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Since the start of the lockdown, I have been taking precautions to avoid contracting Covid-19. But that did not save me from waking up one morning fatigued and nursing a severe headache and body aches.

I attributed this to the sleepless nights that I had subjected myself to during my two weeks of chasing exam and assignment deadlines.

As the day advanced, I took painkillers to ease the pains and all I wanted was to stay in bed and sleep, hoping I would wake up feeling better. Unfortunately, my condition remained consistent until on the fourth day when it got worse.

I started getting chills, my chest was burning, I felt like my lungs were getting pierced, the pain was unbearable and I found it difficult to breath as I was experiencing shortness of breath every time I tried walking, or talking for long. I had to gasp for air and this was coupled with a cough. Eating brought agony as chewing ate up the limited amount of oxygen in my lungs. 

My wife, Amanda, prepared an old-time home remedy of uMhlonyane (Wormwood), lemon, ginger and honey mixed with hot water, which eased the chest pains. I repeated the course in addition to steaming in a basin of hot water mixed with uMhlonyane and lemon.

I spent my days repeating the process, drinking and steaming, sleeping and praying. On the 10th day, I woke up feeling better and stronger to go to the doctor, where I was examined and tested along with my family. Two days later, my results came back positive, while Amanda tested negative.

Although I no longer feel any of the symptoms, I am currently self-isolating at home. What helped me through the ordeal was my calm demeanour, breathing exercises and the home remedies.

I do not wish this experience even on my worst enemy. The episodes are unbearable. They would strip you of hope and strength. Nonetheless, it takes more than just consuming fluids to survive. You also need the right mental and physical strength to defeat the Coronavirus. Do not panic. It is your body, take control of it.

I am probably one of the few fortunate people with a strong immune system. Perhaps there are those who are not as strong enough, but I am certain that all it takes to conquer this virus is the willingness to survive to tell your story to millions of South Africans.

There are some among us who are taking this pandemic for granted, going about their lives, walking around with no masks, being whimsical and sharing conspiracies about the virus while ignoring the only safe guidelines that are meant to reduce the risk of Covid-19.

Kabelo Maseng

Maseng is based at Group Communication and Marketing