Know Your Body.
I woke up… or more accurately, it woke me up; The Covid Fever.
Six days earlier, it had been giving hints but coinciding with my period, I did not think much of it. In fact, for me, it was not uncommon to have some malaise and discomfort around this time. But, this time, I had an inkling that pushed me to go get some drugs from the nearby pharmacy. Something was extra wrong, I just did not know how bad, yet.
So, when this fever woke me, it came with a productive, chest-pain-inducing cough, sorethroat and weakness. The first two symptoms, I was well acquainted with but that last one, better put as ‘Extreme, debilitating fatigue’, was on another level. I am a doctor in a country with overburdened healthcare facilities and personnel. I was accustomed to tiredness. Eating once a day, sleeping less than five hours and working 24hours on some days was not strange. But, never had I been this weak.
Thinking food would help, I took cereal and milk. Major mistake. Midway into it, I was hit by huge waves of nausea. I knew I needed to puke but it seemed the vomitus was stuck, almost like a Mikano generator without fuel. Irritation and irritability were having a field day in and around me.
Pepper. I needed pepper. Something peppery, please. I ordered peppersoup and the hours of waiting for it to be delivered were spent fighting bouts of nausea.
C-19 or… C-19?
The KnighT and my siblings had been informed of my symptoms. Could it be malaria? Dared we hope for the commonly ignored, downplayed, endemic one over the pandemic one? But, I think we all knew which it was already. You see, I had only recently completed a five day back-to-back Emergency Treatment Room (ETR) schedule during which I had personally seen and admitted four suspected Covid-19 cases, two of whom later got positive PCR confirmed results. Of course, I never went to work without a facemask and I washed my hands as often as I could. But, omo.
These patients were left on the open ward for days, allowed to freely interact with other patients and the medical team. They were eventually transferred to the isolation centre but, we cannot even begin to quantify how much havoc had been wrought in the time before that came to be.
Ironically, or not, two days before the REM/NREM sleep interrupting fever, I had tweeted, “At this point, whether I’ve had Covid or not isn’t the issue. How many times I have is what I’m concerned about…”
Little did I know.
The Symptoms, Treatments and Responses.
The ordered peppersoup arrived and I could not eat it. First off, I was nauseous. Secondly, these ones had made stew and called it peppersoup.
I needed to puke. Desperately. Pacing between my room and the restroom, I felt like inducing the gag reflex and getting it over with. Finally, I was on my bed when it eventually came. It threw me off the bed and on to the floor, retching and struggling with the floor. When it let up some, I dragged myself to the restroom. There, I sat on the toilet seat, trying to regain strength, knowing a second wave was imminent. Again, the floor was the safest place when it did come.
Afterwards, I curled up on my bed and cried. Fola, my two month old puppy, curled at the foot of the bed and looked at me with some knowing in her eyes that things were not right.
As the evening drew near, I started having chills and rigor. This looked more like a malaria like symptom but the weyrey was just in disguise. Not long after hiding under warm coverings, my body temperature started rising again. I was using Augmentin, Erythromycin and antimalaria at this point.
I took off my clothes and slept bare. Personally, sleeping naked is uncomfortable because at the back of my mind is a fear of having to run out in the middle of the night for whatever reason and then needing to struggle back into clothes. I mean, having to choose between sharing my nakedness in an emergency and saving my life is not a fair situation. But, this time, I could care less. I was burning up.
We were having water issues that mandated fetching water from a well in the compound using a fetcher. Remember the fatigue? I had little or no strength but I needed water. And with the suspicion of Covid, I was making efforts to limit contact with my housemates. The landlord was trying his best but the well kept drying up till the fetcher was coming back empty.
Then, my professional French exam results came in and i banged woefully. In my sick state, I had initially concluded/calculated that I did well and had started rejoicing. Maybe I just needed some good news to boost me psychologically with hopes that it would spill over to effect some physical change. When I realized the error, I could not even grieve properly. Close to N200k gone down the drain. And an opportunity I was working on placed on hold again. I was sad. Like, really sad. It had been a while I failed an exam. But, I was too sick to express my sadness.
So, I got agbalumo and started binging on it. Besides, it was the one thing I was tolerating. Bonjour le ma si mehn.
12th: This Thing Called Fatigue.
I needed to eat but I did not want to set myself up for another episode of vomiting. Also, my appetite was trash. But, I knew I needed food. So, feasting on funny pictures of the handsome KnighT, I encouraged myself and stepped out to buy chicken which I boiled. By the time, I was done, I was too exhausted and nauseated to eat. One whole kilo of chicken.
I was weak, fam! Only God knows how I got back to my room. I was panting heavily when I eventually did. If I had checked my oxygen saturation then, I doubt it would have been up to 90%. Thank God for the Lucozade and FiveAlive Berry Blast drinks I had while cooking. It’s possible the fever was dehydrating me, so, I had to become deliberate about water and fluid intake. In addition to the other symptoms, my eyes had become tender, swollen and heavy. My face was puffy.
ETR FAMILY: I LOVE YOU GUYS!
I was meant to be on night shift. I sent messages to my chiefs at work and their instant understanding and encouragement was so sweet! They asked me to stay at home, rest, use medications and get better. Azithromycin was delivered to my room, (Bless you, Dr. Sokefun, especially for playing with Fola. I was to show up for Covid-19 screening the next day. The screening could not hold that day as scheduled due to some mix-up, so, it was rescheduled to the 13th.
Again, the evening came with chills. The KnighT casually mentioned, “Use the duvet my Mom made you.” Every night and opportunity I had, I had been praying healing on myself. This night, however, the weakness and chills were just too much. I looked at the brown and purple duvet and thought, “This precious Mother-in-Law would not have made this duvet, all hand stitched, without praying over it.” So, I said, “Amen” to all the prayers she’d prayed and before I knew it, I was asleep.
An hour later, I woke up to tepid sponge. As that was not working well enough, I went to the bathroom, sat on the floor (standing would have been me tempting a terrible fall) and had a cold shower.
That night was the first breakthrough in the course of the infection. I realized that while I had been having acute prayers, I was also riding on chronic prayers I had prayed and those by family and loved ones. This is why it is said that if you wait till the day of battle to test your weapons, you’ve set yourself up for disappointment.
13th: Cheer and Laughs.
DrOlufunmilayo on Twitter put up a breathing test and I tried it. I passed the test even though I almost passed out. Then, I went ahead to laugh/cry at the comments under the tweet. Nigerians are dead funny!
This was early in the morning and I was feeling good. Of course, it could be the faux morning wellness. But, I was grateful at that moment. I was taking seven plus tablets in the mornings, two or three per afternoon and night. Fruits had become a constant.
The KnighT sent jpegs and… I don’t know how pictures could brighten one’s day and bring so much cheer but these ones did and the Holy-Spirit ministered a special name for him to my heart. Very befitting one! T.
14th: The Missings and Missing-Outs.
Had to seriously come to terms with the fact that I’d be missing Diidi’s Introduction and it hurt.
One of my ETR chiefs sent a message/called and said, “You are not a lazy person. Your disposition towards work has been fantastic. So, I know you are not trying to evade work or anything.” I was sincerely touched. The calls and messages from my ETR family did not cease for a long time.
I went for the rescheduled screening. The short walk from the hospital gate to the ETR had me breathless and faint.
At the ETR, I met one of my favorite nurses who was asking why he had not been seeing me around and commenting about how ill I looked. I tried to answer but eventually just moved back, not wanting to expose him to what I was now certain was Covid (even though I was just about to be tested).
The screening procedure is invasive as hell! Jehovah! The pain! But, the moment it was over, the fatigue overwhelmed it.
Got home. Ordered porridge and could not finish it. Lol, if you know me, you’d know my love for porridge and you would understand how much hurt I was in.
Fola ate my charger and I could only get angry.
I took out my hair and washed it.
Nasal congestion had come into the show and my nights had become a struggle. I could not sleep. Steam inhalation only gave mild and temporary relief. Added Cetrizine to my list of medications. One of those nights, the KnighT called and we video-called for a very long time. He watched as I slept off following prayers that worked immediately.
15th: No Smell, No Taste.
My parents and KnighT’s parents were on my neck for daily updates. My Mum was threatening to come down to Abeokuta and I had to beg her husband,my Dad, to please beg her for me to stay put at home.
KnighT went shopping and got me loads of snacks and more drugs. He stayed with me and I kept insisting on him using his facemask and staying some distance away. Later when he’d gone home, one of his chats was, “I just wish I could make you instantly well. (It’s) Vexing me.”
Fever was long gone. I was having mild headaches, nasal congestion and my smell and taste senses were completely gone. I noticed because Fola’s mess-ups in the room were not even being picked by my nose at all. Fatigue had reduced and appetite was getting better.
16th: Virtual Intro.
Diidi’s Introduction was attended virtually. I styled up my hair and even out on makeup. I dressed up and took pictures. By the sixth pose, I was weak again. I spent time looking at her beautiful smile, She and her Bae and the other fine guests.
By the evening, I was really, really feeling and “looking sweetly different”, according to the KnighT.
Cough was the last man standing. dry and without chest pain.
I could taste pepper.
Then, my screening result came out; POSITIVE. The same day I could confidently say I was better. It was funny. Told the families. Prayers rolled in. Mum became more anxious and worried and I wondered if I should have just kept it from her.
Two other medical officers at the ETR had also tested positive. The department went ahead to test everyone. More positive results. But, not as many as i had feared and I was grateful.
18th: Uncle KnighT…
He started feeling ill too and I got worried.
Big Chief at ETR came visiting. Thank you, Sir.
It was announced that all those who tested positive should commence 14 days isolation starting from the day their screening result came out.
19th: Lesekese Medical School by my Mum.
I was purging, probably from the Augmentin.
My mum said to be drinking ewedu at least twice a week, mix ginger and gaarlic to make some sort of tea, drink warm water and tea and fluids, all which tried to adhere to. The ewedu one… she even started calling the KnighT to ensure I was taking it. Had to go and buy, pick, blend and make. I am glad I listened though. That thing was sweet!
20th: All Clear!
KnighT went for the Covid-19 screening today and they said they’ll only call him if he tested positive. Now, his parents and mine have been on his neck for updates. Daily.
They never called and he made full recovery in days.
I retested a week after this; NEGATIVE…, Another story in itself. Stay Tuned.
P-Alaxin, Erythromycin (stopped after day 3), Augmentin, Paracetamol/panadol. Diclofenac/meloxicam, Zinc, Azithromycin, High strength vitamin C, Cetrizine.
Agbalumo, apples, bananas, oranges, watermelon.
Lucozade Boost, FiveAlive (Berry Blast, Citrus Blast, Pulpy), Iced Tea, Hot ewedu with peppery stew, fish, meat and crayfish.
Home based isolation, Tepid sponge, steam inhalation. Acute and Chronic prayers. Word Declarations.
DISCLAIMER: Lol. I am not recommending anything here!!! They worked for me. You can’t be so sure they would for you. Be sure to speak with a doctor/visit a hospital if you suspect you have C-19.
So, celebrating my birthday today is with the higher, more acute awareness that I could have died. I could have been admitted, maybe in the ICU. I could have had to spend thousands or millions on oxygen. Many things could have spiraled totally out of control. But, they did not. I recovered, fully. And on time.
Yes, send gifts. I am not sure about what physical things I would value right now compared to the joy of being healthy. But, my bank account values money.
GTBank. 0163481253 and you can still donate.
Send Funds! #BlowsPowder.