I travel a lot from London to Lagos and to Abuja for business; my family isnt in Nigeria so when I flew to Abuja on the 20th of May; I decided to stay a few days in Abuja after I concluded my business.
Besides, I asked myself, ‘what are you going to do in Lagos; your business is running smoothly, you can work remotely online and you have competent staff to handle things for you.’ Plus I honestly needed a break, so I decided to take two days to lounge in Abuja
Now, because I am a frequent flier, I had been told by my doctor that I needed to walk around more often to get my blood circulating and avoid deep vein thrombosis; this happens when blood clot forms on your leg and if not properly managed, can cause serious pain and even an aneurysm. So because I had been feeling a tingling on my left leg, staying a few more days back in Abuja made sense.
I had been in the hotel for a few days when my leg began to give me cause for serious panic; I had taken my regular medication but the pain did not subside, I needed urgent medical attention; so I called the personal assistant of the client I had come to Abuja to see and asked her whether she could recommend a hospital where I could go to see a doctor. She directed me to the one her boss uses. I said thanks, called an Uber and went there immediately.
At the hospital, which was a very posh, very high class hospital by the way; my blood samples were taken for a test; not just to determine the extent of my ailment but I was also asked to do the mandatory Covid- 19 test; the result came out negative.
And no, I hadn’t taken my jab, I was hoping to do so in Lagos.
Anyway, at the hospital in Abuja, they treated me and sent me back to my hotel room reminding me to take regular walks to keep my blood flowing as advised by the doctor.
By the third day after testing negative; I began to cough. Prior to my hospital visit, I wasn’t coughing, so I was mildly surprised when I began to cough and over the next two days, the cough grew progressively worse…
I was taking my usual walk that day when I realized I couldn’t breathe; I asked myself, ‘what is this?’
Covid-19 symptoms did not immediately come to mind because I tested negative when a nose swab was done for me at the hospital.
But I panicked and called my doctor, I said, ‘Doctor, what is happening to me? I can’t breathe, I coughed all night…what is going on?’
We talked and he told me to calm down and let him know what happens next.
The following days were hellish as the full symptoms began to manifest one after another. I was on the phone constantly with my doctor relaying every new symptom that presented itself.
Now for Covid-19, we know there is no cure, so my doctor advised I remained isolated and treat each symptoms at it came. I told the Hotel manager to always leave my meals at the door in a tray and knock. I told him I would be in my room, for some days and that room service should be suspended for me but fresh sheets delivered at my door step.
I suffered severe back ache by the fourth day or so and insomnia for days; I couldn’t sleep for more than 2 to 3 hours max; I mean, I had difficulty breathing not to mention the irritating cough…and constant pain, it was no wonder I couldn’t sleep…and I then I lost my sense of smell. That was when I knew that negative test or not, I had entered the Covid-19 one chance.
My doctor advised I purchased zithromax, zinc, Vitamin D, anti-malarial drugs and paracetamol and follow his prescription. Now notice I said anti-malarial drugs. He told me to buy that vitamin C pack, the C1000 and dissolve to drink one tablet daily…in my distraught state, I took one in the morning and one in the evening; when I told the doctor, he said to me that my body only needed 1000, anything more would be waste because my body won’t absorb it.
Anyway, I was treating feverishness, I was treating my cough with cough syrup; I bought the Vicks inhaler and was using to help me breath and I was doing plenty of steaming; that is melting vapor rub in hot water and inhaling under cover of towel, this helped to clear the mucus and enabled me breathe better.
I didn’t drink ginger, eat garlic, take lemon…alkaline fruits; I have an ulcer, alkaline products would flare my ulcer, so I abstained from all of these. I focused on getting my immunity up and praying- you never underestimate the power of prayers.
I had fits of doubts; would I make it out of this hotel room? Would I see my family again? If anything happened to me, there would be no final farewell, that was my number 1 fear of isolation units. I heard patients were taken away and buried without family or friends being present!
Talking to my husband and kids in London became the highpoints of my day. I lived to hear their voices drinking their words in like fine wine. My husband wanted to fly down but I didnt think it was a good idea. What if he caught it too?
But once our conversations ended, my mind would be racked with all kinds of scenes playing like a cinema reel; for me, the mind torment is the worst of this virus; being in isolation didn’t help at all and I imagined those who lost their lives in isolation wards must have suffered this mental torment.
Thankfully, after 10 days, my body began to overcome the virus; slowly the chest racking coughs began to cease and the fever broke but even so, I would wake up in sweat many nights after being able to sleep for just a few short hours.
I recovered from Covid-19 in isolation at a hotel room; that I lived to tell my story, is in itself a miracle!
And yes, I informed the hotel manager the reason I stayed in my room 24/7 was because I had contacted the virus and didn’t want to risk spreading it.
He thanked me for my honesty but said he didnt believe people could die from it!
Then he said two other guests before me had also had symptoms and he ensured his staff adhered to the protocols of handwashing, wearing of masks even while serving guests.
He promised to air and disinfect the room I was in and as for the bedsheets, he said they always steam washed them.
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)