought that it was her fault. She assumed that she must have caught the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after she headed to the public market, where most people never followed health and safety protocols.

“Spreading the virus without taking any precautions is graver than having yourself aware of being tested positive in COVID-19,” the 26-year-old nurse of Iloilo City asserted but with no ill feelings to her mom or whoever caused the difficulty.

Aya recalled that after scooping her pillows down, she opened her social media accounts. Her heart turned a little somersault in her chest when her phone beeped. A day after swabbing, she got the result of her PCR test. While silently praying to all saints and with shaking fingers, she opened the message.

To her disdain, the result is positive, again.


She has suffered physical, emotional, and mental health issues because of what happened. Aya admitted that there were days that she thought she would not wake up the next day.

“Physically, the first three days are the critical ones for me. Emotionally and mentally are the hardest part.” Aya mentioned.

They were vaccinated. Her family got infected in mid-August but survived after 14 days in the facility. As a middle child, she remained as the strong rope that kept the family from falling because of the disease. Her family was tested negative but after seven days, she felt the symptoms.

“My brother is diabetic, and my mom is getting old. It could have been worse to us if we never took the chance to be vaccinated.” Aya stressed.


Here she is now, with hands hugging herself into a ball and eyes trying to hold the tears that are about to pour down. The next day, October 4, was her birthday. God might be wearing black, she assumed. She spent almost another week, tallying days and eyes fixed at the wall clock’s right hand inside her room. Déjà vu sounds nostalgic, yet Aya wanted to burst out from that cycle.

“It is important to follow all the precautionary protocols that the trusted body in health and government is broadcasting. You also need to check your heart and well-being to survive this pandemic”, she suggested.


She found herself doing another swab test. A very familiar feeling of desperation cloyed her as the wet cotton touched her nasopharynx. Every movement of the clock turned sadness into a degree worse than that. She looked like someone ready to jump out of a tall building. And on the thin thread of survival, she’s barely hanging on. She grew numb to pain. However, she shared, “Despite what happened to our family, I am thankful that we got vaccinated. I have a friend, and his family doesn’t want to get vaccinated. They lose a family member because of the virus. They are open to the idea of being vaccinated now.”

She added that the majority preferred Pfizer and Moderna because of their 90% effectiveness. Aya suggested that it is one of the factors that affect the number of people getting vaccinated. However, she is very particular about trusting Science and stopping the proliferation of the media that shares fake news about vaccines.

As a professional herself, Aya discussed, “I am part of the team that vaccinates people. We are patient in making the masses understand that some people have a fever after a few days of injection because the mRNA of the virus is introduced to the body so that antibodies form to boost their immune system. They are not COVID-19 positive because of that.”


October 9, 2021:

Her phone beeped and Aya fished the phone in her pockets with hands trembling in utter need to rise from the ashes. Her pulse, the throbbing of her heart, the sudden jerk and palpitation lit up the once dark room that caged her for a month. An entire disco of lights surrounded the word: NEGATIVE.

“Believing that vaccines can protect you 100% then later on learning that you got tested positive due to COVID-19 is not yet the end of the world. Learn to fight. The world has so many things to offer for you to give up and lose yourself because of the tiny little thing called a virus.” Aya finished with conviction and trust that everyone will see the light that flickers in the end.

Aya has experienced the pitfall of the pandemic. Her room became a deserted and a claustrophobic place to be in. Regardless, her being tested negative for COVID-19 after many tries became the fundamental reason why she looks at the world positively.

Published: April 25, 2022