Recovering Covid-19 patient shares her story

Friday March 27 2020
MYRA ANUBI

Ms Myra Anubi, a Kenyan journalist who lives in London. She was diagnosed with coronavirus. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JUSTUS WANGA

Ms Myra Anubi, a Kenyan journalist who lives in London, is Sunday on her 9th day of self-isolation at home after being diagnosed with coronavirus.

With a sick mother-in law in the same building, who contracted the virus around the same time as her after a relative suspected to be infected paid them a visit, Ms Anubi, 30, said the worry of infecting her two children — aged two-and-a-half and five — drains her more than the disease itself.

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She said that once she exhibited the symptoms, she filled in a questionnaire provided by the government online and was given instructions on how to take care of herself.

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The British government is encouraging those affected to stay home once they present the symptoms as opposed to going to hospital. They call the helpline in case of any difficulties and leave hospitals to only attend to those in critical condition. She spoke to our writer Justus Wanga on Saturday on her experience and lessons, a phone interview interrupted at least four times by the children.

How are you coping with the condition?

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It has confined us home. But there is hope. We initially thought it would be too harsh on us but we are happy its pang have died down, a bit. Regular honey, ginger, a lot of hot fluids and fruits have helped in managing it.

What symptoms did you experience before confirmation that indeed it was Covid-19?
It started with a deep cough and loss of appetite. A sore throat and excessive sweating that comes with a fever. I also experienced a headache and pain in tonsils. I thought my throat was swollen.

The temperature was very high, I had weak joints and general body weakness almost similar to those experienced by malaria patients.

What drugs are you using?

We are largely surviving on painkillers. Paracetamol to be precise, as advised by the health authorities and treat specifics symptoms when they show. Oh, and cough syrups here and there.

How has the quarantine affected your life?

We are indoors, some working from home.

What are some of the measures you took when you heard of the disease outbreak?

We never imagined that it would catch up with us. When news of the virus hit the headlines, like every family, we rushed and stocked up on essential food and commodities. We never thought we would fall victim.

Are there occasions you’ve been worried that your condition may worsen?

Not really, we have emergency lines to call in cases of distress. We have not gotten there yet and hope not to since the condition is more severe in the first few days. The response here is very swift.

Other than your mother-in- law, who else is affected in your family?

My husband and children are fine although we had interacted before my symptoms presented. They are all not allowed to go out until the lapse of 14 days, it is the government policy when a family member falls sick.

I was initially worried about the children because they are always with me but assurance from the paediatrician that they’ll be fine has kept us going.

How do you rate the British government’s handling of the pandemic?

They have done a good job. The constant updates have helped root out the panic associated with the initial days of the outbreak. They are on top of things. Emergency numbers are working.

I have been following the Kenyan government’s handling of the situation and I must admit, they are doing a good job too. I would urge the public not to panic, like many others across the globe we can defeat this virus. Let everyone follow hygiene and other measures given out by Health authorities.

What do you see as a major threat to tackling the virus?

Misinformation. This is bound to create more panic among the masses. I ask parents not to panic, get in touch with their doctors especially for cases where one has other health conditions that may make them more vulnerable to the virus.

I have also read reports that many are fleeing major towns like Nairobi to seek refuge in the villages, they must be careful not to expose the elderly at home to danger.