September 8, 2020

COVID-19 TALES: Virus is Real, Exists – Amanda Ngabirano


“Did I really have COVID-19?” “It’s NRM propaganda.” I think you have read this somewhere!

Okay, members let me tell you. The virus is real; accept it or not. Anyone can catch/have it. So, bottomline be careful. Whether it’s propaganda or not, the virus exists! At least government has told us what to do. Even our Dr. Kiiza Besigye told us all the truth about it, and how we can protect ourselves.

Anyway, when I lost my sense of smell, I told you to learn to be grateful even for the things we call small. I was being as a honest as you have always known me…probably as naive as some of you! And luckily some of you indicated that loss of smell was a clear symptom of coronavirus. I had ever lost my smell because of a cold, but not for 6 days. Besides I never had any cold.

Anne Leemans, my friend from Belgium contacted me directly after reading my post. She advised that I take a test because her doctor relative had survived the virus, but after losing his sense of smell. When I contacted that doctor, he said most likely I had contracted the virus. Thank you Anne and Dr. Samuel. 🥰

When I tested positive, I was in shock; but yes, loss of smell wasn’t a small thing. The virus had been at work already. Meanwhile I remember going to Cafe Javas Lugogo, and how I refused to get in because I feared (to catch) the virus-kumbe it’s me who had it and was going to spread it in there. 🤣🤣🤣

To cut the long story short, I am lucky I contracted the virus at the time I did. Having been at Mulago Hospital for 14 days, I can bet that soon they will not be able to accommodate more patients let alone attend to them. So don’t carelessly ‘aim’ at being hospitalised!

Although we can isolate and treat at home, being in the hospital gives that feeling of comfort, in case the virus gets tricky and life threatening. But sometime last week, the hospital was in a blackout for hours; and I thought about people who had been taken to HDU and ICU. I pinched myself, went to prepare myself lemon, ginger, honey tea, and stopped thinking about it.

Because of how the virus is transmitted, one feels rejected, abandoned and dirty. My husband brought me fruits and we couldn’t see each other. You will carry your bags yourself. You aren’t allowed to move out of the block.

For asymptomatic cases, with all our energy, it was like a bad jail. Even when you are a patient, you will never have an attendant next to you-because it’s COVID-19. The first night was traumatizing for everyone. Some shed tears.

A married couple, who we nicknamed love-birds, made us feel jealous. They were so intimate that we thought it was cool to both be positive at the same time. 😀.

But they were advised to keep a distance from one another because their bodies may respond differently. Of course, they also had separate beds, only during the night. I think they were for “if we die, we die” during the day!

You will be given food at a distance. Never mind its being tasteless. So takeaways were a good idea. I received food from outside(yes, you can miss real food), and the guard who delivered it threw the pack right on the floor and disappeared swiiiiii. 😀😀 It hurts. But we also feared these outside chaps-a thing they had no idea about….😀😀…because we knew we were recovering, and never wanted to risk being reinfected by them.

The same thing now-I fear you all as much as you fear me…I don’t want to be near you..😀😀….don’t be near me-and you must wear a mask if you are around me, or I walk away or change my route. You may be positive! 🥺🥺

Meanwhile, we had these proud patients, you get what I mean?…..but we were all in jail and sick-and the disease was COVID! 🤣 They had a bad attitude just! They were also in self-denial. Someone received a call and said she was in Gulu and she didn’t know when she would return. 🤣🤣

But most people were outgoing and open. That made it a bit homely! They were surprised I was so bold and open, as if the virus was a normal ‘thing’ to have in Uganda.

Don’t be/feel stigmatised, it’s just a disease like any other! It can also be managed. But it can be dangerous. Please stop all the bad jokes about it!

About Author: Mrs Amanda Ngabirano is the Chairperson of the National Physical Planning Board. The iron lady also doubles as an urban and regional planner, lecturing at Makerere University, in Uganda, since 2006.

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