In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the entire world, I have decided to put out this piece to let every reader know the virus is real, closer to you than you thought and gladly, you can overcome it.
The early part of this year was really a tough one for me and my family because I, my son and wife fell sick. I and my son were seriously sick while my wife was mildly sick as well, sadly, it didn’t stop there, it went on to people we were in close contact with.
It all started on Saturday 11th of January 2020, at that time we were fasting. On that Saturday, I went to town for some little run around and business, when I was done with my business, I decided to get some take away food at a nice restaurant in Wuse II, Abuja. As soon as I broke my fast that day with the same food I got, I started having a dry and persistent cough, I dismissed it as a normal cough that it will soon fade away.
The following morning, which was a Sunday, the cough persisted but I was still hoping it will clear off. We all went to church but couldn’t wait till the church closed, we had to leave earlier because I was feeling feverish. The normal me was trying to fight the fever hoping it will go by the next day. Later that night my wife noticed my body was warmer than normal, so we check with the aid of a thermometer and found out my body temperature was above 38, so I took paracetamol to calm the situation and we all slept. The cough and spike in temperature persisted through the night.
On Monday morning, my wife being a nurse didn’t take the situation lightly. She got an I.V (intravenous) line set and commenced administering drip into my system coupled with malaria and cough treatment. I felt my strength was fast dwindling. I was sweating profusely and I had lost appetite for food. It was like 25% of my consciousness was shut. Yet the fever wouldn’t subside. She also commenced a broad-spectrum antibiotic but all to no avail.
Soon enough my son started spiking and treatment began for him as well. All treatment administered by my wife was in consultation with her doctor colleagues. The days were going by and I wasn’t feeling better.
When our neighbors got to know I wasn’t feeling fine, they came to check up on me at different times. I couldn’t engage them for long as I was mentally down. Before I knew what was going on, the two families caught the infection too and that got me more worried and panic almost set in.
I had not been that sick in a very long time. My energy was so down I had to request for Lucuzade Boost aside several ORS I had to take. The malaria treatment was completed but I wasn’t back to myself, the fever was still there, the cough persisted despite use of good brands of cough syrup and same for my son. We had to change the antibiotics to a stronger one based on prescription. Yet I and my son weren’t getting better. While all this was going on my wife caught the infection too but for God knows why, she wasn’t as knocked off as I and our son were. She could still run around to get medications for us.
On one of the occasions, we had to go to the hospital to unofficially see one of her doctor colleagues to check and probably recommend investigations or medications but we were advised to complete the antibiotics as the test result will not be correct since medication have already commenced. On our way out that day we were asked by a doctor friend who works at the National Hospital Abuja to stop by so she could check me. Haven examined me and with the brief history, she suspected upper respiratory infection as my wife had earlier suspected. Unfortunately, days after, I learnt she and her son contracted the infection (the doctor friend is a sister to our neighbour). I felt so sad and my wife cried because it started from our house and it was escalating super-fast.
All the while, I never wanted to be admitted in a hospital because I believed that will automatically make the situation worse for me, stress my wife and will also get my aged parents worried knowing fully well, I’ve only been on hospital bed once during my service year. While I was about midway into the stronger oral antibiotics and still not getting better, I told my wife, “Please, if I’m not better by tomorrow morning, take me to the hospital”. At that point the reality almost superceed my coping mechanism, I’ve never had such magnitude of mental fatigue. It was like I was fast closing my eyes to this world. It was not funny.
My wife had to put call through again and this time she was advised to administer intravenous antibiotics for both me and my son which I had earlier refused because I felt the matter wasn’t that serious. It was only after then I began to feel better and recover. At that time, I had lost weight and I was frail. I completed the IV antibiotics and felt better but we had to go get some more supportive medication at H-Medix in town, so I drove (we reside at a near suburb to central business district), I thought I was completely ok, when we were done buying stuff, I told my wife, “Please drive.” My energy was zapped, I hadn’t fully recovered from the mental fatigue. I had to take one further week of bed rest before I could fully recover even after completion of medications.
As at January 23rd thereabout, the doctor friend who examined me and suspected upper respiratory infection had been admitted with her son at the National Hospital Abuja, that wasn’t all, her doctor colleague who went to set line for her son at home had also contracted the infection and it spread to the later doctor’s daughter too. A few classmates from my neighbor’s son’s school had reported sick. I got worried and decided to call NCDC to report, but for unknown reason I couldn’t reach them on phone. So, I decided I would go to NCDC office on Monday Jan 27th to lodge a report. Before then, we decided to go visit the doctor friend and her son at The National Hospital on Sunday January 26th.
When we got to the hospital, we met her in good condition. I discussed with her that I will go to NCDC to go lodge a report but she told me the FCT Infectious Disease Control (NCDC) had taken her sample for investigation and that there may be no need to further escalate the matter. This was corroborated by the consultant physician who managed her as he concluded the it was a “Self-Limiting Upper Respiratory Viral Infection”. The doctor and her son got better and were discharged afterward.
Thankfully, everyone I knew of who contracted the disease recovered. Although I subsequently had an inflamed bronchus (my left side), I treated that with heat several times and that was it.
From all indications the following can be deduced from the experience:
1. We dealt with a super contagious viral infection
2. No one could state at what point we individually contracted the virus
3. All the signs and symptoms were no different from that of COVID-19
4. The infection could be fatal if NOTHING is done
5. Not everyone in our close contact contracted the virus (My younger sister and a neighbor’s wife)
6. Covid-19 might have been in Nigeria earlier than announced
7. As far as I know, not less than 20 people contracted the disease
Kindly note I cannot categorically say what we had was COVID-19 because no such investigation was carried out on any of us. The result of the doctor retuned NEGATIVE FOR LASSA FEVER VIRUS and no other viral test was conducted. When Nigeria had the index case for COVID-19, I called NCDC to know if I could get an antibody test but was told they were currently only conducting antigen test for people who show symptoms for COVID-19.
The essence of this write up is to know you can beat a viral infection. Viral infection is not a death sentence but shouldn’t be allowed to progress. Full recovery is also possible if prompt and proper measures are taken.Stay Safe, Healthy & Secured!
Sunday Afolabi Awoniyi 08186414186Abuja