I had lofty dreams of living a fulfilled live and having kids. My fiancée and i had fixed our traditional marriage for October, I was two months pregnant. My name is Justina Ejelonu and this is my story.
I was ecstatic when i secured a job at first consultant hospital in Lagos. On the day i was to resume officially, I was reluctant since i had started experiencing morning sickness. I finally got myself together and resumed on the 21st of July.
In an unfortunate twist of fate, my first patient was a Liberian senior diplomat named Patrick sawyer. A 40 year old man with complaints of fever, headache, extreme weakness and haemorrhagic symptoms. Patrick died on Friday the 25th of July, it took the joint collaboration of the state, federal and international agencies to confirm he died from the Ebola virus (zaire strain). Our hospital was temporarily shut down.
On the 25th of July, i updated my facebook wall and wrote "Friends, thank God for me o. i had a close contact with the first Ebola case in Nigeria..:.Long story cut short, God saved me dearly. join me in thanking God". The next day i posted this update on my facebook wall ""Friends,up to our uniforms and all linens were burnt off. We are on surveillance and off work till 11th.
Our samples have long been taken by WHO and so far we have been fine. For me, kudos to my hospital management because we work professionally with every patient considered risk because that's the training. Had it been its a hospital where they manage risky patients with ordinary gloves like Government hospitals and some Janjaweed private hospital..:lol....wahala for dey o. I must also thank Lagos Govt....infact! Even federal govt self....all have been supportive. I'm good and so are the others in the hospital....."
Dr Adadeveoh and Dr Ohiaeri jointly released a press statement thanking the hospital staff for our diligence and professionalism. What was to follow became a national nightmare!
The anxiety awaiting our test results was heart wrenching, Yes, i checked his vitals, helped him with his food (he was too weak)..i basically touched where his hands touched and that was the only contact. Not directly with his fluids. At a stage, he yanked off his infusion and we had blood everywhere on his bed.. but the ward maids took care of that and changed his linens with great precaution"
Days went by and i began to feel feverish, it persisted at a very high temperature. By the 14th of july, My test result was out. It was positive for Ebola. I was devastated and heartbroken. By then, i had started stooling and vomiting. All of a sudden, I started bleeding per vagina. I cried because i knew i may have lost the pregnancy.
Dennis my fiancée got a cab and we rushed to first consultant. We were refereed to IGH, yaba. In panic, i disembarked the taxi and laid on the floor for over 30 minutes begging for attention and screaming "I was dying", The bleeding had become profuse.
At the quarantine center, Even when the bleeding subsided, I waited in vain for the doctors to carry out an evacuation. They never came. They insisted that an evacuation was too risky as my viral load was high. I was left at the mercy of God to complications as a result of retained products of conception. If Ebola didnt kill me, sepsis surely would
The stooling and vomiting persisted, I was dehydrated and extremely weak. My abdomen was bloated and my legs swollen. The fever caused excessive diaphoresis and fluid loss. nobody dared touch me, i was left on top of my excretions in soiled and over soaked pampers on soiled beddings, We were quarantined at the mainland hospital yaba where there was no water hence we had not had our bath since the day before, I was hypoxic but no provision of oxygen was made. It seemed we were dumped there to die with little care and separated in two groups with one group in rooms called VIP while myself and some other victims were in the ward.
At some point I had messed myself up, Dennis put his life on the line and looked for water to clean me up, change my pampers and arrange my bedding. I was shivering. I knew the end was near, I didn't deserve to die in such an undignified manner.
On a Sunday morning, As i lay dying, I understood the reason and purpose for my life, my fears slipped away, I was at peace with my country Nigeria, I forgave sawyer, I didn't hold any grudge against my colleagues in the medical field who deserted me, I was finally at peace.
I felt God hold me in the hollow of his hands. I went to be with the Lord.
As a proud Nurse, I had paid the ultimate price in service to humanity and my country.
(this article by Jude Chiedu is a compilation and reconstruction of witness statement, interviews and phone calls culled from nursinworldnigeria.com)
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