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When the coronavirus hits your family

RYDER GABATHUSE
Bane of our times: COVID-19 has disrupted all aspects of life PIC: opthalmologytimes.com
PALAPYE: The novel coronavirus pandemic has instilled so much fear in society that what immediately comes to our minds when the pandemic is mentioned is simply fear of death.

Perhaps, the recent rising mortalities of COVID-19 related ailments in our shores are the source of societal fears and worries.

When a report is mentioned that a family member has tested positive for the virus, people tend to surrender everything to the virus, sometimes without fighting.

From a professional point of view as a news writer, the nation that we report on has to be fed with news. But, you feel the pain even more, when it is your close relative who is on the other side of things and not just an ordinary statistic. No matter how painful it could be, some stories are worth telling to share the good and the bad with others and shed more light on life’s realities. But, fear remains the worst enemy.

Just last Saturday when I was just about to succumb to the weekend fatigue that forced me to take an early nap, I was rudely awakened by bad news from home.

My mother, who is in her old age, last week complained about harshly stabbing pains running from her head to the toes. She was also bothered by incessant cough and fever. Often times, we ignore stories coming from our mothers thinking that they perhaps seek more attention from us when they actually need help.

My mother’s condition would later deteriorate with dizziness denying her stability, forcing her to seek support whenever she moved from one point to another.

Little did my mother’s handlers know that she exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus as the rapid test would later confirm upon arrival at the Palapye Primary Hospital. When the whole cohort was tested, at least 80% of them were positive. Mother’s helper, a 22-year-old woman and her nine-month-old daughter as well as a three-year old nephew’s son were confirmed positive, whilst another nephew was the only one out of a household of five who tested negative.

Fear gripped me and my siblings as we wondered how safe it would be to visit our mother at her house after she was released a day later. As a person living with an underlying condition, we feared it could worsen her condition thinking her body might give up the

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fight. Fortunately, she is still holding on. Whilst we have faith that our mother will be out of danger in the fullness of time, we know what the virus is capable of doing. That has also been the source of our worry.

Life abruptly changed for all those who had tested positive as they started strictly adhering to the COVID-19 pandemic protocols, which is a good development as they will not easily spread the virus.

Although she (mother) didn’t have breathing complications, it was apparent that she was hardest hit amongst the cohort as she has a number of conditions that she is now dealing with. Others were asymptomatic and were immediately released from the hospital after testing without any treatment, but encouraged to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.

My little sister, a nurse by profession, took the challenge of applying her skills in helping our mother recover. She had arranged that we view our mother from a very safe position so that we didn’t all fall victims to the pandemic.

It was however very clear that our parents there at home have many visitors who, like them, do not adhere to the COVID-19 protocols. They don’t wear masks, they rarely wash their hands and no social distancing is observed. They also tend to prolong their discussions.

The thinking is that since they spend most of their time home, they are safe. There is also this tendency of wearing the mask to avoid being arrested by the police and not as a protection against the virus.

Young ones just loiter around moving from one yard to the other without masks.

They don’t wash their hands and don’t practise social distancing. Unfortunately, the virus knows no boundaries and it came as a bitter lesson to my mother and other members of her house as they are now gripped by fear and had to learn it the hard way.

From my Tuesday visit home (Palapye), it was apparent that my mother was recuperating although from her report, she was still enduring bodily pains.

Until the vaccine is administered and even thereafter, it will be important for people to religiously follow COVID-19 protocols to save more lives.



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