The Executive Director of Stand to End Rape, Oluwaseun Osowobi, who recently recovered from coronavirus, has narrated her experience in the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba.
She also gave an account of how she lost a job and a contract worth millions on Twitter after being discharged on Monday.
According to the survivor, she thought she would not survive the disease.
Osowobi was the only female among the recently discharged five patients quarantined and treated at the isolation centre for two weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus.
The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, confirmed their discharge on Monday but did not give names of the survivours.
In her case, Osowobi travelled to the United Kingdom to participate in the United Kingdom post-Commonwealth event, which was attended by the wife of the Prime Minister of Canada, Sophie Trudeau, on March 4.
Trudeau was later confirmed positive for the virus a few days after the event. Osowobi said she also fell ill after the event and underwent the COVID-19 test.
She said, “Life finds ways of throwing lemon at me. 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.
“Days after, I tested positive for COVID-19.
“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!!!”
The social activist clarified that she self-isolated after her UK trip, adding that she was in suspense before her results arrived.
Narrating how she was taken to the isolation centre, she said, “I had to self-isolate and also inform people I came in close contact with to get tested. My friend and I kept calling @NCDCgov (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control) to get tested? What if we didn’t persist?
“No information on my test result. At 12 am, an ambulance was at my house. I woke from sleep and was crying. I got to the isolation centre, but no one was there to receive me. I waited in the ambulance for two hours.
“The nurses eventually came out and treated me like a plague. I sat in the ambulance feeling rejected.”
She, however, regretted that there was poor data sharing mechanism among government agencies.
“No questions about how I felt. So many questions about my travel history. Same information I had provided to the NCDC and Lagos State Government during profiling. Lack of data sharing!” Osowobi added.
On how she coped in the isolation centre and her thoughts about death, she explained, “After two hours, I was taken to my space. I felt lonely, bored and disconnected from the outside world.
“A few days after, another patient came in. We bonded. Days later, patients trooped in.
“Are people observing self-isolation and social distancing?” I was so scared for Nigeria.
“The next days were tough. No appetite. The nausea, vomiting and stooling were unbearable. I’m a blood type A and #COVID19 dealt with me.
“I thought I was going to die and contemplated a succession plan for @StandtoEndRape. I was on drugs daily. Sometimes, I‘d take eight tablets in the morning, 13 tablets in the afternoon, 10 at night. My system threw everything out!
“Water, food, soap and all disgusted me. But I’d look at the wall and force myself to stay hydrated — drank ORS. I fought to live! I fought!!”
While waiting to be discharged after being told she tested negative twice, Osowobi said she was scared of being re-infected despite being a beacon of hope for others.
The activist added, “Days after, the doctors shared a piece of good news that I tested negative. I shared this news with family and 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 third 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 take nose, mouth and sputum samples.’
“I am still positive (flushed face)?” 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 muttered. I tried to calm them.
“Today, I am proud to inform you that I murdered COVID-19 and I have tested negative twice! I have been discharged!”
She, however, commended the health workers for their professionalism and warned youths to keep off smoking and live healthily.
The survivor added, “The nurses at IDH Yaba were fabulous. They deserve accolades for their hard work. The food was good! Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes. They protected my identity!
“We should encourage people to get tested and stop the stigma. Practise social distancing and stop the spread. NCDC and State Governments need to improve their testing capacity. Test mild/asymptomatic cases too.
“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? A healthy lung is key!”