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How I survived Covid-19: A personal account

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IT feels good to be outside my gate and see little children play in the dirt.

“Uncle how are you,” yells one. I am pretty sure they missed me, or the few notes I often give them to buy sweets.

For the past two weeks, I have been in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

The closest I have been to the action outside was a peep through the gate as I yearned to go outside and talk to neighbours.

The walls in my room sternly stared at me for the past 14 days, as I endured the gruelling journey to recovery.

I constantly prayed and finally emerged healed.

“You are positive.” Those three words by the nurse would change my world.

The week had started off busy and I paid little attention to the flu-like symptoms I was feeling.

Even though there was a cold front sweeping through southern Africa and Zimbabwe in particular, I felt colder than everyone else around me.

A jersey and a winter coat completed my daytime attire at work as I tried in vain to shrug off the flu.

At night, I struggled to keep warm as the biting cold triggered shivering and a dry cough.

By Tuesday of that week, the flu-like symptoms worsened as I felt an uncomfortable choke in my throat.

A colleague and I insisted we go to Domboshava to cover a Covid-19 story.

Although it was a largely successful trip, I struggled with a dry cough, fatigue and a cold.

To deal with the nagging cold, I thought steaming and lemon tea would do a quick job, but the cough grew worse. I immediately knew something was wrong when the sweating and headaches worsened that night.

Taking a day off work to monitor the situation later proved wise as it marked the beginning of my isolation, although I had not been tested.

As a journalist, I knew that the propensity to move around, doing my work, would make me susceptible to the virus somehow. It was only a matter of time.

Before I made the decision to get a Covid-19 swab test, the symptoms had grown. By this time, I felt tightness in my chest, high temperature and a runny nose.

My nephew insisted that I get tested and we took off for Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital.

While in the queue, I was already preparing myself for the worst possible news.

I was one of a dozen people waiting for test results when my name was called out by the nurse. She immediately said: “You are positive.”

My heart sank. I worried about my nephew and his partner, who had blindly cared for me, not knowing we had a bigger problem.

In the queue, I had met a middle-aged man, who also tested positive for Covid-19. His story was tear-jerking.

He stays alone and was worried about how he would spend two weeks alone.

“Who will take care of me, even fetch me a cup of water?” he asked.

I really wonder what happened to him. I pray he is fine.

We received counselling from a health officer, who encouraged me to be strong and gave me advice on how I was to conduct myself during isolation.

The drive home that day was a long one. Like the man in the queue, I also wondered how my two weeks in isolation would be like.

A torturous journey to recovery, it proved to be.

Medication 

Apart from home remedies like steaming, drinking ginger, garlic and zumbani tea, adherence to prescription medication is crucial for speedy recovery.

Vitamin C, zinc and azithromycin tablets were very important to my recovery.

A dose of painkillers provided some welcome relief for the splitting headaches I suffered during the first four days.

Desperate to stop the painful headaches, I took the highly effective ibuprofen.

It triggered more headaches and dizziness, which worsened the Covid-19 symptoms. Laying in bed, I prayed that I see another day, to take care of my nephew and family, as I am the breadwinner.

My nephew cried as I lay motionless on the bed, he thought the worst was about to happen, but God certainly was not yet done with me.

I later found out from a brother-in-law, a medical doctor, that the combination of strong painkillers and Covid-19 medication was a recipe for disaster. Immediately, I stopped taking ibuprofen and the headaches subsided.

Even though I do not fancy taking medicine, I never stopped taking my medication until a nurse at Wilkins Hospital cleared me of Covid-19.

Thankfully, I never required oxygen, as I was breathing well.

Chewing raw onion, garlic and ginger became my daily routine. I literally stank of herbs, but they helped a great deal.

Homecare and support from loved ones I was blessed to have a caring family, especially my nephew Brendon.

The young man was always there to care for me and kept my spirits high, the few times I met him in the corridor. He often made fun of my lazy walk as I dragged my feet to sit in the sun.

A homely environment is critical to recovery as the stress of staying in isolation can be crippling.

I have come to realise that what makes Covid-19 patients deteriorate is lack of a warm family environment. It is, therefore, important for families to ensure enough support and often check up on their beloved ones holed up in isolation. Because it can be traumatic in isolation.

What also kept me going and encouraged were constant calls from my beloved sisters.

My pastors and friends often checked up on me too and their prayers kept me in high spirits and looking forward to recovery.

Constant messages from workmates also gave me comfort that my colleagues were thinking of me and wishing me well.

Coping mechanisms

As I became stronger, I turned to things I love doing to cope with isolation.  A little reading and playing guitar helped me wind down the days in isolation.

I also discovered a new passion in writing short blogs on life experiences, encouraging readers on LinkedIn.

Surprisingly, the short writings made so much impact and I gained many followers too. Talk about something positive from isolation!

Although I pray daily as a child of God, my prayer life grew tremendously in isolation, and I read the Bible a lot too.

It was a spiritual awakening for me, and I realised all we have is hope for eternity. All is vanity when you are fighting for dear life.

Social media can be traumatic too as condolence messages for people who died of Covid-19 flood your timeline.

The first thing that comes to mind is: I could be part of the statistics too.

So, I minimised the time spent on social media, especially Twitter and focused on television, watching the Olympics.

It was an emotional rollercoaster. I cried too, at times.

The importance of vaccination I beat Covid-19 because my body had a fighting chance and I encourage the public to get a shot.

Vaccination certainly played a pivotal role in helping me recover fast from Covid-19.

We can all beat this if we play our part.

My condolences to the families of those who succumbed to the virus. To those who are still battling the infection, I wish you speedy recovery.

Thank God, I beat Covid-19 and you can beat it too.

Here is to telling more stories and making music!

 

 

 

 

 

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