Barbra Musiimenta, a jolly young lady from Rukungiri District was eager to share her once in a lifetime story. The professional accountant and business lady attributes her recovery from Covid-19 to having a general positive attitude towards life and strong faith, alongside other medication. She told her story to Lynn Feliciah Mbeiza.
Being a student at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Musiimenta had to report for her exams at the centre in Mbarara District.
She prepared herself to travel from Rukungiri, three weeks prior to exams so as to do enough personal reading.
Definitely, discussions were out of the question for obvious health reasons.
She hoped to reside at her close friend’s home till she completed her exams like she had always done but matters changed almost immediately.
Signs and symptoms
On the fateful day, she went to the library for proper research and reading.
When she returned home, the children had made a mess of the house and she immediately started cleaning and clearing the mess as a responsible adult but it was not long before she started feeling dizzy.
She also noticed that she was sweating profusely while doing the chores and she decided to rest, thinking she was just tired.
A while later, she experienced fever and chills, but thought she would get better with time. The following morning, she woke up with an awfully sore throat which later in the day developed into cough and flu.
She drove to hospital and the doctor suggested she tests for typhoid and malaria, which turned out negative.
“It had not crossed my mind yet that I could be a Covid-19 patient until the doctor recommended I test for it too,” Musiimenta says.
At the time, tests were done only at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, so she rushed there.
Depending on how alarming the situation was in the country, she panicked and went back home and packed her bags before receiving the hospital Covid-19 test results.
“I did not want to spread the disease to the kids just in case the results turned out positive,” she says.
Dealing with stigma
To her dismay, the test results were positive. She asked to isolate herself privately since the hospital isolation center was full.
She went to a guesthouse which was being used as an isolation center and paid for 14 days.
When she left to pick her belongings from her friend’s house, she was shocked to find that she had locked the house with her belongings outside and left a note that read:
“Please distance yourself from my kids, I don’t want my kids to get Corona.”
She loaded her belongings into her car and headed straight to the guest house. She says her world changed enormously.
She was very frustrated and felt discouraged from telling anyone that she was sick, including her mother who suffers from hypertension.
“I did not tell her because I thought she would die at that instant,” Musiimenta says.
While in isolation, she maintained a daily steaming routine and took her medication carefully.
She acclaims two people, a friend from school and a workmate who always called to encourage and strengthen her during this time.
She was also very certain she would recover and believed when she prayed that God would heal her.
She is very thankful that despite being absent for long, she was not laid off at work and that she had enough money to take her through this period. She was getting her leave pay as well as her allowances all this while.
Musiimenta however, says that she needed more emotional support from her other friends and family but she could not disclose her illness to them for fear of being stigmatised. This fact occasionally frustrated her.
She was able to heal in time for her exams and also go back to Rukungiri to her family and work.
She says that none of her friend’s children or her friend contracted the virus despite being in close contact.
They had also made use of the local concoctions and steaming recommended as local preventive measures.
Her mother got to know later after Musiimenta had recovered. As of today, she is healthy and back to her work routine.