Saturday July 18: JK comes back home after spending almost a week in Abuja. He complains of a headache. I ask him if he feels feverish and he says no, I touch his neck and it seems okay. He always falls asleep before me since I sleep rather late. I kept checking his forehead throughout the night.
Sunday July 19th: In the morning, I asked JK how he felt. He shrugged and said ‘so, so’. I pressed for details. ‘Does your head still hurt?’ I wanted to know. He admitted that it did a little. I asked him if he was sure he hadn’t caught something nasty in Abuja and he laughed and asked me if I was scared. He called our Doctor, Dr Kunle Adeoti, who said he would bring a team round in the morning to do a COVID19 test. Around 7pm, JK came to ask me for painkillers, so I gave him Tylenol. I checked his temperature again through the night. It was normal, but I was starting to worry. I kept listening to see if there were changes in his breathing till I fell asleep.
Monday July 20th: Dr Kunle Adeoti came around to take swabs from both of us for a COVID19 test. That would be our third test. I did the first one in March because I had just returned from the US and UK. I took another one in June after five people tested positive in Government House, including two members of my convoy. That night, I told JK I would sleep in my dressing room. He said, ‘Is that how it is? You are abandoning me?’ I laughed and reminded him about how he had called me ‘Madam Coro’ in March when I was in self-isolation after my trip. I told him he would be okay and I would be back once our test results were out.
Tuesday July 21st: Around 7pm, I was in my dressing room when JK came in to say Dr Adeoti wanted to see us. I followed him into our main living room. Dr Adeoti broke the news to us. JK’s test had come back positive. I felt a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach, but I managed to comport myself. We discussed the treatment plan and what the medical team would need. Fortunately, Dr Adeoti is a very experienced Doctor with expertise in the management of infectious diseases. We had a conversation about how the Communications Team should manage the information because we did not want people to panic. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or as a result of the news, but within three hours, JK’s temperature had risen, as well as his blood pressure, and his headache was bad too. My own test results were not out yet. I could not close my eyes, I stayed awake till 6am, checking on him at intervals.
Wednesday July 22nd: There is a family lounge that separates my dressing room from our main bedroom. When I woke up around 8.30am and opened the door to go and check on him, I saw equipment outside of the bedroom door. There was a ventilator, an oxygen tank, a monitor and so on. I almost collapsed. I rushed into the bedroom and Dr Adeoti was there with JK. I asked what the equipment was doing outside and I was told that everything was okay, it was there in case it was needed. Both of them had a good laugh at my expense. I had a Webinar that morning from 9.30am till 12.30pm, it was hard to concentrate but I tried. By this time, the news was out, JK had tweeted it early in the morning. My phone rang non-stop and there were so many messages from concerned family and friends. Our Doctor brother in Atlanta, Gboyega Adesokan also joined JK’s medical team from a distance. I stayed up all night and did not go to bed till 7.30am after JK had woken up.
Thursday July 23rd: JK’s headache is a bit better, not as bad as before. His temperature is normal, his oxygen levels are normal, but his blood pressure is still a bit high. The coffee table in our bedroom looks like a mini-pharmacy. Supplies of Blackseed Oil, Madagascar Combo, Zinc, and other things that could help started pouring in from friends. Some Chinese friends sent samples of the medication that had been used in China to fight the disease. His Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife sent an emissary with an herbal brew he had put together to fight COVID19. I am immensely grateful to everyone. Today was not good. At least nine of our aides and staff test positive. It is a combination of the ‘Abuja Connection’ and ‘Ekiti Connection’. The Abuja guys brought it back with their Oga. The ‘home guys’ probably got it from one of them who had been ill two weeks before but tested negative and later turned out to be positive. Or the Ekiti people gave it to everyone, no one knows or cares with this illness.
Friday July 24th: Dr Nifemi Oloniniyi arrives from Lagos to support Dr Adeoti. She is a young Doctor who has been at the frontlines of the COVID19 response in Lagos State, and is a Covid19 survivor herself. She is also from Ekiti State. She has experience of managing middle-aged to older Covid19 patients such as JK, whose symptoms could change without warning. My own result came back negative.
Saturday July 25th: JK is stable, no more headaches, oxygen levels fine, blood pressure down, blood sugar normal. I sent a message of support to our guys at the Isolation Center. Their spirits are up, none of them has any serious challenges, and they inform me that they are now housemates of ‘Big Brother Ekiti’ house! JK was feeling bored, so I encouraged him to watch something on Netflix. I put on Designated Survivor for him because I knew it would interest him, and he seemed to enjoy watching it over the next few days.
Sunday July 26th: The Doctors take a sample from JK for another COVID test. He starts taking daily walks around the building, escorted by Dr Adeoti. One of my young Doctor friends tells me she is convinced I have antibodies to COVID, and that I have probably had the disease and recovered without knowing. I could understand why she would think that, considering the number of people around me who have got it, not to mention my own Oga. I too don’t know how come I do not have it yet. I told her I don’t think I have antibodies, I have just been lucky. I had a nasty cold and cough in February, but I knew exactly when I got it and why. I caught the cold at a funeral. I was at the graveside of Mama Jolaade Osho, the old woman who had been abandoned by her family who I adopted as a mother last year. There was a lot of jostling at the graveside and I inhaled quite a bit of dust. By that evening I had a sore throat. I coughed for over two weeks and was almost breathless at a point. I eventually got better and have been fine since.
Tuesday 28th: The results come back still positive, but his viral load is low. I am disappointed but not too much. My sister Bunmi sent me a video of a strange Pastor delivering a ‘message’ to the Governors of Lagos, Ogun and Ekiti States. According to him, God is going to be angry with them for keeping churches closed. If they don’t open the churches soon, various calamities will befall them. He proceeded to list said misfortunes, starting from Lagos and by the time he got to Ekiti, the list had grown exponentially. The video was accompanied by a message from my sister telling me she was worried. I sent the following message back to her, ‘Are you serious? It seems you are not busy. I lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. He shall not suffer thy foot to be moved. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep…………………’
Friday 31st: The Doctors take another sample from JK around 9am. At 8.54 pm, JK forwarded a WhatsApp message to me, ‘Good evening YE. Your result from Ado lab just got posted now sir and it is Negative……….’ I dashed into the bedroom, jumping up and down in excitement. Then I burst into tears. Dr Adeoti and Dr Nifemi also rushed in with the news. Dr Adeoti started telling me about the results when Dr Nifemi said to him, ‘She already knows, that is why she is crying’.
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever (Psalm 86:12)
Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com