Previously, I shared the story about how I got the terrible news of having COVID-19, a day after I arrived in Copenhagen.
In the end of the story, I somehow managed to convince the Kommune to give me a self-isolation room for 7 days. What I’m going to continue here is my experience of voluntary self-isolation in a government-provided hotel.
This article picks up exactly where the previous article left off. I know I should have completed this article 2 weeks ago. I even promised that I would, but then I broke it. I feel bad about, but here is the article in its complete form.
January 12th 2021, a Tuesday, started like any other work-from-home day. The morning was dark, gloomy, and cold. There was not a single speck of sun light coming from the windows at 6:00 AM.
And everything was so silent… until my alarm rang.
Strangely, that day I found it easy to wake up. It could have been because of the jet lag: 6:00 AM in Copenhagen was around mid-day in Jakarta. After waking up, I proceeded with my routine: I made my bed, drank a glass of water, did some small stretching, and then prepared breakfast.
I tried smelling the yoghurt that I prepared, and I still could smell it. I then proceeded to taste it… and my yoghurt still tasted like yoghurt. I also felt quite alright.
“Do I really have the COVID virus in me?” I thought.
I just found it really strange to still be able to smell and taste things — I thought it was certain that I would lose my senses. That’s what they said in the news.
I then called my family to see whether they had taken their PCR test. I also did the same to my friends that I hung out with back home. They both said they, at least, had a test booked. That made me feel relieved.
As the work day started, I joined my scheduled training on Microsoft Teams.
After a few hours in the training, and I started noticing that (1) I felt slightly more tired than usual, (2) breathing took a bit more effort. It was rather difficult to keep my attention to the meeting due to that.
However, what I felt could’ve had been a placebo or the jet lag. I tried to not pay too much attention to it.
After finishing a less-productive work day, I packed, checked out of my AirBnB, and started walking to the self-isolation hotel. It was a short walk; It took me only 10-15 minutes to reach the address.
The Good Morning Star Copenhagen Hotel
I finally found the hotel, but to my surprise it seemed as if it wasn’t operating. Many of the lights were turned off, and there wasn’t a sign of life in a glance. There was a faint sign of screen light being reflected by the wall, but that was it.
I thought it was eerily strange, so I stopped and stood in front of the door for a while. And what made it more strange was that the automatic front door didn’t open. I took a pause, and I remembered that the guy from Kommune told me to ring the bell. So I did.
“Hej,” a male voice emanated from the intercom.
“Hi! I’m Febiyan, and I have made an appointment with the Kommune to do self-isolation here. I’m supposed to check in at 6 PM,” I said.
“One moment…” he took a brief pause, “Okay. I see your name. Please come in.“
The door suddenly opened, but I was still not sure because it was dark. It was a bit creepy. It felt like I was going to somewhere I didn’t want to go.
I cautiously walked in, and I was greeted with… a box of latex gloves and a bottle of hand sanitizer. I cleaned my hands with the sanitizer, and put some gloves on, then proceed.
And then there was another set of doors that opened. I carefully stepped in with my suitcase to the dark lobby. I looked around. The lobby seemed empty, but I could finally spot the receiptionist.
I walked towards him. There he was, standing behind a clear acrylic separator. The darkness of the room made it quite hard to recognize how he looked. He was finally recognisable once the computer screen he was looking at lit up.
The reception asked me my name, and my credit card number. I gave them the details he needed, and he dropped the key to the room in front of me. Then he proceeded by giving the instructions on how I should behave during the lockdown.
These were the instructions:
- There will be food delivered to my door 3 times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- I can’t get out of the room for 15 minutes during certain hours. It’s the timeframe that the room service uses to deliver food to the infected’s rooms.
- I am allowed to go to the supplies room and the courtyard.
- I am not allowed to use the elevator during my stay. I had to use the stairs to go to the courtyard.
- The length of stay is 8 days, but it can be extended if I don’t feel better.
- If I step outside the hotel, then I can’t go back inside anymore. I couldn’t go out to take a test and go back again.
After the introduction, I went up to my room. This was how the room looked like:
I had imagined the hotel to be more hospital-ish, but to my surprise, it was actually a pretty decent, 3-stars hotel. In the hotel, I got my own room which came with a double bed, a table, a shower and toilet, and some other standard amenities.
On the first morning I was there, I woke up by a knocking sound from the door. Then, there were this rustling paper sound, and a small “thud” sound. Aha, it’s the breakfast being delivered to my door!
I waited for 15 minutes and here’s what I got for breakfast:
The breakfast contained some fruits, 2 pieces of bread, some jams, butter, and cheese. There were also yogurt and oats. It was more than I could ask for, and it even had more variety compared to my usual breakfast.
I was so grateful for it.
After finishing my breakfast, I did some small exercises, read a book, then took a shower. I also took the time to update my family and friends to tell them I was okay. I was positive that the day would be great and smooth.
…until I started to feel really fatigued in the afternoon.
After lunch, I started noticing that my head felt really cloudy, and I was extremely hard to keep up with the training that I was on. My breathing was also a bit restricted — it felt like I couldn’t really take a pleasant deep breath. I tried opening the windows to get some oxygen, but it didn’t really help.
I decided to try to go as far as I could, but I finally gave up around 3 PM. I then took, which was originally meant to be a 15-minutes nap, a 3 hours worth of sleep. The strange thing was: even after sleeping, I still felt tired and I felt like there wasn’t much vigor in me.
But since it was 7 at night, I thought that I could eat some food. I checked my door for the possibility of having my dinner already delivered. And it was there! Free meals 3 times a day!
These 2 days were the peak days of the COVID-19 symptoms. I don’t think I can write that much about it, since what I did mostly was sleeping through the day. I slept around 15 hours a day!
Day 3 was a Thursday. I remember waking up feeling really tired and weak. I started to have fever, which fortunately wasn’t too bad, compared to the worst I have had.
The worst fever I had was from the dengue fever 10 years ago. It was also probably the most terrible illness that I’ve got. I lost my appetite, sense of taste, and strength for more than 3 days because of the dengue fever. It felt like I had no life in me.
Anyway. Back to the COVID-19 situation.
The morning on day 3 was quite alright. I felt tired and slightly heavy, sluggish, and just generally bad. I could feel the illness was there, and I could feel my body was trying to fight it. I ended sleeping after I finished my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
This was the same with Friday — day 4.
At that point, I didn’t really want to entertain the thoughts of not being able to see other people. But it was difficult. It was boring and I had very limited space to roam. It was also frustrating to be alone.
I wanted to get through this as soon as I could.
On day 5, my body showed a sign of recovery. My body became lighter again, although I still feel sleepy-tired during the day. I just followed whatever my body wanted during that day: I took enough naps, ate enough, exercised enough, and be well again.
On day 6, a Sunday, I was able to get back into my routine. I spent the day reading, catching up with the missing materials of my training, and just relaxing. It finally felt nice again. I finally felt that I was back in my body.
Day 7, a Monday. I felt fresh. I felt great. I felt my power back and I believed that I was okay again. There was no more sluggishness and sleepiness. I went back to work and I performed quite well the whole day.
The day of freedom had finally come. I had to leave the hotel, so I called the reception stating that I would like to check out in the evening. The reception, which was a lady this time, told me to pack all the bed and pillow sheets. They needed to be packed, and then put into a particular room in that floor.
That evening, I went down to the reception with my bags packed. Behind the same reception bar was the lady who received my call.
“How are you feeling?” She asked.
“Much much better! It’s great to be finally able to be back in society.” I responded.
After some pleasantries, the reception proceeded by checking if I had anything extra that I purchased. Seeing that I had not purchased extra things, she just smiled at me. Then she cheerfully said I was successfully checked out.
I thanked her and left the lobby.
As I left the lobby, there was this strange feeling that surged in my head. I still couldn’t believe that this happened to me — I got COVID-19, went to an isolation, and survived it. It felt long and short at the same time.
But I knew that I needed to make sure that I didn’t have the virus anymore. I felt healthy, but I needed to be 100% sure that I would not accidentally infect with this annoying virus. I had to immediately take a test, and I had booked one in advance.
Feeling rushed because the booking would be in 1.5 hours, I went to the central station. From there, I took the Metro. After arriving at my apartment, I took a brief break in my room and then immediately left. I made sure I disinfect any surfaces that I touched.
I took the Metro again, this time to the airport where a test center is located. I am so glad that in Denmark, taking a PCR test is free. In my home country, Indonesia, it costs quite some money to take one. The high taxes really pay it back.
After 1.5 days of waiting, I finally got a negative test result. It was a HUGE relief. It felt really great to fully know that I could go back to society. It also felt quite reassuring that I would be having some form of antibody, at least for the next 3 months.
I told my family and friends immediately afterwards, and they were happy to hear the news as well. My worlds was good again.
If I were asked this question: “So what do you think? Do you think ”
Well I was fortunate. My body was healthy enough to fight off the virus rather quickly, and I seem to not have any of those long term effects. The worst thing that I had was that I felt so tired and drained. I slept through most of the stormy phase and I came out alive and kicking.
The Danish health care was also kind enough to sustain me while I was sick. The staffs were accommodating, even for an immigrant/expat like me. They gave me a room, and it wasn’t a shabby one. They fed me good healthy food 3 times a day. Instant coffee was included for free as well. 🙂
But what mattered most, to me, was my support circle. My family and friends had been a great mental support. They kept talking to me, and never let me felt too lonely and sad. They made me feel that I was not alone in the struggle. I am really thankful to have them in my life.
I am aware that not everyone was as fortunate as I was. The disease is real. The virus is contagious, and it can infect you in ways or events that you don’t understand. Nor notice.
And once you have it, you can infect anyone without you knowing.
Once infected, it could cost them their time, energy, health, and sometimes… life. And not only theirs, it could be their families and loved ones. Please have that in mind.