COVID-19 Update

My Covid-19 story: I wrote my will thinking I’d die

Mr David Rugemwa battled the viral Covid-19 at a time when Uganda was experiencing peak infections during the first wave, July 2020. PHOTO/COURTESY

Mr David Rugemwa, a Ugandan based in South Africa says his experience with Covid-19 was scary and one that had him thinking lots about life. 

According to him, it all started around July 2020 when there was a peak in infections. 

“A friend and I had travelled to Johannesburg for car shopping. Suddenly, I started feeling unwell. It felt like I’d developed fever,” he says. 

At the time, Johannesburg had been listed among South Africa’s Covid-19 hotspots.  

On their way back home, Mr Rugemwa’s situation worsened. His friend advised him to seek medical advice. 
However, Rugemwa hesitantly thought he was just developing a cold. 

He never at any point thought that he could be infected with Covid-19 because he’d been drinking strong ginger tea and hot lemon as advised by many. 

As time went by, Mr Rugemwa started getting chills with inconstant hot and cold temperatures. 
“Coldness would come and go. I always wanted to be out in the sun because I was always shaking and shivering,” he narrates.

Mr Rugemwa then decided to visit a doctor and was given some tablets for fever, cold and some vitamins. He also kept taking his tea mixture but there was no change. 

“Most people think Covid-19 is like the normal flu but it is nothing close to it. This virus hits you hard and you reach a point where you can’t even contain yourself,” he warns. 

Mr Rugemwa adds that the virus makes you perplexed with nightmares: 
“All I had were bad dreams whenever I tried to fall asleep,” he said. 
His misery was compounded with news of people he knew that had succumbed to the disease. 

“My ears kept ringing from time to time. I wasn’t breathing well, I’d lost my appetite and I could no longer contain myself,” he says.

Writing his will
“I got tested and was told I would receive my results via text message. I waited but I never received anything even when I tried to contact them,” Mr Rugemwa recalls. 

Overwhelming numbers of potential virus carriers forced him to conduct a test in a private facility. 

“I tested positive,” Rugemwa says before he goes on to state that: ‘‘I can’t really point out where I got it from. All I know is the day I started feeling unwell was while I was in Johannesburg.” 

Upon diagnosis with Covid-19 and worried about the days ahead, Mr Rugemwa informed his family. PHOTO/COURTESY

“I told them I was dying.  I didn’t want anyone near me because for fear of infecting them. All I did was communicate with them on phone,’’ he said.

‘‘I’d see mist coming from my breath so all I was left to do was to write my will because I knew this was the end for me,” Mr Rugemwa observed. 

The turning point
Mr Rugemwa attributes his mindset change and recovery to his father. 
 “My father advised me to stop thinking negatively about the entire situation. I needed to keep positive and believe that I was going to be fine,” he said. 

By his father’s instruction, he crushed huge amounts of garlic cloves and boiled it in water for his own consumption 
“I woke up feeling much better and even went to the mirror to confirm if I could still see mist. It wasn’t there anymore,” he accounts. 

Local herbs became a remedy as he’d use them for steaming en-route to a recovery that occurred in a week’s time.   
“This was my turning point. I boiled the herbs that included eucalyptus. I would add some vicks and covered myself to inhale the combination,” Rugemwa adds. 

Mr Rugemwa reveals that locally developed remedies did not disrupt the scientifically proven and endorsed medication.  
“I was no longer confused like I used to be. My breathing had become better and all I had to do was keep up with praying, exercising and medication,’’ he said. 

Advice to people 
From his experience, Mr Rugemwa believes that home based treatment is effective.

“People that opt for home care treatment receive better results compared to those that are admitted in hospitals,” he states.
He advises infected masses to always stay and dress warm while also taking warm fluids like tea and soup.  
He also cautions people to take prevention measures seriously.

“Wear masks. Avoid crowds and socially distance because you can’t tell how and when you contract the virus. Even survivors might spread it on to their ‘unlucky’ loved ones,” Mr Rugemwa concludes. 

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