Segun Awolowo, a grandson of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who is also the Executive Director/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) shared his story of how he and his wife, Bola contracted coronavirus.
It all started on a Saturday morning when I woke up to go for my usual walk, I got dressed and went downstairs and was consumed by extreme fatigue. I sat down, drank some water and watched TV wondering what was wrong with me.
Then I ate a banana and drank more water trying to muster enough energy to go for my walk. I suddenly became a bit feverish so I was compelled to turn off the air conditioner. At this point I knew I had to call the doctor, who arrived promptly and took my vitals and blood sample to run a few tests, he advised I take panadol, eat well and have a good rest. Alas that was the end of my day…. No walk for me.
The next day the doctor informed me that I had Malaria and prescribed Coartem – a very powerful Malaria drug that knocked me sideways, I used it for 3 days and felt a bit better but still weak. Strangely enough, my temperature never went beyond 37° and I didn’t have a cough or breathing difficulties and my taste buds were fine. But the body fatigue was something I had never experienced before in my life. I was completely weak and lethargic.
I decided to go home to Lagos and on arrival, I tried to isolate myself from the rest of the house, which was not possible because I was so ill and weak my wife had to take care of me.(for my dear wife of almost 30 years it’s for better and for worse ) Another doctor came and administered a drip as I had started to lose weight from not eating and had severe diarrhoea, a lethal combination l daresay!
Finally, we decided that I simply had to go to the hospital as I wasn’t getting any better. My wife was apprehensive because my hospital is First Cardiology Consultants, and they have not been too popular in the media recently, as the media has chosen to highlight the unfortunate losses of several high profile personalities while failing to document that they have an 82% survival rate which is higher than most hospitals in the United Kingdom.
However, I insisted on going there, as both Dr Adeyemi Johnson and Dr Kofo Ogunyakin have my medical history and my greatest confidence. All the while I was not afraid, I just knew I was ill and wanted to get better.
Then the shocker! We both tested positive for COVID-19, my wife was asymptomatic while I was already ill.
The doctor looked worried as he gave us both diagnoses.
Looking at the doctor’s somehow downcast and gloomy mien coupled with my brother Sola Braithwaite’s demeanour who had insisted on accompanying us to the hospital was the moment the fear came down on me!
I strongly believe the fear of this coronavirus is the real killer. Doctor sent us off to perform a CT scan, to ascertain the extent of the damage. The ride to the lab was the longest, my wife drove and I was collapsed in the passenger seat, we were both worried sick about ourselves and our children & domestic staff who had by now reported to the hospital to get tested. Thankfully they all tested Negative). I tried to lighten the mood with some dry jokes but these, of course, didn’t work!
We took the test results back to the hospital and for the first time both Doctors smiled while expressing their satisfaction on the results of the scan. Thereafter we were placed on medication and were told to isolate ourselves at home and return in a week.
He prescribed the following drugs: Colchicine, Azithromicine, Vitamins C & D and Rivaroxaban and added that it was important to eat. We were advised to treat food as medication and this was a Herculean task as I had no appetite whatsoever. We went home relieved that I was not admitted or taken to any Isolation centre or placed on Oxygen as my blood pressure and oxygen levels were okay.
We isolated ourselves in a wing of the house and did our best to eat as advised by the doctors. We received numerous advice from friends and family to experiment with all sorts of herbal remedies (Our Nigerian way).
We however succumbed to the inhalation of the traditional DogoYaro leaves (the bark, leaves of the Neem Tree) but also stayed the course of the recommended treatment by the doctors and by the 5th day I was feeling much stronger.
At the end of the week, I got the all-clear and my wife took a little longer to get better, so we switched roles and I had to take care of her. ( remember it’s for better for worse ) After another week we went back to the hospital and we both got the all-clear check.
The Total timeframe of our ordeal was about Four weeks. I knew I was better when I went to see my mother on her birthday and I ate all the birthday goodies heartily! I knew my appetite and strength were back, she was excited to see me as she had been so worried. We observed strict social distancing protocol.
How did I get Covid-19? I honestly can’t pinpoint how or where I got it.
I thought I had been very careful observing all the rules and regulations but as a public officer, at some point, we had to go back to work and one is really exposed to the numerous high profile meetings one attends, entourages of people swanning around you, files and letters you come in contact with etc. I believe my symptoms didn’t become extreme because I had built up my immunity, with vitamins C, D, zinc and lots of exercise. ( That’s my belief)
I thank God for life and I decided to tell my story because COVID-19 IS REAL.
It is important to try and stay safe, as no country has the solution yet. They say the solution lies in a vaccine but in the interim Mask Up, build your immunity, observe social distancing, stay safe, FOR YOUR LOVED ONES not just yourself. If you feel like you are being careful already, DOUBLE YOUR EFFORTS.
I give special thanks to God for the grace of healing. I thank family and friends for their love and concern for me and my wife which was expressed through numerous phone calls and messages.
I must also mention my boss and brother, the Minister for Investment, Trade and Industry Otunba Niyi Adebayo for his kindness throughout this ordeal.
I thank my colleagues at work for their support especially Sidi Abdullahi for holding the reins during my absence.
Finally to my doctors at First Cardiology Consultants, Dr Yemi Johnson and Dr Kofo Ogunyakin thank you for taking good care of my wife and I. It is my fervent prayer that the Good Lord will continue to watch over you and all frontline health workers during this period.
I must thank our numerous unofficial doctors as well. Once again I thank God for life
May the Good Lord in his infinite Grace deliver us all from this noisome pestilence.