“My COVID Story” – A Pharmacist’s Day-to-day Account


On the 29th of July 2021, I had the symptoms of what would now be my worst COVID-19 experience; suffice to say, I had COVID-19 sometime in January but this is about my most recent experience. I got back from work on the said day, work was very stressful and I noticed I had mild headaches and body pain. I didn’t have breakfast nor lunch, so I ate thinking it was hunger but the pains didn’t go. I decided to rest, I dropped my phone and rested a bit, about 3 hours. I think I slept somewhere in between, but the aches didn’t go.

By Friday the 30th, I had low grade fever but not enough fatigue to stop me from going to work, so I carried on. Might I add that I’m one of the people you would call “corona prefect” because I always had my mask on. Wearing the mask for me wasn’t to protect me, it was to protect other people as most of us know, the virus is too small to be bothered by the “flimsy” DISPOSABLE surgical masks once it’s air borne (disposable in capital because it is a once only usage people of God. Dispose it and do so properly after wearing. Thank you). As I was saying, I wore my mask religiously and judiciously knowing fully well that I wasn’t protecting myself but protecting others. So, I also took the necessary precautions of washing my hands and avoiding to the best of my ability a crowded enclosed room.

Back to the story, on the 31st of July (Saturday) I noticed my throat was sore but I thought nothing of it since I was generally “ok”. I slept in the afternoon and that was when all the symptoms “arose”. I had fever – not low grade anymore dears. I had chills, headache, joint pains, muscle pains, abdominal pain, I was nauseous and I felt bloated. Only me! So I started off on an ACT, just in case it was malaria, but deep down I knew it wasn’t, I had dinner and after dinner I took diclofenac to help with the fever and headache, guys I kid you not, I had gastritis. I have suffered from ulcer which was long gone so I was lost. This was acute, about 30minutes after taking the diclofenac. I didn’t think it was gastritis because I mean, what was causing this. In my discomfort, I managed to sleep but not for long. In the middle of the night, I started having diarrhea. Yes dears, diarrhea. Then I also vomited which made me a little better but the gastritis was still there. I took omeprazole as it was the PPI available and I think I drank half a bottle of antacid (covers face) the gastritis stopped about 20minutes later and I was able to sleep.

Sunday, 1st of August, I woke feeling a bit better but I had lost my appetite. I woke up and just had something to eat because I had to take the ACT I had started yesterday and also the omeprazole. Fever and headache now gone but joint and muscle pain remained. I took paracetamol for the pain instead of diclofenac because I don’t like what I hate. By evening, I wasn’t feeling better, but I could eat something. I didn’t lose my taste or smell by the way.

Let’s now go to Monday 2nd of August. I slept woke up to prepare for work and I realized that I was weak, abdominal pain had returned, I had to talk softly and in a low tone because of the abdominal pain. I still had diarrhea and I was nauseous. I had to apply for sick leave and told myself I would go for a COVID-19 test as soon as I was strong enough to. So I started looking for government approved laboratories which wouldn’t charge for the test and luckily I found one really close to where I live in yaba – The NCDC Central public health laboratory (CPHL) Yaba. Located just before Yaba Neuro-psychiatric Hospital (aka. Yaba Left) but they stop sample collection by 12noon. Best part is no appointment was needed just walk in between 8am and before 12noon on Monday – Friday. Then I decided that if I felt stronger on Tuesday, I would go for the test.

On Tuesday 3rd of August at about 10am I went to CPHL Yaba and spent about 30minutes between registrations and sample collection. The workers were courteous enough for people employed by the government (with all due respect when and where I did my test in January was the worst, but all is forgiven) up to the lady who had the difficult job of collecting my sample. I can never get used to that test, it is the most uncomfortable way to collect samples for the giver. I could feel the swab stick up in my brain, they swabbed my brain people (just kidding) but yeah, it wasn’t a comfortable walk in the park kind of sample collection. I was told I would get the result via mail within 48hours. By now, I was not feeling any symptoms or maybe I had psychologically willed myself not to feel any symptoms because believe me when I tell you this, by the time my result was sent to me on the 4th of August and it was positive, I started having shortness of breath, I noticed I was also coughing and had begun to have chest pain. This was the beginning of my actual respiratory symptoms as all the other symptoms hadn’t been respiratory.

I had to isolate, it was the right thing to do. I had stayed home for 3 days alone and it was getting tiring but I fought myself so hard to let those who were concerned know about the result (if they knew then I must isolate myself) and as expected I was to remain in isolation till I had a negative result. By Thursday 5th of August I had chest tightness and heaviness, by Friday I easily ran out of breath and I was not doing anything stressful. At some point I had to take deep breaths because I wasn’t getting enough. When I woke up on Saturday morning (7th of August) I felt a bit of a relief then I made the mistake of actually exercising. This worsened my breathing and chest situation, it felt like a heavy rock was placed on my chest, I had to take more deep breaths, my nose became blocked, the coughing worsened and it was difficult for me to stand quickly or sit after standing too. I took something to help me sleep in the afternoon so I could take my mind off it, woke up and nothing changed. In fact it was the chest pain that woke me up.

Sunday wasn’t any different. Since the chest pain had started on Thursday, I had done steam inhalation once every night and I was relieved a bit. By Saturday, I did it twice, same with Sunday, but by Monday afternoon (9th of August) this was before 4pm, I had done steam inhalation THREE times because it had become worse. This meant if something isn’t done, I would need steam inhalation every hour worse still be placed on oxygen because I couldn’t breathe properly. I’m a woman of science, but I’m also a woman of faith, I’m a Christian and I have had at least two people pray for me. My mom had told someone who called and prayed for me over the phone and I had interacted with the pastor of my church who also prayed for my healing. By the way, all these prayers happened before Saturday the 7th of August when everything worsened.

I used to say that “it’s only YOU that can pray for yourself. Other people only join their faith with yours, but your own faith, your own belief that you are healed has to be there because God doesn’t force his will or his gifts on us, YOU HAVE TO WANT IT TOO, and only by believing will you receive”. Was it that these men of God were not praying for me effectively? Well they might have been if I wasn’t rolling my eyes as they prayed for me over the phone and actually stirred up my faith to believe I will be healed.

Back to the breathing issue on Monday. When I noticed I had done steam inhalation three times before 4pm on Monday, I started to cry. I’m a pharmacist, I know if I don’t get my breathing back ASAP I must be placed on oxygen to survive, ergo I must go to an isolation center, ergo I have moved from moderate to severe symptoms of COVID and I may or may not come out alive… I’m an over thinker, I think of death and how it will come a lot so this train of thought wasn’t foreign to me.

I went on WhatsApp with my “bad breath” and chest pain and started viewing status (because life is for the living and a baby gyal is not yet dead) and I saw this clip of song on my friend’s status. There’s this saying that “s/he who sings well, prays twice” and certain songs move me to pray. I had never heard the song before now but after watching the clip I went and searched for the song on YouTube to listen to it from the beginning. It had a slow start but when it got to the clip that made me search for the song, guys I kid you not, I heard God say “you’re a healer, heal yourself”. The way I held my rib cage and asked the rubbish inflammation giving me breathlessness and chest pain to get out in the name of Jesus, you’ll think it was a madness… I kept calling the name of Jesus because God knows his daughter will not go to an isolation center and be placed on oxygen that he already dashed me. On Sunday, I attended church virtually and the preacher had said something and I will paraphrase “that thing bothering you, as long as you can name it, there’s a name more powerful than it”. I called the weyrey COVID-19 by its name o and I asked it to bow before the name of Jesus o.

By the time I was done, was there a difference? No, everything was as it was. I even did steam inhalation again making 4 times before 9pm on Monday, but the difference was, this time I believed I was healed. I took my mind off it and slept with my heavy chest and breathlessness… I slept with my mouth open because I couldn’t breathe through my nose. Imagine the sight, a whole baby gyal, Kai! COVID-19 humbled me more than pharmacy school did. I woke up around 3am to ease myself and I noticed I stood easily. The chest tightness like I said earlier made standing and sitting difficult. Actually, I didn’t notice then, it was when I had eased myself and stood up that I was like waitttttttttttt, this was too easy. I sat again and stood again, still easy. The chest pain was still there but not enough to cause difficulty but I wasn’t breathless and my nose wasn’t blocked anymore.

By Tuesday evening I couldn’t notice the chest pain again, by Wednesday 11th of August, I went on a 20minutes stroll and – aside the normal – my breath was fine, my chest was fine, my strength was fine. I was basically asymptotic by Tuesday. All I needed was another “uncomfortable” test to confirm that up I was COVID negative. By the way, on Tuesday morning when I still had the chest pain, I had told God that I wanted a negative result by weekend. So, on Thursday morning, I took myself to CPHL Yaba and dropped another sample. Hopefully the result will be out by Friday evening then I’ll know if the worst is truly over.

On a final note guys, COVID IS STILL VERY MUCH OUT THERE, please wear your masks. Think of other people sometimes, I lost two weeks productivity to self-isolation because someone didn’t wear a mask and gave me COVID-19. Let us do better and if you see people not wearing masks just help you gyal to give them a Knock on the head for factory setting reset.

PS: The repeat result came out NEGATIVE. Love and light, Valma.

About Author:

Valentina O. Marinze is a Practicing Pharmacist, a Woman of Science and a Woman of Faith.

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