Richmond pastor and his family share COVID-19 recovery journey

A Richmond pastor and his wife recently took to YouTube to share their story of becoming infected with COVID-19 and how they recovered at home.

“We have seen the provincial health officer reporting the COVID-19 cases every day, but we haven’t heard a lot of stories told by families or individuals who’ve battled against the virus. These personal experiences might offer you a different or even a closer look at the virus,” said Anson Ann, 43, a dad of three girls, who also contracted the virus, and a pastor at Good Shepherd Richmond, a church primarily serving Richmond’s Cantonese-speaking groups. 

“We hope others don’t live in constant fear, worry and anxiety due to the virus but also not to underestimate the risk of getting it.”

Charis, Ann’s wife, told the Richmond News that she felt drained and a little under the weather on Aug. 19, but the next day her health degraded. She had been grappling with a low-grade fever and smelt a strange odor coming from her mouth. 

On Aug. 21, Charis went to a testing site and received a phone call the next day confirming she had tested positive. Meanwhile, Ann and their daughters also started showing COVID-19 related symptoms, so later all of them went to the hospital to get tested. 

On Aug. 23, Ann was contacted by a nurse, saying he and his middle daughter tested positive, but the other two daughters, ages 13 and 6, were negative. However, the eldest began feeling poorly two days later. At the time, Ann and his wife were pretty sure their whole family was infected with the virus. 

Positive for 14 days and the recovery journey
“For me, I wasn’t worried about my physical condition,” said Charis. “What worried me the most was my husband and children’s health. I didn’t know how they would react to it. I was also more concerned about people I had been in contact with more than my own health.” 

The couple have no idea how they caught the virus as they had been very cautious while they were out in the public. 

“We didn’t think we could have caught COVID-19. We strictly follow all public health guidelines from Dr. Bonnie Henry, so we don’t know where or how we caught it,” said Ann. 

Anson and his family were contacted by a nurse from Vancouver Coastal Health every day over the phone to check if anyone’s health condition had gotten worse. 

“The nurse will ask what symptoms we have, how severe they are, and they will give us some suggestions, such as drinking lots of water and taking some Tylenol for fever and pain. We have severe headaches, low-grade fever and body aches,” said Ann, adding that “COVID-19 is worse than the flu.”

Meanwhile, Charis suffered from a temporary loss of taste and smell. 

But Ann said they have been relatively lucky since none of them developed a respiratory illness or an ongoing dry cough. 

Support from Richmond’s community
While Ann and his family were recovering at home, their church friends volunteered to keep delivering meals to their doorstep until they were back on their feet. 

Considering Ann’s youngest daughter is only six years old, church members were concerned that quarantine life would be particularly dull for her so they chatted with her via Zoom and ordered toys from Amazon to keep her entertained.

Ann said the “outpouring of love and support from Richmond’s community” helped them stay calm and recover from the virus more rapidly. 

“I am speechless and touched beyond words. We are thankful for the supportive network and our strong community spirit,” added Ann. 

Ann said all of their symptoms disappeared on Sept. 1, and the nurse handed them a certificate to confirm they could return to the community. 

On Sept. 25, Ann and his wife shared their story through the Good Shepherd Richmond Church’s YouTube channel. 

“We understand that each recovery story is different. But at the same time, we want people not to be fearful and also stay cautious,” said Ann.

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