Life finds ways of throwing lemons at you. I have struggled with coming forward, but I want to inspire hope.
I returned to Nigeria from the UK post-Commonwealth event (I totally enjoyed) and fell ill. As a responsible person, I self-isolated.
This was another phase of my life and I have won! I celebrate my resilience and strength
Days after, I tested positive for the coronavirus. Before returning, I had planned several interviews, I was scheduled to start a fantastic consultancy job and was also expecting to sign a contract worth millions. I lost them all!
I had to self-isolate and also inform people I came in close contact with to get tested. My friend and I kept calling the NCDC to get tested. What if we didn’t persist? No information on my test results until midnight of that day. At 12 am, an ambulance was at my house. I woke from sleep in tears.
When I got to the isolation centre, no one was there to receive me. I waited for two hours. The nurses eventually came out and treated me like a plague. I sat there feeling rejected.
There was no questions about how I felt but so many questions about my travel history. The same information I had provided to the NCDC and the Lagos State Government when I was profiled at the beginning (Lack of data sharing!). After two hours, I was taken to my bed space.
I felt lonely, bored and disconnected from the outside world.
Few days after, another patient came in. We bonded. Days later, more patients trooped in.
“Are people observing self-isolation & social distancing?”
I was so scared for Nigeria. The next days were tough. No appetite. The nausea, vomiting and stooling was unbearable. I am blood type A and COVID-19 dealt with me.
I thought I was going to die & contemplated a succession plan for StandtoEndRape. I was on drugs daily. Sometimes, I will take eight tablets in the morning, thirteen tablets in the afternoon and ten at night. My system threw everything out!
Water, food, soap, they all disgusted me. But I’d look at the wall & force myself to stay hydrated — drank ORS. I fought to live! I fought!
Days after, the Doctors shared the good news that I tested negative. I shared this news with family & friends! My blood sample was taken and I also tried to donate my plasmapheresis to help others. I hoped to be discharged.
I waited to be discharged, but for two days, nothing happened. I was unsure of what was going on. Why haven’t I been discharged? Should I be in the same ward? Could I get reinfected? I was worried but remained calm.
On the 3rd day, Doctors said, “well, we worked with the information we had of you testing negative, but one result came back positive. You’ll stay a few more days. You know we have to take nose, mouth & sputum samples.”
“Am I still positive ?” I asked.
“No, you’re negative,” the Doctor replied.
The Doctor apologised for the delay. I was anxious to go home but remained calm.
I wanted to be free from this pain. I continued the medication and asked to be in a separate ward. Sadly, I remained in the same ward as all other rooms were full.
My ward had people who were positive. What if I get re-infected?
For them, I was a beacon of hope and they needed me gone to register the progress. My family and friends were becoming anxious. People in my ward who earlier celebrated the news of my result suddenly lost hope.
“Why are you still here?” “You shouldn’t be here with us. You should be separated from us now…”People in my ward uttered. I tried to calm them.
Today, I am proud to inform you that I murdered COVID-19 and have tested negative twice! I have been discharged! I bless God for his mercies.
The nurses at the Infectious Disease Yaba were fab. They deserve accolades for their hard work.
Thank you Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for coming to see me.🏽
Thanks, to Akin Abayomi, the health minister and the health team at IDH and to Lagos State. The food was good.
Thanks to @dondekojo for helping me get help. Thanks to my chat buddy, @akintonmide.
Thank you @KelechiAFC & @lailajohnsonsal for the mental & material support. They protected my identity
Thanks to everyone who called, sent messages and tried to contact me. I am grateful and well.
This experience reminded me of the value of friendship. Some people I refer to as friends speculated about this, but never reached out to check. Thank you still. Back to the grind!
Some stigmatised me based on a Punch article with subtle messages like “why did she come back to Nigeria? Nigeria is my home. Coronavirus is not a death sentence. People can survive and I have. We should encourage people to get tested & stop the stigma.
Practise social distancing and stop the spread. The NCDC and State governments need to improve their testing capacity. Test mild and asymptomatic cases too.
Sending strength to everyone who is fighting to beat COVID-19. To every young person out there, please give your lungs a chance to beat this. Can I encourage you to stop smoking and live a healthy life at this time? Healthy lungs are key.
This was another phase of my life and I have won! I celebrate my resilience and strength.
Call me Survivayo.
Osowobi is the founder of Stand to End Rape
Editor’s Note – This article was first a series of tweets, posted by the author on her personal Twitter account. It was edited to fit the purpose of publication.