“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”
These words from author Emma Donoghue sums up what Tatak Kalamay members feel about the courageous act of nurse, Arlene Flores Jayme, who publicly announced her COVID-19 positive status, disregarding the risk of getting discriminated against.
Yesterday, TK rewarded the bravery of Jayme by handing her P20,000 and hoping that her story would end discrimination and the stigma of having COVID-19.
Jayme, a nurse who works at Panasiatic, posted her positive laboratory result on Facebook and appealed to those she had close contact with on July 26 to August 9 to inform her so she can add their names to her contact tracing list.
“With so many of you that I see every day, I may not be able to remember each one so I am asking that if you ever visited the clinic on those dates, to please send me a private message for contact tracing,” she wrote on her social media page.
That post has since been shared over a thousand times and friends and netizens lauded her bravery.
TK convenor, Dave Alba, said “We wanted to highlight Arlene’s courage as this is an example of how we can, in our own small way, help end this pandemic. Her public appeal just showed the public how important it is to be truthful with your status and make the people understand that while COVID-19 is something to be feared, it is not something to be discriminated against.”
Jayme, who thanked TK, said she was “surprised” by the monetary gift “and I am very grateful for this gesture.”
She admitted that she was initially scared of posting her appeal, not knowing how her company and the public will react but added that “the safety of those I had been in contact with was paramount so that they too can isolate themselves and get tested.”
As a company nurse, Jayme said she sees more than 30 employees at the clinic on a regular day “and there is always that possibility that I could have infected any of them.” She added that she does not even know how she was infected “but it is what it is and I have to deal with it and protect others.”
She recounted that she started sensing that something was wrong on the first week of August when she had diarrhea. She started monitoring her vitals but never had fever. Soon it was followed by the loss of her sense of taste and sore throat which prompted her to stay home and get tested.
Jayme, who lives in Barangay Mansilingan, a recognized “hot spot” in Bacolod, said she was just thankful that at the onset of her symptoms, she sent her two children to live with their grandmother in another barangay.
Her husband, Christopher, has been swabbed and waiting for his test results. “He has been taking care of my needs as I am sealed off even from him until his results are out,” Jayme said.
She is scheduled for re-swabbing soon and she hopes that she has recovered from the virus. She admitted, however, that she still has symptoms and continues to take medication.
Jayme said she had no intention of getting praised for her actions but all the same she thanked the public and she hopes that it will help end discrimination against those who contracted the virus.*