Coronavirus Updates

Battling fever for 20 days and getting tested for COVID-19: I was on an emotional roller coaster

Hannah Chan // May 14, 2020, 3:19 pm

FEVER FOR 20 DAYS FEATURE

On February 3, I returned to Singapore from Shanghai and served my 14-day leave of absence (LOA) without any symptoms.  But on February 21, I developed a fever that broke only on March 11.

Yes, I had a fever that lasted for about 20 days. 

Knowing that fever is one of the symptoms of COVID-19, I was worried for my 74-year-old grandmother since I stay alone with her and had interacted with her after my LOA ended. 

Over the next few days, I bore this weight of guilt because I didn’t know what I had contracted. The last thing that I wanted was to be an asymptomatic carrier. I didn’t want to jeopardise the health of my family and friends.

FROM ISOLATION TO PEACE

On the 10th day of my fever (March 1), I went to the ER to get a swab test for COVID-19 done. I was sent home to wait for my results, but told to return if the fever and other symptoms continued beyond five days.

Although I was later informed that I had tested negative, I was still having a fever on March 6. Since my fever had persisted for more than two weeks by now, I decided to go back to the hospital. 

At the ER, I was sent to the isolation area. After getting a few tests done, they didn’t think that I was at risk of being a COVID-19 patient and decided to bring me to the regular ward.

But on the way there, a nurse came running after us and said that I had to be re-assigned to the pneumonia ward because my X-ray had showed a lung infection. 

The first night in the isolation ward was my lowest point. I felt so alone – like an outcast.

But this was quickly replaced by peace as the breakthrough I had experienced during my personal worship with God a few days ago reminded me of how God was right there by my side through everything.

Despite the isolation, I was able to feel at peace. My fever finally broke on March 11. 

TEARING DOWN THE WALLS

When the fever wouldn’t go away at first, I was angry.

After the first week of being sick, I was feeling really, really down. Out of spite towards God, I didn’t set aside time to commune with Him.

Instead, I wrestled a lot with God. I kept telling Him: “Why can’t You heal me? It’s a mild fever. You just need to take a couple of degrees off and I’ll be fine!” 

It was only on the 8th day of my fever that I recall so vividly how the Holy Spirit spoke to me. I hadn’t heard so clearly from the Holy Spirit before. 

“Hannah, I think you should go praise and worship now.” 

Though reluctant, I obeyed the prompt. I quietened my heart, then scrolled through my playlist to choose a worship song. 

While searching, God divinely dropped these three words into my mind: “give me faith”. I searched it up on Spotify and found out that it was a song written by Elevation Worship.

“I need you to soften me and break me apart”

As these lyrics were sung, I began bawling. I felt so known by God. It was a timely reminder that He knew the condition of my heart – my stubbornness and the little kid’s tantrum I was throwing.

And yet He didn’t get mad at me. Instead, He gently nudged me to come before Him in wholehearted surrender, to break apart the walls that I had built up against Him. 

ALLOWING MYSELF TO BE KNOWN

I don’t like to share my struggles with people. Because of my insecurities, I’m always afraid to talk about my weaknesses. I worry that these would change the way people see me. 

As such, I’d usually only share about the struggles that I had already overcome. I’d package these stories with much tact and top them with a nice little bow. 

If I didn’t have any of such breakthroughs, I’d share only struggles that were rather superficial. For instance: “I watched too much Netflix this week.” 

But I realised I had a part to play in making myself known to the spiritual family that God had gifted me with.

Because of my unrelenting fever, I was honestly emotionally and mentally drained.

What do courage and vulnerability look like in the Church?

This made it even harder for me to share with my cell group about what I was going through. To me, expressing my doubts and unhappiness would only serve to remind me of one thing – that I wasn’t well yet.

In His grace, God sent my cell group to come alongside me during this this phase of my life. They were so intentional in checking in with me every day to ask how I was coping.

Though there wasn’t any improvement in my physical health, the support that they offered me emotionally gave me the room to share my thoughts, fears and worries. As I witnessed how patient they were, I saw that they weren’t doing this out of courtesy.

Their persistence taught me that this bunch of friends were not there just for days when we had cell group or church service. Instead, they were a group of believers whom I could journey through life with.

And while they were reaching out to me, I had to play my part as well. I had to allow them into my life so that they could better walk through this season with me.

Through this, I learnt the value and beauty in being vulnerable with my struggles. 

As I look back, I see God’s fingerprints over this entire incident. 

In Jeremiah 29:11, we see how God encouraged the people of Israel who were exiled in Babylon. He wanted them to know this: that He knows what He is doing.

Going through this 20-day fever episode has helped me to acknowledge His sovereign control over seemingly negative situations. Although God did not orchestrate my fever, He was able to turn this into something good and for His glory.

I’m glad that I had responded in a manner that allowed Him to spiritually strengthen me despite my physical weakness.

THINK + TALK

  1. When surrounded by situations that get you down, is praise and worship your first or last resort?
  2. How comfortable are you sharing your struggles with your cell group/a trusted community of believers?
  3. Have you built walls around yourself – against people and God?