Even when someone recovers from the COVID-19, the battle is not over yet.
So relentless is the virus that its survivors suffer from various after-effects for prolonged periods.
Survivors are never the same after COVID-19 and they carry permanent scars. One such survivor is Obonolo Rahube, who is a nurse at Extension 15. He is also the president of the Botswana Nurses Union, an organization whose members are bearing the brunt of the virus due to their profession.
As one of the frontline workers, Rahube was intimately aware of the COVID-19 health protocols and always followed them. Masking up, sanitizing frequently and social distancing were his daily mantra.
But on December 9 last year, his world came to a jolting stop. Rahube then contracted COVID-19 and he suspects it was after coming into contact with a positive patient at the clinic. Two days after the contact, he began to have flu-like symptoms.
“On the fourth day I started to have chest congestion. “As a nurse it was easy for me to realize that these were symptoms of COVID-19 and I decided to take a test and wait for the results while on self-isolation. “By the time the results came out confirming that I was positive, my body was weak and I wasn’t breathing properly. “I was rushed to Sir Ketumile Masire hospital where I was later admitted. This was one of the most traumatising moments for my children, wife and my family”, he said. He fought through the suffering and the changes in his body occassioned by COVID-19. “Almost all those who were critically ill and were admitted at hospitals have their own story to tell on the symptoms, but one
“Even today, my body is not active like before.” said Rahube. The virus also plays havoc with one’s mental well-being. Even the simple act of being admitted to hospital can set off panic among patients and their families. “The most stressful thing when admitted at Sir Ketumile Masire is wondering whether one will come out alive.
The Hospital has good facilities but that’s the last thing in the patient’s mind except the wish to come out alive,” Rahube said. With his family unable to visit him, as per COVID-19 hospital protocols, Rahube was left in the hands of his fellow healthcare workers.
“This issue did not go well with my children when they heard that I tested positive and I could not breathe well.
“I understand that for a few days they could not concentrate at school and when I came back after I got discharged, I had to offer them counselling.
“I believe the affected families should be given free counselling. When a person is critically ill because of Covid-19, some family members get stressed and have little hope that the person will survive.”
According to Rahube, the secret to beating COVID-19 is to take and following the instructions from doctors and nurses. “You also must pray to God.” “Another important thing is to teach members of the family how to take care of themselves during this time and what to expect when one has Covid and is admitted to hospital. “It is not an easy thing for family members but unfortunately circumstances put us in these situations”, said.