For the past two months, the entire world has been focused on one thing and one thing only: coronavirus. While it has been declared a global pandemic, many people are still acting recklessly and are becoming part of the problem, rather than the solution.
While many would like to believe that the media is making out coronavirus to be more than it actually is, we spoke to 31-year-old, Omama Mohamed, who not only battled the virus but thankfully survived to tell us her story and raise awareness on just how real it is.
Mohamed shared the following status on her Facebook profile to share her story:
How did you pick up the virus?
On the 25th of Feb when Coronavirus was something we only heard about in the news and only focused in China, my dad and I traveled to Saudia Arabia to perform Umra. We’re not sure exactly when or how we got infected, but during our 2-week-long stay in Saudi Arabia, things started to get real and even the Ka’ba doors were shut down, denying pilgrims from praying there.
My father started developing a fever, but the doctors there informed us it was just a regular cold. We weren’t worried, especially that his cough wasn’t dry and the check-ups had indicated that it was not coronavirus.
What precautions were taken at the airport once you arrived in Egypt?
I was surprised to find that no precautions were taken at the airport whatsoever, even though coronavirus had just been declared a global pandemic by the WHO. The only difference was that they checked our temperature before entering. However, my father as well as many other passengers had a fever, but were on medication and therefore were not detected as problematic and were left to enter normally.
When did you start suspecting that your father might have coronavirus?
My father was determined to see a doctor in Egypt for a second opinion. Again, he was told that it was just a normal cold, but that he should monitor his temperature and if the fever doesn’t go down in 5 days, he should reach out to the Fever Hospital in Portsaid.
As his fever was really high, sometimes even reaching 40 degrees, he was determined to self-isolate just in case. Five days later, with no sign of a decreased fever, extreme fatigue, and coughing immensely, I took my father to the hospital where they ran a CBC blood test, a chest x-ray and even before doing a PCR test, his x-ray showed signs of pneumonia.
He was admitted immediately and that night, the PCR results came back positive.
What were your symptoms?
Fever, but it only reached 37.5 degrees. Sore throat and it was difficult to swallow. Stomach pains, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
When were you admitted into the hospital?
As my father had tested positive, the healthcare workers were constantly in contact with my family to see if we developed any symptoms as we had been in direct contact with him. Four days later, when the symptoms started to get worse, I was taken to Abu Khalifa hospital in Port Said where my father was being isolated and treated.
- There were nights where I could not breathe and needed a ventilator for breathing support.
- There were times when the pain was too much to bear.
- The emotional factor of not knowing whether I will survive was a nightmare.
- Every other day one of my 6 siblings would also be diagnosed positive and that made it more worrying.
Tell us more about your experience with the treatment phase.
For the first 5 days, I was given Tamiflu and other medication to help with the pain and just breathing support when necessary. The nursing team and doctors were amazing. They made sure we ate 3 meals a day to help improve the immune system and give it the energy to fight back. They were always available day and night.
After 5 days, I was moved to my father’s room as we were both recovering at the same stage. Ten days later, thankfully our results had been found negative and even though I still had all the symptoms, I was released from the hospital.
What message would you like to tell everyone around you?
Coronavirus is no joke and I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay home and stay safe. My family and I were lucky to have recovered and thankfully we’re all home. But, up until this day, we are still weak, some of us still have breathing problems, others still can’t eat and all of us suffered a ridiculous amount of pain, not knowing if we’d live to see another day.
Please take coronavirus seriously. Do not leave the house unless it is absolutely essential, and be sure to wear masks, gloves and constantly take the necessary precautions.
Further reading: Egypt’s Coronavirus Heroes Series: Pulmonologist Dr. Asma El-Nemr