The persons with underlying health conditions along with the elderly are said to be the most at-risk and normally have serious complications which will increase their chances of dying from COVID-19, Lydia Simpson-Ugwuegbu is living proof that persons can survive even when they are vulnerable, it is not a death sentence.
A 40-year-old Jamaican, who went to live in the United States in 2013, now works as a patient care technician in a Brooklyn hospital in, New York. She is the mother of a seven-month-old daughter and she uses insulin for diabetes, she has sickle cell anemia and hypertension.
Seven days after her diagnosis she was declared symptom free even though her test was positive for COVID-19.
Simpson-Ugwuegbu wanted people to know that even if they have pre-existing conditions and they are otherwise vulnerable, they must stay at home and take the needed steps to protect themselves as all covid-19 patients have different outcomes.
She said it eases the stress on hospitals also, as she saw her unit being overrun with COVID-19 patients every day. She wanted persons to know that while some patients are dying, most persons recovers well.
A very good friend of hers from Jamaica and a cousin of hers recovery was relatively quick.
She explained that “A very strong belief in God and family support got me through this.”
Simpson-Ugwuegbu knew something was wrong when she was vomiting and had diarrhea; she was not feeling well, and she struggled for the whole day. She had the baby in her hand and she was just trying to be strong for her.
She lost her sense of taste, that was the first sign that something was not right. Some people have also reported a loss of smell before being diagnosed with COVID-19 as well.
“When I got to work there was a pain in my chest and I told them ‘I’m not feeling good’. That’s all I could tell them and I kept calling Jesus. I said ‘God, I’m looking to you, whatever this is’,” Simpson-Ugwuegbu revealed. She also realized that her breathing became laboured and soon she started feeling weak.
She said that throughout Monday night, she drank warm fluids which made her feel a little better though she still had difficulty with breathing and she hallucinated at times.
The technician also said “It’s like I’m seeing death before my eyes. When you have laboured breathing that’s when you know a patient is going to die.”
She went to the emergency room on Tuesday morning because she had developed a cough. She was examined and then told that her lungs were inflamed, which is normal for a COVID-19 patient.
However, when they sent her to do an x-ray, her lungs were okay and she thanked Jesus and thought that’s some good news she needed to hear. She also shared that after completing some blood work, it was proven that she was badly dehydrated.
In addition to resting, she took vitamin C and she blended ginger with turmeric and orange peel and drank that. She thinks Zinc is also good as well.
Simpson-Ugwuegbu said she took Tylenol for the pain and drank the mixture for seven days. She insisted that the mixture helped with her breathing. Apart from her firm belief in God, Simpson-Ugwuegbu said being at home with her family around her helped her to have a speedy recovery. She said having a lot of warm beverages and room temperature water helped also.
She now recommends that persons should stay home. Being at home helped as persons who are in the hospital are isolated and unable to see their families. She believes that stresses the mind as you don’t have your loved ones around you.
“I’m telling people who have pre-existing conditions that you have to know your body and recognize when something is going on,” said Simpson-Ugwuegbu.
She also recommends getting a lot of rest. The Brooklyn resident had the support of her mother who was very supportive and, her husband who has also recovered from COVID-19.
She pointed out that difficulty sets in for patients who develop pneumonia and who need to be ventilated, but she has seen even a 78-year-old patient recover.
Even though sadly, Simpson-Ugwuegbu said that she lost a male cousin and a good friend from Jamaica to COVID-19. She also feels sad about the toll the disease is taking on New York now.