“Corona no dey show for face” is a phrase that best suits Seun Akioye’s COVID-19 experience.
Due to his job requirements, he travels a lot however he never failed to be cautious always. Earlier in the year, being a responsible citizen, he decided to take a COVID-19 test before office resumption.
“The COVID test was one of the most difficult things I have done. The decision to do it was not made slightly because there’s an adage that the disease you don’t know about won’t kill you, ignorance is bliss. But I had to take responsibility not just for myself and family but for my colleagues at work, so I braved up for the test” Seun revealed.
But he had his fears and apprehensions in the event of the results going negative and when asked how his testing experience was, he had this to say.
“The process was cumbersome if you ask me and the test itself is another story. I have read different stories from people about how easy it was but mine was difficult and painful. I had a bit of reaction for the rest of that day. You know, it took seven days before the results came in. But as part of taking responsibility, I had self-isolated since I went for the test. Many thanks to my Executive Director, Mrs. Babafunke Fagbemi, who gave me all the support and encouragement. You don’t know what that means until you are in need of it.”
Little did he know he would need much more of that after waiting a whole week to know his fate.
“I was in my room when this unusual text message came in. I was sure it was my COVID result, but I was so scared to open it. I didn’t touch it for about two hours. The message calmly informed me my result was positive, I froze. But then my positive mentality took over and I said it’s okay. That was in the afternoon. Then I went about with my office work, reading the Bible, drinking water but the result and the fate which awaits me would not leave my mind. By night, the fear came back. All the negative stories about people who had died of COVID came to me and throughout the first night I was really in agony. Will i die now, will i survive it, if I die who will take care of my children?” Seun recounts.
“I remembered all my unfinished projects, my life flashed in front of me. In the morning I called my children to break the news and I was shocked what they told me.
” Daddy, you will be fine, we will help you.”
That was all I needed. That underscores the support system that we need to put in place. Also, my office responded in an unprecedented manner. People offered their counsel, they prayed for me. Members of my church GRACEVILLE Christian Centre also prayed with me. By the end of the second day, I was feeling like a celebrity.”
He also had his fair share of his experiences with the COVID-19 symptoms. “I had a rather nasty bout of catarrh, cold and cough. I was coughing so terribly with some weird discharges. At night, I would shiver and had to use different layers of duvet to cover up. But surprisingly, i didn’t lose my sense of smell or taste (thankfully).”
One may wonder how a compliant citizen, who adhered to safety regulations wherever he found himself ended up with COVID-19. He admitted to thinking same himself and concluded that one could never be too careful and one of the best ways to stay as safe as possible is by avoiding unnecessary outings. “If you can, minimise your outdoor activities, social gathering should be limited. I have not attended a party since February 2020 and I am here , still alive so it is possible not to die if we don’t attended parties. Everyone is overwhelmed now, so the onus is on us to ensure we help our regulatory agencies and make their jobs easier. Follow all the guidelines, it is easier to be Covid free than battle to stay alive,” he advised.
Seun recounted his isolation period as a time well spent getting closer to God, re-strategizing his work plan, and appreciating the seemingly little things.
“My isolation period was spent majorly trying to catch up on the reading of the Bible, so I had a lot of time to reflect on the word of God and His promises to us.
One of which was good health.
I spent a great deal of time trying to think of the direction for my team at work this year. Even though COVID has put a sort of hold on some of my plans, it was time to re-strategize and plan. Despite COVID, we can still achieve a lot and catch up on some of the lost time. As a nation, we have a lot to do as well. We lost a lot of time last year to the lockdown; it is time to recover and recoup especially in our primary health care system.
Finally, the isolation period told me there is no superman anywhere. We need to take our body and health seriously. We might form Voltron as much as we like but a tiny virus that cannot be seen by ordinary eyes has humbled humanity. Take care of your health, boost your immunity, cut down on food and drinks that do nothing positive for the body. When your body is in shape you stand a better chance of fighting off viruses next time, we have a scenario like this.”
Finally, he gave us some good advise on why we should take responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones.
“In Nigeria generally, I will say there is now a fatigue on the part of the people. We hardly comply anymore. Infact except in government institutions, you hardly find anyone with mask and social distancing and hand washing now belongs to the stone ages. So, there’s a lot to be done by Nigerians. Yes, I know people are asymptomatic and they may recover on their own but what about the elderly and others with some underlining sicknesses? Your carelessness might just be the ruin of others. Taking responsibility may be hard, but you need to remember you will answer for all your actions in one way or the other. That’s why we must make the sacrifices to take responsibility as we are also seeing some different mutations of the virus.”
If at this point, you’re still wondering if COVID is real, we hope his story & this particular statement convinces you- “If I say again that COVID is real won’t that be too obvious or me sounding like a broken bottle? But I will say it again that it’s real. Yes, a lot of us will survive, but that gives us no liberty to endanger the others who are less healthy than us.”
Seun Akioye, award winning journalist is Head of Media and Creative, Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI).