It all started in January 2020, right after the cheer of Christmas and the new year. That cold winter day in January, my husband, a loving, decorous, and otherwise healthy husband left for work. The day was like other days. The only difference was that they announced in his office that day, that someone was sick and so everyone including my husband, had to take a COVID test. Two (2) days later, the result came out and my husband broke the unexpected news to me that he tested positive. I paused in shock for a moment. “But you are very healthy and there’s nothing wrong with you” I protested. “How can that be?” I asked incredulously. I assured myself that the hospital must have mixed up the results. I didn’t like the sound of this, but it wasn’t something we couldn’t handle. Maybe my husband was just asymptomatic.
In the days that would follow, my husband started showing flu-like symptoms. Since it was just like the flu, I began giving him juice from the native concoctions of ginger, lemon, garlic, and all sorts. Then, almost like the attack of an armed band, my husband’s health took a severe hit —He got weak, incessantly coughing, and had lots of hiccups interrupting his speech. He started talking like actors in the movies when on their deathbed.
About, two (2) weeks before my husband went for the COVID test; precisely on January 2nd, 2020, the Lord laid in my heart to go through the Bible in a year on YouTube. We call it Cover2Cover. During the study of the Bible character – Job, I had a vivid dream about an evil eye that set out to attack me so that what happened to Job—he lost his possessions—would happen to me. As a result, I planned to make Cover2Cover private but was dissuaded by my husband. “This is God’s work” he interjected, “It needs to go to the ends of the World”. About 2 days after this dream I woke up in the middle of the night to a dark foreboding that my husband was in danger. It was after this dream that his office requested the mandatory test.
I tried anything and everything. While hubby’s health plummeted, I administered my husband the native mixture, and I would have him confess that he would live and not die. I was praying, screaming, crying, pleading, begging—whatever it took. One day, I rolled on the floor, pleading, ‘’Lord, heal my husband! This is not the way to treat people that serve you’’. All day, my husband would sit on the couch, looking up to the roof, and shaking. All attempts to feed or give him water failed. He would stare at me but wouldn’t seem to see me. I was clueless, confused, disoriented, and terrified. One moment he seemed aware of his surroundings, and the next he wasn’t. It got to where his favourite Kirk Franklin songs were a mere nuisance to him. His favourite psalms were no help either. My man’s health spiralled downwards with each passing moment, and I was petrified. So, I did the only next thing.
I made a panic call to our family doctor. The doctor faxed the prescription directly to the pharmacist since I had been exposed and needed to isolate. After receiving the prescription, I hurriedly dispensed two (2) tablets of codeine to my husband as prescribed. My husband slept off immediately like a sleep-deprived child. ‘’ Ah! What a relief! I announced to myself. Finally, I get to rest’’. He slept deep and long. When my husband woke up, he wasn’t only drenched in a cold sweat, but he also woke up a total stranger.
Hubby started acting strange. Next, my husband began hallucinating. He was all shaky and jittery and would fling food off my hand in my attempt to feed him. My heart sank at his cold-eyed stares at me. It frightened me seeing my husband fidgeting, wildly looking around as if he was in a strange place, with incessant painful coughing. The next day, I repeated the same dosage, thinking that he will feel better with more pills. No, the illness did not subside. Things got worse, and I couldn’t think right.
How could I tell when it was the drugs or my husband speaking? One of those days, hubby dashed into the studio —where I host my morning ‘Cover2Cover’ bible study program— like someone who’ had lost his mind. He rushed in, screaming “Help me, help me!” oh how my heart was crushed at that sight. I abruptly ended the program to attend to my beloved husband. “Can I put my head on your lap?” He cried. When I saw how terrible my husband was looking, I announced to him that I was going to call 911 and they may take him to the hospital. “Please don’t let them take me. I want to be with you” He pleaded. I wasn’t sure if it was the drug or my husband speaking. One thing I knew though was that whatever we were drinking wasn’t working.
That Saturday night was the scariest. As his wife, I made the executive decision to flout all COVID rules. The rules advised that my husband must sleep in a separate room, not share the same space as me, must not maintain physical contact with him, and required me to pass his meals off to him. It was now obvious that the more I stayed apart from my husband the worse things got. Hence, that night, I packed back into our room. My husband was restless the entire night. No sleeping posture seemed comfortable. We eventually made it through the next morning, but hubby was very weak and unable to stand. I gave him a warm bath where he soaked up the warm water for about fifteen minutes. That was when I noticed he was coughing blood!
I immediately sent the picture of the blood to our family doctor ‘’I think the dosage isn’t good for my husband,’’ I complained. This was when the doctor revealed that he prescribed 1 – 2 tablets as needed and not the 2 tablets twice daily as received from the pharmacist. This meant he could take 1 tablet in a day or 1 in two days as required. So, I have been giving my husband the wrong dosage all along. I wondered. ‘’You have given him 4 already today?’’ the doctor interrupted my thought. ‘’Yes, because the prescription I received said two tablets twice daily,’’ I retorted. ‘’ Do not give him anymore’’. The doctor blurted. After the doctor received and saw his requested cough sample — filled with blood, he asked me to quickly call the ambulance.
When the blaring siren eventually stopped outside my house, I ambled up to the door to let them in. The ambulance team, a female and a male paramedic trotted into the house. ” It is not everybody we attend to because of COVID” The female paramedic announced to me. Next, she bent over to check my husband’s pulse and oxygen level. She observed that his oxygen level was 50 whereas a normal oxygen level is about 97 and above. She summoned her colleague to pass her the oxygen tank. “Do not move sir” She instructed while inserting the oxygen tank into my husband’s nose. They let the reading increase to about 57 before they quit monitoring. “If the oxygen doesn’t go around his body, his organs will start shutting down”. The female paramedic informed me, lifting her eyes to me. I watched, quivering.
They took my husband away from me. The paramedics now informed me they would drive my husband to the hospital, and I couldn’t come along since I had been exposed. “Can you please take him to Foothill’s hospital? ‘’ I implored. “No!” the lady paramedic replied curtly, “We will take him to the nearest hospital and Foothills is not the nearest hospital, we are taking him to Peter Lougheed”. My spirit was very much against the Peter Lougheed Hospital. That I would surrender my husband to total strangers unsettled me. “Will they take care of him properly?”. I already had my preconceived notions about this pandemic. Everything was so emotional for me. However, my husband was brave. He tried to look his best and managed to walk himself to the ambulance. I painfully watched as the paramedics whisked my husband off to the hospital.
The moment they left, I cried and cried. My heart was breaking. “I hope I’ll see my husband again” I pleaded with God, “O God! What did we do? Did it have to come to this?” This shattered my heart in pieces, and I felt all alone.I couldn’t hold myself, so I defied the paramedic’s stern warning to not call until after two hours. After about an hour, I rang my husband, but there was no answer. It was a Sunday morning and since I couldn’t leave the house, I had ample time to cry. I prayed and cried my eyes out. I was devastated and troubled, so I started making calls to close friends and family members. First, I called my mum and mother-in-law in Nigeria. My mother-in-law was as calm as the smoothest waters. I kept trying to reach my husband, but all my calls met dead silence. I felt panic setting in as I wondered what was going on at the hospital. “I needed to be there”.
In that frustration and sensations of overwhelm, I called a friend, Lola, in Nigeria. Not entirely sure why I did but hmm, Lola was divinely appointed for that time. she reminded me “You are a worship minister; this is the time to do your ministry”. “Ok, start singing” Lola persuaded. But there was no song in me. I was in the pit of despair, the darkest and deepest part of it’’ I muttered up a song. A lifeless song on my lips. There was no life or heart as I sang: “Glory be to God in the highest, Amen for His mercies endureth forever Amen” Lola yelled through the phone, “Are you sitting down? Stand up! dance! praise God. Louder! I’m not hearing you!” She kept stimulating me. Lola stayed with me on the phone, praying fervently with me for an hour.
As if in answer to our heartfelt prayers, my phone rang. It was my husband. He was still at the emergency, and the network was jammed so as not to interrupt the machine readings. He had been in the emergency and was upset that no one had attended to him. At about 3 pm, the doctor called to give me updates. By the time the doctor finished speaking with me, I found myself on the floor, trembling. The doctor goes “The CT scan shows that your husband’s lungs have been severely infected. This is a critical case, and it could go either way. When it gets to this extent, people usually die. The virus has really damaged his lungs.” He continued “His lungs are not getting enough oxygen, but we will do our best. We will put him on a life support ventilator and then in a coma, and make his lungs stop breathing. Now the ventilator has its own side effects.” The doctor added. “Some people do not take it well.” My head was spinning. I was like “he cannot die, he will not die. No, not this one.” “I will update you” the doctor finished.
Right after that, I called my pastor and his wife. ‘’ Help me O” I cried, “My husband’s oxygen level is 50”. My pastor’s wife, a medical doctor, screeched. The worst she’s ever seen was 68 or 70 and then the person was in a very critical state. However, my pastor reassured me saying “Don’t worry, don’t worry! Do you have communion? Do you have bread or wine?” He continued. My pastor now started making decrees. “We have a covenant with the Lord that we will not lose anyone to COVID”. “Amen” I declared frantically. I took the communion and felt some consolation.
Sunday evening, a nurse called to inform me that they were giving my husband oxygen. They put him in a special unit to monitor his blood oxygen, and if it elevated to a reasonable level, they would move him to a normal ward. Not after an hour, another doctor called to inform me that they had put my husband in a medically induced coma. “He is on the ventilator, now on life support, prone sleeping position” “Can I speak to him before you do all this?” I asked. The doctor said no as it was an emergency.” What is the assurance that he is going to come out?” I asked. We don’t know, the doctor said. “You don’t know, and you wouldn’t let me speak to him before inducing him? What if he doesn’t come out, and you couldn’t let me speak to him?” I exclaimed as tears flooded my eyes. That night, I woke up looking for my husband beside me. I thought this was all a bad dream. I groaned painfully as I thought of being a widow at such a young age. So, my husband is in a coma! Where will I get another husband? Will a new husband love me as my husband does? Will we be able to do music together? God, save me from this horrid challenge.
Disenchanted, I tried to work and keep my mind intact but then; I had a mental vision of my husband where he gave a loud wail. I instantly fell to the ground shouting: Jesus! Jesus! Over and over. It was like my heart was being ripped out. I called my mum, stressfully contemplating stopping my Cover-to-Cover program. My mom said if you stop then the devil has won. You must keep it on. Therefore, I kept up with the program but could not share publicly what I was going through. I would cry and worship on the program and people would think I was in the spirit, but I was in despair. “This is how God rewards me for wanting to do His will?” At that point, I battered with many thoughts in my head – Is God even real? Where was God when things got out of hand? How did he allow my husband to get into Coma? And now there’s no assurance that he will come out alive. No one knows anything. It was agonizingly alarming!
I started making plans of what I would do if my husband died: I wouldn’t pack anything, I would simply disappear; no one will see me again; neither my parents nor his family, no one! “Maybe this God isn’t even real, maybe these are mere stories. Why will this happen? Where are all God’s promises?”. I was angry with God. Even though I grew up in church and my parents are pastors, I had never felt so alone in my life. I had absolutely nothing to hold on to. Just anger. There was no rhema, no song, no revelation. I felt so much despair. Then I thought about many people who had left the faith. This Christian thing does not work because I prayed many times. And it felt like the more I prayed the worse the sickness got. My 18 Days Mental Battle Continues Here