TV host recalls how she beat Covid-19 infection

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 18:26 |
UK-based Nigerian TV host, Rachael Tobi Akingbade. She has urged people to take coronavirus pandemic seriously. Photo/COURTESY

The thought of contracting Covid-19 is scary for many people, and UK-based Nigerian TV host Rachael Tobi Akingbade who survived the disease has come out to share how she beat it.

In a viral post that has attracted around 140, 000 likes and 32,500 tweets, Akingbade  narrates how she went for a test on March 14  after she developed swollen glands, persistent cough and fatigue– symptoms associated with the disease. 

This was after she was informed that she had been in contact with an individual who had tested positive for the disease five days earlier. 

Though she admits that she never took the news seriously, she decided to social distance. 

The tests came out positive and for two weeks she stayed indoors to allow her body to fight off the virus. 

Her case was mild and that’s why she was able to recover without the aid of medical assistance. She also adds that it took prayers, positive affirmation, faith and avoiding anxiety to heal. 

Blame anxiety

“Because a lot of us may not get access to Covid-19 testing kits and calls with the National Health Service (NHS)- Britain’s publicly-funded healthcare system- feel scripted, I’ll share my experience. It may help someone,” she tweeted.

 On the first day, she says, her glands were swollen and on the second day she could hardly speak for four seconds.

 “I was extremely fatigued. I’m anaemic and well acquainted with tiredness but this was chronic,” she says.

On day three, she said she had chest pains and fever. 

“I blamed work anxiety. I developed a fever (was hot and cold at the same time).

I struggled to walk and my breathing became shallow and difficult. The muscles in my neck began to ache,” she says.

As the symptoms progressed to day four, Akingbade  describes it as one of the scariest moments in her life. 

“I woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a truck in my sleep and then thrown off a cliff. The muscles in my face ached.

The muscles in my eyes hurt. Every muscle hurt. My persistent cough became extremely painful. I developed a migraine,” she recalls. 

She adds that on that day she still had fever and was coughing. Akingbade became frightened as her body would force itself to sleep as her breathing became worrying and she feared the worst. 

“I called NHS 111 who confirmed my suspicions and instructed me to self-isolate in my room as I don’t live alone.” 

She says she slept a lot on day five, as keeping her eyes open was painful to the core.

The pain was so severe that she was forced to use sunglasses whenever she wanted to use her phone and this worsened her migraine. 

“My body ached and my breathing became worst (sic). Coughing didn’t help. I could feel my lungs getting heavier, every breath got shorter,” she says. 

Stop pain

Even painkillers could not stop the pain on day  six. Her worst fear this day was the fact that her breathing was not improving and she could not hold her breath for more than two seconds. 

On day seven she became alarmed by the fact that she had completely lost her ability to taste food. 

“I nearly passed out brushing my teeth as it was obstructing my breathing. NHS were too overstretched to help. At this point I was begging God, I didn’t want to die this way.” 

She said it was on the eighth day in isolation that she opted to use some advice she got from Twitter that would assist in breathing; sitting under a hot shower.

It worked for her and she was glad that for the first time that week, she drew the curtains but still required sunglasses -since her eyes were also hurting. 

Her body stopped aching and her migraine was not so persistent.  Though the cough minimised, she noticed that it produced yellow phlegm from her lungs. 

“I was still breathless from just sitting up, sharp pains in my chest but the migraine improved. Body temperature was back to normal.  I coughed about twice a day. Found the strength to find hope,”  she tweeted.

Hit hard

Akingbade began to see a slow improvement from day  nine to 12. At least she could hold her breathe for eight seconds and slept less. 

“I called NHS again due to a scare with breathing, unable to get medical assistance but the problem solved itself. I became physically restless,” she says 

On the 13th day, on March 27 she managed to go downstairs for the first time. She says she was thankful to God for the fresh air and the ability to walk round her garden. 

“... I’ve lost several days of my life to this illness. Many others have lost their lives. You can do your part by staying at home, stop joking around and take it seriously.

I’m a healthy 28-year-old and it hit me hard. I’m grateful to have recovered, but I will continue to do my part,” she concluded.

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