Beating Covid: I was not worried when I got infected

Tuesday August 03 2021
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Mr William Wandira at his home in Buliisa District. PHOTO/ANDREW MUGATI

By Andrew Mugati

M r William Wandira, a driver in Buliisa Town Council, Buliisa District, attributes his recovery from Covid-19 to God and professional care by healthworkers. 
Wandira and four other members of his family tested positive for Covid a month ago.
Asked where he might have contracted the virus from, he says: “I think I got it from Hoima Regional Referral Hospital where I had taken my grandson for treatment, who was in a poor health condition and needed blood transfusion. I did not want to go to the hospital at first, but the blood transfusion could not be done in any clinic.”

Wandira adds: “Hoima Regional Referral Hospital is congested. I had my face mask on all the time. But doctors and some nurses had no protective gear. They would handle patients with their bear hands putting their lives and patients at risk. The hospital had no hand washing facility, the containers had no water, people were not following standard operating procedures,” he narrates.
After returning from the hospital, Wandira says he started feeling unwell. 

Suspecting he could have been infected, he drove to Buliisa Health Centre IV for a Covid-19  test. 
When he received the positive results, he drove back home, unworried, although he knew the disease was not to be taken lightly. 
Wandira isolated himself and started medication as directed. 

“I knew I had hypertension and diabetes, so I took the news as normal to control my emotions and reduce the risk of getting worse. My [second] wife, Oliver Nsekanabo’s hypertension level rose abnormally when she heard that I had tested Covid-19 positive,” he recalls. 
The health team in Bullisa visited Wandira’s home to test the rest of his family. 

When their results returned, it was discovered that most of the family members who had gone to Hoima Hospital when his grandson was sick were positive.
These included Deogratius Gafunda, Wandira’s son, Franklin Nyakindwa, Wandira’s daughter in-law and Quinton Kategaya, his eight-year-old granson son whom he had taken to the hospital. 
Nsekanabo also tested positive although it is likely she got the virus from one of those who was positive since she had not travelled to the hospital.

“We isolated ourselves differently as a family. I restricted my children in their house and my [second] wife and I remained in our own. My [first] wife who was not affected, also stayed at her home,”  Wandira says.
“I also isolated myself from the public and anyone who would bring me financial support could place it somewhere near the compound and we could sanitise it before we could handle it or send someone with it to buy something for us. We would sanitise everything before use,” he adds.
As time went by, Wandira began experiencing several  symptoms.

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“I lost appetite, and I could not smell anything. I felt constant flu and intestinal pain,” he says. 
Wandira also lost his sense of taste, but forced himself to eat to have energy to fight the virus.
Although Wandira was taking the medication faithfully, he was not improving. 
“I experienced serious body pain one night and I realised that the management of home-based care had failed so I thought I needed an expert to handle my case. I made a decision to go to Lacor Hospital in Gulu,” he says.
“When I was being referred to Lacor, I had some cough and I was given tablets called Ascoril which helped me deal with the cough,” he adds.

Asked how he managed to deal with Covid emotionally, Wandira says: “I did not experience any emotion and I was not worried, I knew I was going to heal. When you test positive, it does not mean that you are set to die, you need not to be traumatised because trauma may end up killing you before the virus itself.”
He spent six days in Lacor Hospital before he was discharged, although he was advised not to talk a lot because that would make him struggle for breath.
The other four family members were able to manage the symptoms from home. Wandira says he received a lot of support from many people. They called him encouraging him to be strong and not to be worried.
 
“I received a lot of support from politicians, family members and some of my friends would call to comfort and encourage me to be strong. I thank all religious leaders who prayed for me,” he says.
However, Wandira has also dealt with challenges.
“My wife and I were not stigmatised as such since we were always home. But some people fear to come now, saying there is still corona at my home, and my children are told they have Covid-19, at the trading centre, though now we have recovered and we are fine,” he reveals.
Wandira also recalls the time when rumours spread about him that he had passed away.

“When I was taken to Lacor Hospital, there were people who deliberately pronounced me dead without first seeking the right information and there were people who were happy with the fake news. I have forgiven them,” he  says.
Although he has recovered, his health is yet to get back to normal.

“I have been forcing myself to eat so that food can continue to help the body get strength. I have also been drinking a lot of juice to get energy. I take lemon mixed with ginger, and garlic boiled in hot water and even steam and sponge or massage myself with a hot cloth everyday to generate heat and excrete sweat,” he says.
“Now I can smell. I have gained my appetite, I’m eating what I want like fish. I am now doing some light casual work around home and moving around, I have the capacity to walk for close to two kilometres with ease,” he says.
“Soon, I’m going to pick up my Polymerised Chain Reaction (PCR) result card from Entebbe at Buliisa Health Centre IV.”

Wandira urges people to protect themselves and limit aimless movement as it puts the life of their family members at risk. 
“People need to protect themselves from the virus. Please follow the guidelines set by the head of state, don’t touch your eyes with unwashed hands even if they are itching. People need to change their way of life, life is no longer normal,” he advises.
For those who have the virus, Wandira advises them not to worry or be traumatised.

“If you test positive for corona, don’t think that it is the end of the world. You need to know that there is death even from other diseases, so don’t get worried and be killed by worry instead of the virus,” Wandira adds.
“The biggest item people need to have is the Almighty hand of God who is the owner of life as we continue to protect ourselves from the virus, there is nothing bigger than God,” he emphasises.
“I am happy that I have survived the deadly virus along with all my family members. No one has died and I thank God for his protection. We need to believe in God and forgive each other,” he says.

Advice
Wandira urges people to protect themselves and limit aimless movement as it puts the life of their family members at risk. 
“People need to protect themselves from the virus. Please follow the guidelines set by the head of state, don’t touch your eyes with unwashed hands even if they are itching. People need to change their way of life, life is no longer normal,” he says.
For those who have the virus, Wandira advises them not to worry or be traumatised.

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