I AM NOT INVINCIBLE MY COVID -19 SHORT STORY
Yes, I tested positive for COVID-19. I fell victim to this virus: a nasty, lingering virus that gave me the worst symptoms I’ve experienced to this day that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. My story is to warn you that this is not the common cold or a regular flu. This virus is serious.
I thought I was INVINCIBLE—I thought I was immune to this coronavirus because I am healthy and young. But I was wrong.
In early March, reports of novel transmission of the coronavirus were just starting to appear in the Nigeria. I had heard about the nursing home in Lagos the synagogue in Lagos island, Lagos State. It was a precarious situation, but community transmission of the virus was not quite so widespread.
‘Sure, I’ll wash my hands,’ ‘I’ll social distance after that party,’ I thought. Looking back, there were too many opportunities for me to have caught this virus. I did not take my health seriously. I figured I could avoid the virus, but in the off-chance I were to get it, it would be like a mild flu or a bad cold. I flew home from a two-month global medicine elective in Africa, ventured on long flights home and around lots of people at Abuja and Muritala international airport. I went to a beach party during my week stay in Beach Eko and saw lots of friends before heading back to Ghana to finish up my last semester of medical school. I was not careful. I did not take the necessary precautions. I did not think it could happen to me.
The fact of the matter is – you NEVER know.
A day after arriving in Ghana, symptoms started to kick in. On Thursday, March 12, I woke up with fever, chills, fatigue, generalized muscle aches, and joint pain. Probably just a bad case of the flu, right? No cough, no shortness of breath, no difficulty breathing, no respiratory problems whatsoever. No nausea, no diarrhea. JUST Fever and chills.
Thinking ‘I’ll get over it soon,’ I took some Ibuprofen and Tylenol and stayed in bed most of the day. The next day, I had a routine doctor’s appointment. I was almost turned away because of my symptoms, but I fought to be seen. My oral temperature was 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and I was put in an isolation room for my appointment. My provider, thankfully wearing complete PPE, performed a quick flu test (Influenza A, B, and RSV), which resulted negative that same day. It would later reflex to COVID-19 because of the negative result and
My symptoms, however, only continued to worsen. The fever was unrelenting. I had no appetite. I had lost about 15000 Naira. I loaded up on my daily multivitamins and Emergent-C; I continued to use Ibuprofen and Tylenol every six hours because my body was asking for anything to take away the misery.
It was not until Day 6 that I decided to drop the Ibuprofen after reading some expert opinions that NSAIDs may actually alter the immune response against the virus. Admittedly, I did feel WAY better the next day after dropping Ibuprofen. My fever and chills—although still present—felt improved. I continued to use only Tylenol spaced out now in the morning and before bedtime. By Day 7, still feeling chills in the morning, I opted out of using any Tylenol and tried to help my body fight this virus on its. My body was still desperately fighting this thing.
After waiting SEVEN ENTIRE DAYS in self-quarantine, I finally received my results: positive for COVID-19, continue self-quarantine for another seven days. Ironically, this arrived an hour before receiving my Match Day residency assignment for emergency medicine at the Ahmadu Bello University
March 20th was certainly a big day of “results” for me.
Why am I telling this story?
Because I encourage you to learn from my mistakes. Because I didn’t listen when numbers started climbing.
Because this virus is REAL. And it SUCKS. To say it was almost two weeks before I was feeling like my normal self. Because I am a “healthy young adult,” but “mild” COVID-19 made my life a living hell.