Moji Danisa, a top journalist, there’s no arguing the fact, must be one of the happiest people on the face of the earth right now. And here is the reason – her husband, Ogbeni Olawale Dawodu Snr, also into journalism, just survived a major bout with the dreaded coronavirus. Hear her:
“It all started like a bad dream. The ailment which creeped in just like malaria, the usual Agbo remedies, then the cough and frightening total weakness…he would tell his story. Let me narrate mine, the night COVID19 went beyond research and Facebook posts and landed on my doorstep.
“When I noticed that a strongman was going down, struggling to stand but failing, I put a call through to the dynamic chairman of the NUJ FCT council, Emmanuel Ogbeche. He sent me a number. I came to know her as Dr Joe. Josephine Okechukwu, DG, Public Health Department, FCT. I called and she was not happy I had not called much earlier knowing my husband was asthmatic. When you seek permission and its not granted, what do you do? She insisted I should have called, given the times, nevertheless, within the hour, the Public Health Department sent a team to our house and we both got tested.
“Waiting for the result was perhaps the worst traumatic 22 hours of my life. Promptly next evening, Dr Joe called and gave me the results. My husband was positive, mine returned negative.
“Pack some of his things for two weeks. They are picking him up. He will be okay, do not be afraid”, she counselled. As if she could hear my heart beating in terror on the phone.
“Will we pay anything”? I queried, after she told me he would be taken to the Asokoro General Hospital Isolation center, assuring me she had put a call through to the MD who was waiting to receive him and commence treatment immediately, “No”, she said, “Government foots all the bills.”
“Like a zombie, I packed. Efficiently, the Ambulance came and without fanfare or drawing any unwarranted attention, my husband was taken away, after we prayed, A very short prayer. I did not sleep. As a matter of fact, I do not think I slept for the whole week.
“We went for my son’s test at the testing center, it was no stress at all. He got tested and returned negative. Then I began to feel the effect of the whole emotionally and physically exhausting experience. Chills and cold and lack of appetite. I cried to Dr Joe again. Promptly, I got another test. Another wait, at this point, I thought I’d run mad, my husband was on oxygen the whole while as doctors battled to pull him through at Asokoro, everytime I went there, I would be at the gate until someone came to pick up what he needed (glasses, charger, fruits, etc).
“I did not know what he faced inside but he kept assuring me he would pull through, though his breathing was hollow and his voice almost non existent. I was terrified but I kept praying…friends and family kept my hope alive with calls, prayers and other support. My second result came out negative and Dr Joe advised me to rest.
“I have never met this Angel called Dr Josephine Okechukwu. I came to realize how tasking her job is right now as she is always in and out of meetings, her phone always busy…yet, when she misses a call, she calls right back to listen and not just listen but act. I came to realize the great burden our health officials are carrying right now, working and putting life at risk so we can be safe.
“I am now 100% convinced that our negative comments on the social media about the government’s handling of COVID19 is based on false information.
“A day after my husband was admitted, a team from the WHO, Public Health Department, NCDC and PTF came to the house for contact tracing. The team headed by Emma Okala, a consultant with WHO, FCT gave us thermometers, all rescognisable contacts, I mean, a chart and we all monitored our symptoms for 14days. Scholarstica of the PHD kept track of all contacts while Emma became like my personal counsellor, always calling, always checking, always giving hope.
“As my husband grew stronger, having used up about 9 giant oxygen canisters and 5 small ones, as he regained his appetite, he would laugh and say, wow, “They are really packing us full with protein, fruits, and all the nutrients here o”…As I said, he would tell his story.
“Mine today is to celebrate our Angel, Dr Joe Okechukwu, a most diligent, efficient, humane, public servant, and Emma Okala of WHO. I nominate these great frontliners for awards when they start rolling in.
“If you think the government is not doing anything, it is because you do not have the right information, the government and NCDC must be commended for their handling of the pandemic so far. Oh, though decontamination came late, it was finally done (THIS IS AN AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT.
“IF WE LIVED IN A SMALLER OR MORE POPULATED APARTMENT, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HIGHLY RISKY.) COVID19 is very real. I did not contact it but I have been through HELL and back.
“I call it the lonely sickness. Once positive or when someone close to you tests positive, you are on your own. I had nowhere to run to. It was me and mine alone in our own space. Please, be very careful. Wear your facemasks, insist on social distancing anywhere you are (as I always do) wash your hands often, sanitize as much as you can…and please stay safe for your family and our tireless health officials. God bless you all.”
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