#COVIDDairies – Tales of COVID Survivors from all around the world
A funeral undertaker who helped a dying mother say goodbye to her incarcerated son for the last time over FaceTime. A woman who coughed blood so frantically till she lay crying on the floor, gasping for breath, certain she would be dying anytime soon, all alone. A doctor who was working overtime on COVID duty, and was forced to reuse her black KN95 face mask for weeks, deliberately tried avoiding meeting her family, terrified that she might infect them unknowingly.
I’ve been speaking to people around the world, documenting their struggles about the pandemic outbreak across the world. People from different walks of life, from different social backgrounds, belonging to different professions who sketched how this pandemic outbreak has disrupted their daily routine and left a mark on their lives forever. These stories, absolutely unedited or exaggerated are real accounts of people and despite being ironically representative of the person's fight against the pandemic, they are not meant to stereotype any particular ethnicity, race or community. Rather, they are meant to serve as a stark reminder how COVID19 has scatted lives and loved ones forever all around the world and how the rest of us are so fortunate to have escaped the wrath of this pandemic on a much lighter note. Moreover these stories are meant to reinforce the fact the collective approach to preventive measures and precautions is inevitable in order to bring this unwanted scenario to a natural closure.
Lagos, Nigeria – Africa
I had just arrived back in Nigeria from the UK. The pandemic had just started to unfold and take shape. I was feeling slightly nauseous and feverish. Although I wasn’t certain I had been afflicted by COVID, I self-isolated apprehending the worst and for protecting my loved ones. Soon I had myself admitted to a hospital and upon checking, I was confirmed to be COVID positive
It was literally the third case in Nigeria and as much as it was really scary, both the medical staff and I myself were clueless on the progress of proceedings. I was soon taken to the female isolation unit. It was pin drop silence and the silence was literally screaming through my ears. I was the first person there. In my mind I was calculating. "They haven’t had any other female cases, what could be the chances they got my diagnosis wrong? Even if it was correct, would they be able to help me back to speedy recovery? Are they equipped to treat the disease and its symptoms? ". These questions were racing through my mind. Staying in a ward with a lot of empty beds can play dirty tricks with your mind. Being alone in that space was doing more harm to me than the disease in itself..
I was literally a mixed bag of the worst symptoms possible. Coughing, nauseous, vomiting, and to top it all, I had diarrhea too. I had completely lost all sense of taste, and couldn’t even drink water. Being sick, away from my family, and all alone was really taking a toll on me, if the illness wasn’t. I had my cell phone keeping me company, but when you’re all out and alone, talking to people reiterates the misery of your condition and makes you feel even worse. So here I was all alone, not allowed to meet anyone and grappling for dear life.
I was one of the first COVID cases in Nigeria, and I stayed hospitalized in isolation for over two weeks. Soon there were other people joining me in the isolation ward later. It was nice to have some company for a change, to see other people and have someone to talk to, but again not without its fair share of fear and intimidation. Seeing more and more people joining the isolation ward made me realize how fast this is spreading, how more and more people are falling trap to the virus every passing day. Being one of the first identified COVID case in my hometown came with its fair share of problems apart from personal misery. I had suddenly attained celebrity status and the media was hounding me, calling me and texting me non-stop. That’s why my cell phone is now on silent and lies far away from, locked away in my locker. The recovery process was also slightly turbulent. I was sick for a week. Then I felt better for another week. Then my sickness would revert back again. I was tested over and over again until I tested negative at a stretch.
When I was finally discharged, I was made to sign a document. My entire treatment procedure was government sponsored and it cost me nothing. But some states in Nigeria are still struggling to set up test centers. It takes a crisis to expose the chinks in every armor. We had gaps as well, and it was for all to see.
What I saw, is that life is so fickle. One minute you are here and the next minute you are no more, gone forever. I promised myself that I am going to make the best use of my time.