What you need to know:
- We were at Coptic from 7pm to 12.30am— five and a half agonising hours.
- Sleeping was a problem, I had no appetite, the chills and sniffles were back twice-fold.
Finally, ‘Rona’ cornered me.
Bided her time and waited patiently till during one moment when I let down my guard, she pounced and floored me by delivering one devastating blow, one that left me breathless— literally.
Sounds like some description of a street fight in some estate?
Sadly, that's how I caught coronavirus. I have no idea where, how, when or even from who, not that it would have mattered anyway.
I had just returned from some week-long whirlwind campaign in several Mt Kenya counties— Embu, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Nyahururu.
Five days down the line, a Thursday to be specific, I caught what I thought was a normal cold.
By Friday, I was in full-blown case— runny and stuffy nose, headache, and trying to mitigate the effects by hydrating and staying indoors from Friday to Monday. I also bought some cough syrup from the local chemist.
I kept taking those home remedies everyone recommends for a cold and which my wife religiously fixed for me— garlic, ginger, lemon, mint and honey.
But not this time; nothing seemed to work.
Come Monday morning after taking a shower, and just before settling down to watch something on TV, I got my first cold chill down my back followed by sniffles. A second followed and I was now alarmed. Then I started shaking, and my teeth did a number on me by chattering.
And it didn't happen once, but several times. This time when my wife told me: "We need to go to hospital ", I didn't argue. Men after all are said to be stubborn when it comes to hospital visits.
In my case, I didn't hesitate. We rushed to the closest Aga Khan clinic to my home at Akai Plaza, Thika Road.
Lots of fear
Dr Lucy, bless her heart, gave me one look after triage and informed me it would be wise to rule out coronavirus. Why? I asked with lots of fear and concern in my voice.
Suffice it to say I took her advice and went for a test— but I decided to go to Coptic later in the evening, which I had been informed charged reasonably well.
My eldest son Jude, 31, drove us. Much later this came to haunt us.
We were at Coptic from 7pm to 12.30am— five and a half agonising hours.
It never ceases to amaze me why hospital visits take this long in Nairobi even when the places are not packed. If an average visit lasts less than three hours, you are very lucky.
After an x-ray that made the doctors gasp: "You have bronchopneumonia", my heart sunk. I just figured surely it couldn't get any worse.
"We need to test for Covid," the doctor said. I looked nonplussed. However, I thought that's why I came in the first place, but I didn't voice it.
Anyway, the test was done close to 11pm. We got our painkillers, antihistamines and antibiotics and left more than an hour and a half later.
The results came by mail at 6pm while we were en route to Coptic. And my living nightmare began. As protocols state, I self- isolated in one of the bedrooms.
It wasn't so much unlike living as a pariah, but it was worth getting well and keeping the rest safe. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday are a mishmash for me.
Sleeping was a problem, I had no appetite, the chills and sniffles were back twice-fold and now, breathing difficulties kicked in whichever side I decided to lie on.
By this time, I was having a really crazy looping dream for three days in a row.
I thought I would go nuts. I would beg: "I know what will happen next, so why don't we just end it here" but no way...It was reminiscent of a Tom Cruise movie called "Edge of Tomorrow", looping and annoyingly repetitive.
Had I told my family about this issue, they would have taken me in a different direction of the Thika superhighway— Mathare —so I kept it to myself.
Coptic's Dr Lauryne has told us in the event my sugar level rose and my breathing became difficult, we should not hesitate but make a beeline for Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital.
By Saturday, I was almost delirious and my wife and son were frantically seeking where to take me— Nairobi South or KU. My sugar level was a staggering 23. Normal is 3.7 to 7.8 at most.
And that's how I found myself at Kenyatta University Teaching, Research and Referral Hospital.