I have been in and out of the hospital for like four years now, it almost appears that every year I get to be on sick leave. Last four years was some upper respiratory coupled with malaria something and the subsequent three years have been typhoid. One of the challenges I have been dealing with is also my bad eating disorder. My job pays well enough to put food on the table, but I think my body hasn’t really accepted that. My family and very close friends and even some of my colleagues worry a lot about it, I too worry sometimes.
Sometimes it’s better, but other days following another menstrual cycle, it is worse. I only depend on fluids. Now anybody knows that food restores energy to the human system, and I can admit that the kind of energy I emit from my body and put into my career and writing is never proportionate to the one I let inside me. Aside the energy from food, the beginning of year has also been one roller-coaster of deep seated emotions. Trying to balance a lot more in my adult life. Trying to get a new place because my rent will be soon expire in one of the most expensive cities in the world, Accra,
getting my first car which came with many unseen expenses( lol, I can see someone laughing) and lapsing all over again into some love chapter I have closed only to find myself opening it more wider again. The truth is I haven’t been in a good place of late and I haven’t even stop to breathe. Working on soliloquy at least was a therapy, because most of the words were a gift to myself but i still needed more than that.
A slowing down i guess.

I started having some irritation in my throat on Friday, 13th March at work and so when I got home, all I did was get some ginger tea to help battle it because the next day I was a guest on HSTV. On Sunday, I woke up to a very bad dry cough that I began to panic. I called my CEO and informed him of my absence from work. I went to the hospital, had some lab tests done and it came out that my blood count was normal. I was advised to go home and call the emergency numbers if symptoms were worse. All through out, I was not having temperature, the cough bothered me because I didn’t understand why all of a sudden, I was coughing, and I feared somehow subtly.
I called the emergency numbers so many times, but the line was busy, finally after my call went through, It was put on hold.
I do not know if anybody can understand the frustration but at that moment, I needed to know what was wrong. I went to work the next day to take a chest X-ray which also came as fine. From then I was beginning to feel better, I even said yes to an invitation to perform on Citi TV last week Friday, I was looking forward to it, until midnight when I started having a terrible diarrhea. I was scared, because up until then, the only food my stomach had taken was one cedi worth of Tuo Zaafi. You are wondering who will sell that to me, unfortunately after like four swallows, my stomach was filled up. I tried all I can to eat my fish and egg so that at least something got into my stomach.
The diarrhea came with a terrible stomach ache that i had no option than to resort going to the hospital, again. I couldn’t find my car key, and also, I am not a perfect driver, so I had to get an Uber. My neighbors’ phone couldn’t be reached, so I was left with the only option to call my friend Kwabena Eddie Mankata from Sakomono to discuss what to do. Finally, I was able to get a driver from bolt and as late at twelve midnight I was on my way to the hospital again. I quickly sent a text message to cancel my poetry performance on Citi TV and that came with a sharp pain in my heart because it meant a lot to me.

When I got to the hospital, I was asked to fill the COVID-19 questioner again, my vitals were taken and my weight was recorded, I was given a mask to wear and I was directed to see the doctor. After narrating my symptoms and all, he gave COVID-19 as his differential. I must admit I was so devastated at that moment. I was confused, but most of all a deep sense of fear began to fill me. The doctor made some calls to Ridge and they said I needed to be isolated, but the issue was there was no ambulance available to take me . The final decision was to be taken to Legon Hospital. I was given gloves to wear, the very place I stood at the reception was disinfected, the pen I held was disinfected and finally the doctor looked at me and said, “I’m sorry this is not to make you uncomfortable”. I just nodded because even though I hated how I was feeling but I also did understand.
Unfortunately, no ambulance meant I had to go on my own, so my friend Eddie and I got out and looked for a taxi that took me to Legon Hospital to be isolated.

My idea of isolation was soon challenged, isolation in my situation meant anything outside the comfort zone. When we got to the security gate, we got down from the taxi and someone asked me to follow him. Eddie was asked to go back, and I followed the man to wherever he was leading me.

First, I realized it was a children’s ward probably not in use anymore or temporary designated to serve as an isolation unit in this moment of crisis. There were 11 cartoon drawings on the wall and then finally at the left side of the door was a small card on the wall that read welcome to children wall.

There was an unused bed at the corner of the room. Four and three seated blue chairs, a wheelchair, an oxygen cylinder and then a cream plastic chair which had what happened to be a used or dirty folded bed sheet on it.

At the side of my bed, which was the only bed around, was a trolley and under it was a collected rubbish( a used plastic bowl with used tissues on top of it all wrapped in a yellow polythene bag). How long has it been there? I began to wonder too.

Then there was what looked like small store room which housed thousands of patient folders.
The bed i slept on had no pillow. Who needs a pillow you are wondering? Only one bed sheet was available at that time so that was what was used to lay the bed for me to sleep on. Throughout the night I used my sweater to give some comfort to my legs. I was told my sample was going to be taken in the morning at eight. How I managed to sleep, only God knew.

In the morning, a worker who I had seen sweeping around came to ask me if I wanted breakfast and I told her it i was okay.
I called the man who has brought me the night to confirm the time the sample was supposed to be taken. He assured me around eight in the morning.

In isolation, my doctor kept in touch with me asking me about my well being. First i was annoyed because i began to feel he was doing that because probably he felt i was a good case study, but then i calmed down and let him do his job and not let my frustration get in.

Finally, some few minutes to twelve in the afternoon, my sample was taken and the result was said to be in after thirty-six hours. At that time, an older man had also joined me.

So what next i asked? i wanted to go home so badly.
My back was aching from the bed, my phone battery was dead which meant my parents could be worried if they didn’t hear from me.

Finally, I was asked to go home and that I would be called for the result.

At home, my friends Kwabena Eddie Mankata, Dorcas Fafali Tsey and Nerna Esy Buduwa Afful arranged for food and fruits to be sent to me. My neighbor also got me some other things i needed. My family did their usual check in’s everyday and yet i had not mentioned anything to them.
But i knew they were praying for me.

After a day, my doctor sent me a text message that the initial result tested negative and they were waiting for the final one.
The final one also finally came out as negative.

I choose to share this story because sometimes in the heat of a situation, you find out that much cannot be done. Suppose i did truly had COVID-19, i would have passed it on to many people because truth be told there were so many helpless situations i found myself in.
The emergency numbers were not responding, no ambulance was out there for me to take me to Legon hospital or even back to my house after they took the sample.

It’s funny the questions the doctors i came into contact asked keep echoing in my mind.
“So what do we do”?

They did what they could. And somehow I am grateful.

There is so many to write but i have tried my best to write this in few words.

I would be taking a little break here to recover fully not just physically but emotionally as well. I want to have some good rest in this season, try to eat as much as i can and also bounce back to my normal routine.

Thank you to all sent me messages, called and prayed with me. Apologies to all unread messages and unresponded comments.

This too shall pass but before it does PLEASE STAY HOME.
Take them serious all that you have heard and seen concerning protecting yourself.
Take care not just Covid- 19 but for the sake of your health
Because trust me, things may not be as it has been said it will be.
-Jo Nketiah

10 thoughts on “The PANIC, FEAR AND THE REAL ILLNESS.”

  1. This too shall pass, Joe
    You’re strong!

    And I pray for God’s protection and healing over your previous life!

    You’d inhale this breathe into motion again!

  2. Well said Jo. Glad u are doing better. Too bad u had to experience such ordeal. Get better and see u at work soon. We will stay safe, thanks for sharing.

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