By Chioma Obinna
AS of the 5th of April 2020, a total of 29 COVID-19 patients had recovered and been discharged by the Lagos State Government. It is a rare opportunity to get survivors of this disease to tell their stories of hope.
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi is one of the lucky survivors who gladly told her story to Vanguard Features Health&Living.
For her, the coronavirus disease is not a death sentence because the treatment worked and she is here, hale and hearty. Excerpts:
Where did the boldness to speak about your experience come from when others fear stigmatisation?
As a young person, I have always believed in shattering societal norms and practices that hinder human rights.
Though this context was quite difficult for me as it shrouded with so much stigmatisation, I knew it was important for me to own my narrative, help clear the misconceptions around Coronavirus and inspire people to believe they can survive this virus.
Media has focused largely on new cases and number of deaths, so it is important for me to speak up to dispel myths among Nigerians who believe the virus is a “hoax.”
Importantly, my family and friends also gave me the courage to do what I thought was right and in this case, I chose to speak up.
How did you receive the news of the infection?
I received the news by an ambulance showing up at my house at midnight to pick me to the Isolation Center in Yaba. At that point I did not have my result, but I knew something was wrong and I was likely to have been infected. Well, I called someone from the health team and my thought was confirmed.
Can you possibly pinpoint where and how you contracted the disease?
I was in the United Kingdom, UK, for important events and was in contact with a number of people so it possible I contracted it during those events or through the various transportation mediums I travelled via or even the spaces I visited. Given the high rate and mode of contracting the virus, one could have gotten it anywhere.
While you were at the isolation centre, was there a time you felt you were not going to pull through?
Without a doubt, I had a period I kept contemplating I was not going to pull through this experience, but I kept hope alive.
Can you give graphic details of how the illness deals with infected persons, from the point you started manifesting the symptoms to the peak of your experience?
It is difficult to speak about how the illness deals with infected persons as blood groups and symptoms differ. For me, I had fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, cough, loss of appetite among others.
At some point, I started experiencing back pains which could have been a side effect of the medication I was taking.
What does a typical day of an infected person in an isolation centre look like?
The typical day is waking up in the morning to shower (if you have the energy to get your day running that quick), the nurses will come in the morning to give food, drugs and take medical vitals of all patients.
That’s it for the morning if you are not exhibiting any side effect of the medication. If you are, well, you would be unable to eat that meal and struggle to take your medications.
Afternoon time, the same process happens and applies to the evening. It is like being disconnected from the outside world and being bored. At that point, other patients become your family members; you bond and try to encourage each other.
I remember one of the newly admitted patients who struggled with the side effects of the medication and could neither eat nor take her medication.
We became her accountability partner, encouraging her to be strong and using our personal experiences as an encouragement tool as we have been there, and done that.
At that point, what mattered is the collective recovery and we had a responsibility to be strong for each other.
Having told a little about your story, what was the treatment process like?
The treatment process was both hot and cold. Some days seemed good and indicated recovery, but there were some days that felt like death was lurking around and perhaps one should yield so as to be free from the pain.
In my case, I reacted badly to the medication and had to take additional medication to deal with the side effects.
It is tough giving a graphic picture of my experience, but what is most important is that the treatment worked and I am here; hale and hearty.