Beating Covid: I isolated on the verandah to save my children, wife

Mr Edward Bindhe is a government official. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Mr Bindhe says he started feeling weak with flu and cough before it advanced to fever and frequent sneezing a week before testing.

In  this series, ‘Beating Covid’, we trace victims who caught the virus and overcame it. Wilson Kutamba tells the story of Mr Edward Bindhe, a government official, who received physical, financial and spiritual support from his family and friends during treatment.

Mr Edward Bindhe, is a communications officer with Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority (UMRA), a government institution mandated to license, regulate and supervise tiers for microfinance institutions and money lenders in Uganda. 

It was on June 17 that he took the decision to go and test for Covid-19 after the symptoms overwhelmed him.
Mr Bindhe says he started feeling weak with flu and cough before it advanced to fever and frequent sneezing a week before testing. This prompted him and his family members to use some herbal concoctions and medication from a pharmacy, which included, Zinc, Vitamin C and Zaha Plus.

The situation, however, worsened and so he decided to go and test. Some of his workmates had tested positive and were battling coronavirus, so he immediately suspected he could have contracted it from one of them.

“By the time I went for the test at Doctors Hospital, Sseguku in Entebbe Road, I felt ready for the results because I had overwhelming symptoms.”  
“I could not smell or taste anything. I felt feverish and I was sneezing all the time. So when my results returned positive, I was not surprised. I only feared for my family,” he says.

The hospital then gave him medication to take from home including Vitamin C and Azithromycin. He was also advised to buy painkillers, as well as take warm water, exercise, and eat a lot of fruits. He was encouraged to do home-based treatment as he had not developed breathing complications. They also promised to continue monitoring him from home.

Isolating on the verandah
Mr Bindhe says the next hurdle of being treated at home and isolation was quite challenging. His children would come to check on him and would want to interact with him when he was in the sitting room where he was isolating from.

“I had to isolate myself within the house. I started sleeping in the sitting room to protect my family, but it proved hard. My one-year-old son, Boris Yeltsin, kept escaping from his mum to come to be with me. I decided to relocate to the verandah during the day but it also became challenging,” he says.

The children would hardly heed his instructions because most of them are young and could not appreciate what he was going through. This worried him because he felt their constant attempts to come and be with him was a threat to their lives and that of his dear wife.

In addition to that, isolating on the verandah, worsened his condition to the point that he could hardly breathe. 
“I had taken many concoctions and steamed, but my condition worsened. I made up my mind and decided to return to the hospital,” he says.  

“When I returned, the doctors put me on oxygen straight away because my saturation had gone down. I had an X-ray done and it showed that my lungs had really been eaten up by the virus,” he says. 

He was also given, among other types of medication, Amoxiclav, Azithromycin, and Dexamethasone.

Family support
Receiving both physical and spiritual support from family and friends from all walks of life made him feel loved and gave him hope although he was in pain. 
“The family supported a lot by looking for money to pay the hospital bills. Everyone was concerned. Dozens of people called me, but I couldn’t pick their calls due to pain. But that concern and care kept me strong,” he says.

Mr Bindhe says he spent a full week on oxygen support. Thereafter, he got better, but remained at the facility for two more days because he was still weak. After that, he was discharged and is improving steadily.

One of the things Bindhe is grateful for is that he never suffered any stigma in the hospital, because he was with fellow Covid-19 patients. 

“Everyone was just concentrating on getting well,” he says, adding that his family, neighbours and relatives equally understood and did not stigmatise him.
“This is very important and the public should desist from stigmatising Covid-19 patients as this could see their situation get worse,” he adds.

A disease like no other
Ms Bindhe also believes the government should do more to provide proper information on treatment of the disease.

“Covid-19 is deadly. I have never suffered like this. However, the public does not have genuine concrete information on how to respond in the event of infection. We seem to rely on social media for diagnosis. There is no clear strategic communication to guide us on how to respond when we test positive. We are really gambling. That is why many Ugandans have resorted to using dangerous herbal concoctions. They fear going for treatment because of the huge bills. Yet once tested at a hospital, they (medics) know how to manage these patients,” he emphasises.

Mr Bindhe advises those who have not contracted the disease to do whatever is possible not to be in contact with those who might have it and to religiously follow guidelines by the health officials. For those battling the virus, he says they should have hope and keep away from any stressful thoughts and situations.  

“Their families should support them by reaching out to them and sending hopeful messages,” he says.

About Covid
The symptoms      

  • New and continuous cough - coughing for more than an hour, or having three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.
  • Fever - a temperature above 37.8C
  • Change in smell or taste - either you cannot taste or smell anything, or these senses are different to normal.
  • Public health experts say about 85 per cent of people with Covid will have at least one of the symptoms above.

Preventive measures                                                                                                                                            

  • The best recomendation is regular and thorough handwashing, preferably with soap and water.
  • Cough and sneeze into tissues
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, and getting close contact with people. 
  • Use of  a facemask is also very important. It should be compulsory in offices and public places.  

Source: BBC