My Coronavirus Experience
By – Shareefah Abiola Andu
On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, my son got back from work and said he suspected he had COVID-19, because he had a sore throat, head and body aches. He bought malaria drugs and cough syrup.
As a precaution, we both started wearing facemasks in the house and kept our distance from each other.
The next day after taking the cough syrup, the sore throat eased, but the malaria drugs did not stop the head and body ache. The headache was unusual, he said, as it affected the frontal part of his face majorly. Upon research, we bought some drugs and stronger painkillers.
Even with all these drugs, he wasn’t getting any better. I was advised to start treating myself as a precautionary measure because of the exposure, even though I had no sore throat, headache or body pain. So, I administered one of the drugs we had bought on me.
A few hours later, I reacted very violently and became really sick. I became restless, could not sleep and started shivering. When the AC was switched off, I started sweating profusely.
By Friday of that week, the effect of the medicine I had taken was wearing off, leaving only a dull ache and a general feeling of unwellness. For my son, his condition had not changed even as he continued to use all the drugs. So I told him we had to go and do a COVID test.
The CMD of the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Dr Abimbola Bowale, who Her Excellency, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat, wife of the Deputy Governor of Lagos State had introduced me to, arranged for us to get the test done. Everyone in my household went. At IDH, Dr Ogunsanya took our samples and while talking to my son, noticed his unusual voice and asked if he had sinusitis to which he replied in the negative. Dr. Ogunsanya then said he suspected sinus infection, told him to stop all medication and switched him to some antibiotics, Vitamin C, Zinc and some painkillers.
The antibiotics worked like magic and by the next day, my son started feeling better. I was still feeling poorly.
His healing progressed; the body ache reduced to a dull headache. I had slight headache and was indescribably fatigued.
By Monday of the following week, my son was completely okay. By 1.39pm, Dr. Bowale called with news of our test result. “Who is Shareefah?” He asked. I said, “that’s me”. “The Result is positive” he announced over the phone. POSITIVE! Me? It took a few moments before I found my voice. “So what should I do?” He asked if I had any symptoms, I told him not really, but narrated my experience with the initial malaria drug that I had taken. He said, “It was COVID you had then”. He then sent me the prescriptions and told me to self-isolate.
My son did not have COVID, I had it. Then I realised how merciful Allah is to me. My son gave the false COVID alarm and immediately, we all started taking precautions in the house. If God had not pushed him to make that false alarm, I probably would have unknowingly infected everybody in the house and if I hadn’t taken the malaria drug, as a first attack, we wouldn’t have thought of going for a test and the virus would have ravaged my system and might have been too late to treat.
To the glory of God, it ended up being mild. I experienced total loss of smell, loss of taste, lack of appetite, insomnia, excessive sweating, headache, intense fatigue, but no sore throat, no cough, no breathing problem and no high temperature.
Ever before the COVID saga began, I had been extremely careful, bothering on paranoia. I could go to the bathroom five times in five minutes to wash my hands. For almost a year now, I do not use my hand to open doors, I have perfected the use of my elbow, then my shoulder and if need be, I use my foot to wedge the door. I do not use other people’s pens, I minimize the handling of cash, if I need to use the POS machine at the filling station, which is not often, I hold it with a tissue paper and another piece of tissue on my forefinger to punch in my pin, ignoring the funny looks. I clean surfaces with Hypo all the time.
Once the Federal Government imposed the lockdown in April, 2020, I never attended any social event until late November 2020. Between November and December, I attended four events. The fourth and last one was on SUNDAY, December 27, 2020. It was a small event, where everyone was COVID-conscious and wore a mask. At the point of taking pictures, it was suggested that we removed our masks so faces could show in the pictures. After the picture, drinks were served and masks were down to sip the drinks. As we were leaving, someone was holding my right hand, I had the malt in my left, my mask was down and there was a big sneeze and I practically walked right into the sneeze. Alarmed, I said in my mind, “Oh my God, I hope they won’t give me Corona in this place”. I got into the car, used the hand sanitizer, and was pensive all the way home.
I got home, washed my hands and face and forgot about the whole thing. Trying to figure out how I caught this virus, maybe it was at this event because of the timeline, maybe not, maybe I never will know. One thing I know is that all COVID protocols of wearing Face Mask, Social distancing, Coughing or Sneezing into curved elbow were broken.
I got the prescriptions, determined that I will not go into isolation and throw a pity party but will turn it into Khalwah – a spiritual isolation where you spend time with your Creator, talking to no one and leaving out worldly activities. I decided to start and finish reading the whole Qur’an, kept my spirit up and focused on the number of people that survived and not the number that succumbed to COVID. I put my faith in God and He healed me totally.
My advice: adhere to the simple, but effective COVID protocols of wearing face masks, social distancing, coughing or sneezing into curved elbows. They can save lives.