My Covid-19 story: Self-isolation was one of the worst moments

Dennis Kilama and his wife. PHOTO/FILE

‘‘Covid-19 always seemed far off- affecting people in other countries and probably truck drivers. I did not ever think that it would get to me.

In fact, for over eight months (after the March 19, 2020 outbreak) as family, we prayed for Covid-19 patients randomly. Little did I know that I would later need such prayers.

My assumption was that it only affected those that were part of crowds that did not follow SOPs.

It was like any other day. I began feeling slight cough but with high fever. I decided to keep away from any pre-planned meeting. Besides, I contacted Dr Joseph Gavin Nyanzi together with his medical team that conducted a Covid-19 test at Makerere University Hospital in November, 2020. The results were positive. When I heard the bad news, many confusing thoughts ran through my mind.

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The nurse was very kind and professional in her communication- letting me know that the only space available that day was at a Naguru Chinese Hospital.

All the other hospitals were full. I was advised to self-isolate in a room somewhere and to rush to the hospital only if I started experiencing breathing complications.

While in isolation with my wife: We had to talk to our children and assured them about our plight.  Fear befell them. They asked questions which we did answer.

Meanwhile, I needed to test all my household. We tested everyone, and praise be to God, all their results turned out negative.

A few days after I had received my results, more symptoms began to set in very fast.

I had a very high fever that always attacked me from about 6pm to 10pm daily. I developed a dry painful cough and I lost taste for anything that I ate.

Neither could I smell things around me. My body got weak. The cough got so painful that my chest hurt for several days. Soon, my sputum returned with blood when I coughed. This was excruciating. I lost my voice at some point and could barely speak. This went on for several days.

I kept wondering over where I contracted the virus from.  When could I have contracted it? Who could I have obtained it from? I could not get answers to all these questions. It just showed me that Covid-19 is in the community and we need to take caution.

At this point what mattered the most, was that I needed to treat this disease. I needed to ensure that I did not spread it to others.

I was greatly encouraged by the counselling I got from people that had previously been infected like Robby Muhumuza, Benjie Drews Tukei, and many others. They checked on me and prayed for me.

I also found strength in Moses Senkosi, Patrick Byekwaso, Ivan Odiit-Onapito, Peter Waitt, Chris Tabu, and Jonoskarjads Kevin amongst others.

My family members like Doreen Obie, Okello Suzanne and my parents Jessica Okello and Nelson Okello plus my wife, Yvonne Kilama stood with me.

In many ways, I felt like the paralysed man in the Bible.  Literally, friends brought me to Jesus like it happened in Luke 5:24-25. I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

Like Jesus said to the paralysed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”

During those few weeks as I suffered from this ugly disease, I learned the following:

Dennis Kilama says his battle with Covid-19 taught him several (below) lessons — the hard way. PHOTO/FILE

1. Covid-19 is real: There are many people that believe it does not exist. Covid-19 exists in our world and it tortures. It is in Kikuubo, Nakawa, Kiira, Buloba and many other places. Even with the vaccines, Covid-19 is here to stay for now. We have to learn to live with it.

2. Covid-19 is with us in our communities: The government is no longer tracking contacts or even the people with it because they are too many. You are on your own. When I got Covid-19, I discovered that there are very many more people that contracted it the time I did. These were both the high and the low in our city, Kampala.

Many of our friends fell sick. By now, chances are that you have been in contact with someone that has contracted it. The hospitals are full and you will have to take care of yourself unless you have experienced breathing complications. There are many more than you think that have been infected.

3. Covid-19 can be contracted by anyone: Pastors, medical doctors, students, and families can all contract Covid-19. I rarely use public transport, uber, or even boda boda but I still got it. I personally avoid crowds. I have sanitizer in my car, office, and at home. I often wear a face mask in the right way. Yet I still got Covid-19. Definitely, I erred somewhere. I woke up one day feeling well and by the time I went to bed, I had the disease. You could feel well at the start of today and by the end of the day, you could have got it.

4. Covid-19 tortures: For several days my body, mind, and spirit were tortured. I had a very painful cough; I could barely explain to people why I could not talk on my phone as I was in pain.

I suffered from high fever, I had no taste or smell. My body ached for several days. Psychologically I was tortured by this disease, I stayed in one room for close to 18 days and nights.

This was very torturous; it is going to take me time to feel comfortable in that room again. Spiritually, I could barely pray or study the Bible as I previously did. I was held up in prayer by family and friends.

5. Covid-19 is curable: You should not fear. After some days of several symptoms, I began to feel better. I was advised to take Azithromycin, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Paracetamol. I also took a concoction of honey, ginger, garlic, and lemon in moderation to build my immunity. After some days, I began to feel better. I eventually got cured from Covid-19.

6. Covid-19 affects relations: I stepped out of the room two times for 45 minutes each day. It was sad to see my children literally flee from me. Whenever the sound of the door to the room I occupied was heard, everyone fled for their lives. The cry in the corridors was, “Daddy is coming.” What this meant was, “Run for your dear life.” From the youngest to the oldest- they would all run. When you have the virus, your children must keep away from you; it is very painful. I am not sure how long it will take for them to see in my post recovery era.

7. Covid-19 is still being researched and studied: I realised that there is so much information and it gets confusing. Even the scientists are still debating several things. There are several studies concerning treatment, medication, immunity, and infection. You cannot just take in everything from the internet. It is important that one stays in conversation with a medical doctor to offer the medical council and support.

The lessons I have learnt from my experience will shape my life till I go to the grave. Perhaps one day I will get to share these. All I can do is praise the Lord for his faithfulness.

The words left on my mind are by Haratio G Spafford: “Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control- That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,

And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”

Written by Dennis Kilama

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