BY FATIMA ABBA GANA
My sojourn at the Asokoro Treatment Centre was a bittersweet experience. An experience that taught me to cherish two very beautiful things in my life; my freedom which has gone unnoticed in a long time and religion, which I hold dear to my heart.
Before I took the test for covid-19, a few positive cases of the virus had been recorded at my place of work. As expected, a team member of the Nigeria Center For Disease Control (NCDC) was dispatched to the company premises for contact tracing and testing. This procedure, which lasted for a period of two weeks was carried out in three phases as a result of logistics challenges faced by the NCDC team.
My sample was taken during the third phase and by his time, I had developed symptoms like constant headaches, sore throat and flu which are all synonymous with the disease. Nine days after my sample was collected, the result of my test came out positive.
Monday the 12th of May will remain a memorable day in my life. I woke up to a call from a public health official in the Federal Capital Territory who confirmed the status of my test as positive for coronavirus. The call detailed the procedure for caring for an infected patient and the tracing of possible contacts thus: a pickup team would come for me while another team would be dispatched for contact tracing from the list of possible contacts provided by me.
A second call came in afterwards from the contact tracing team informing me of their arrival at my house. Personal details of all my primary contacts were collected. Thermometers and record forms were provided to keep track of their temperatures for possible symptoms of the virus.
I received a third call immediately after the contact tracing team left, this time from the collection team. They enquired how I would like to be picked up; at my house or by the roadside. As I didn’t want to raise an alarm in the neighborhood, I opted for a roadside pickup.
The journey to the treatment center took about 20 minutes. On arrival at the centre, another round of necessary processes began. A medical team disinfected my luggage after which I was escorted to my ward. My medical history was taken by the Doctor on duty before the first batch of medication was administered to me, which consisted of Alluvia, Vitamin C, Chloroquine, Zithromax and Zinc. I was advised on how I would be taking my medication for the next couple of days before the first dose was administered. A pack of bottled water was also delivered to me as I was advised to drink a lot of it by the medical team.
The effect of the medication I took on arrival at the treatment center woke me up on the second day at about 1am. The Doctor had informed me the previous night that I could have a bit of diarrhea since Alluvia was part of the dosage and true to his words, I stooled more than thrice before daybreak. The stooling continued for another two days before the diarrhea relieved me.
I dutifully continued with the medication as instructed but what I soon discovered was that each day came with a different kind of illness. From a migraine that lasted for 48 hours to severe sore throat, runny nose, difficulty in breathing, tiredness and fatigue. These symptoms continued for seven days before my system got used to the medication.
From then onwards, every dose of the medication made me numb; I could go weak and sleepy for hours immediately after taking the medicine then recover afterwards.
This procedure continued for 11 days before officials of the NCDC came once more to test me for covid19 and luckily my status was negative this time around.
I was discharged from the treatment centre on my 13th day. The medical team advised that I self-isolate at home for another one week and keep taking my medication. They informed me that a second test would be conducted after one week to ascertain if my status was still negative; this would be for the purpose of confirming that I am totally free from the virus.
I must confess that I am glad to be reunited with my parents, siblings, friends and loved ones. But this experience has more than anything given me reasons to appreciate the professionalism of Nigeria healthcare workers; they are really doing a good job with fighting the pandemic and taking care of everyone that has been affected by Covid-19, myself included.
Above all, I thank Almighty Allah for his mercies and healing.