MY COVID EXPERIENCE By Grateful Ug.

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Many of you have been bothered about my absence. Well, I, my husband and son had corona virus. No jokes. Shocked? Don’t be.

 

For starters, I live in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic. A place where almost one thousand people died daily from the disease as of the time I had it, and here I double as a practicing medical doctor and a medical director. Simply put, I work two jobs and I take care of sick people. My husband on the other hand functions as a public health epidemiologist; they monitor the spread of infections and diseases in the state.

So, after my birthday in mid-march, I returned home from work and met my husband coughing badly. I was alarmed but I somehow I found strength to prescribe the appropriate medications. He took the meds with a cough expectorant but his condition didn’t improve.

That week at work, I became strangely unfocused and tired. I felt like I had malaria which is really weird because I haven’t had it in more than a decade. Immediately, I zoomed off to the pharmacy to pick up medications. Guess what? The moment I arrived, I noticed had become so weak to the extent I couldn’t stand on the queue. Quickly, I grabbed a seat until it was my turn to be attended to. After everything, I headed home to see my husband.

I got home to meet my son, Manny who is equally asthmatic, vomiting. He vomited to the extent I had to place him alongside my husband on some meds. The next day, I repeated the dosage and my son’s health improved. But my husband’s didn’t. Instead his coughs intensified. Ha! Eventually, we adopted one of the couches in the house as his permanent residence because he could no longer walk. He slept, ate and urinated there, and I cleaned him up at the same spot. Suddenly, it hit me that my husband had COVID. A reality that took enough willpower to accept.

Funny enough, my health was also deteriorating but I didn’t test myself because testing wasn’t easily accessible. Again, the stress of nursing my husband and catering to infected people at work was very overwhelming. Besides, I knew I was already exposed and saw no reason to add the mental trauma that accompanied test results, when my family and my patients needed me to be strong.

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In the end, I called the medical response team to come pick up my husband. But as they moved him out of the house, it occurred to me that I might never see him again because, patients who didn’t survive were immediately disposed by the hospitals because the funeral homes were overwhelmed and as part of the health guidelines. Armed with my new reality, I cried and begged to follow the medical team but they refused. All through the ER, I constantly called, and when I realized he might be put on a breathing machine, I panicked. So far, most COVID patients I knew who had been through that exercise never recovered. They died. God! I couldn’t bear the thought.

Manny overheard my tears and comforted me greatly. In his words; “mummy, God is for us. God is with us.”

It didn’t take long, my husband was sent back from the ER. They rejected him on claims that his case wasn’t so bad and they didn’t have enough space to accommodate patients. On that ground, they suggested that he be self- isolated and treated from home. How? They wanted him back when he has almost stopped breathing so they can put him on a breathing Machine! Well, as a Medical doctor I didn’t blame them much because I was aware of the condition of New York hospitals, including where I worked. Health Facilities were flooded with patients who died with every tick of the clock. At that time, I had lost close to fifteen patients, myself.

I became disturbed when I noticed I couldn’t temporarily leave work to go take care of my husband. Reason? My two colleagues supporting me had left. One of them and her entire family had caught the virus and the other one was equally sick. In a nutshell, it dawned on me that I wasn’t just saddled with the responsibility of nursing my husband back to health, but I was left with more than five hundred patients to manage, alone. By then, I had lost so much weight [15 lbs in 3 weeks] due to the intentional neglect of my own health and persistent diarrhea which I later found out was a sign of COVID Infection.

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Anyway, I encouraged myself by devising ways to manage my schedule. In the morning I would disinfect the house, then feed my husband and let my kids watch him, while I dashed off to work to take care of my patients. When I returned, my kids would go to sleep and I’d resume my duties again.

Fortunately, the entire New York began to pray at the time. By ourselves we had come into the awareness that science couldn’t do much. Our health outlets had become death zones and some doctors shied away from their patients because they and their families were also dying! Also, Nurses too, became executors of wills. Once patients passed, they called their families to deliver their last instructions.

So I joined in the prayers too and during that period, my brother sent me a prayer clip that bordered specifically on the pandemic. It was led by Pastor David Ogbueli of Dominion City church. Every day I would sing praises, play the clip and pray along as I disinfected my house, and as God instructed, I would praise, pray and take the communion with my entire family.

Normally, COVID patients die or take turn for the worse on the 10th-11th day of infection, and while at work on the eleventh day, my husband called to tell me “I can’t breathe anymore…” I panicked and rushed home to resuscitate him. But when it hit me that he wasn’t recovering, I prayed and resigned my fate to God.

People! God spoke back to me that minute. He told me to give him steroids/ prednisone and albuterol nebulizers as opposed to the Hydrochloroquine, Azithromycin, Tamiflu and Ampliclox he had been taking. Funny thing, these medications were prohibited for treating patients with the virus as of the time this happened, but in the end, I had to obey God. Meanwhile, steroids are usually administered to asthmatic patients and since my son was asthmatic, we had enough. But I zoomed off to procure the rest, and being a medical practitioner gave me easy access. These medications birthed by the Holy Spirit gave us the breakthrough we needed!

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Gradually, my husband began to recover and he confirmed it. Wow! I was happy but I didn’t stop praying with the prayer clip. Daily as I prayed and administered those medications, his health began to improve rapidly. I became more amazed when he was promoted and called to manually sign some papers at work for confirmation. Yes, I was happy about the promotion but the fact that he could move around without support, was gold. It meant a lot to me.

In the long run I tested myself and my results weren’t just negative, but I discovered I now had the antibodies against the Virus too. I don’t know how long they’d last, but at the moment, I am grateful to God. Really, COVID broke my family in multiple ways. For me, it came with malaria-like symptoms and diarrhea, my husband had mostly respiratory challenges like severe shortage of breath and dry persistent coughs, and my son’s symptoms were more gastro-intestinal like severe abdominal pains and terrible coughs.

Bottom line: God used COVID to remind the world about love and companionship. Many people that died this period were those that didn’t have anyone to care for them. Divorced were the worst hit; many of them were found dead in their apartments, days later. Even those that made it to the hospital still died because they didn’t have people to call in and encourage them to fight. My husband survived because he had me, and I survived because I had God Almighty to lean on.

Yes! This pandemic had stretched exponentially across the world; infecting genders, crippling economies and provoking dramatic shifts in our lifestyles, but it is essential that we know that it is also a wakeup call for us to support one another in tangible ways and to also remember God’s promise to be with us at this very time of need. Please, let us not underrate the place of prayer; God is still alive and He still works miracles.




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