Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, founder of Stand To End Rape (STER), a youth-led movement advancing gender equality and an end to sexual and gender-based violence through advocacy, prevention and support, shared her story of how she survived the coronavirus on her Twitter on Monday, March 30, 2020.
“Life finds ways of throwing lemon at me. I’ve struggled with coming forward, but I want to inspire hope,” Osowobi started off her long Twitter thread.
According to her, it all started on Monday, March 9 when she attended the 2020 Commonwealth Day service in London where she was a flag bearer.
After just returning from her trip to the UK, Osowobi said she started feeling ill and decided to self-isolate until she can confirm what was wrong.
“Before returning, I had planned several interviews, I was scheduled to start a fantastic consultancy job and was also expecting to sign a contract worth millions. I lost them all! ,” she said.
After several attempts, she managed to get a test but needed to be patient for the result.
“No info on my test result. At 12 am, an ambulance was at my house. I woke from sleep and was crying. I got to the isolation centre, but no one was there to receive me. I waited in the ambulance for two hours,” she said.
“The nurses eventually came out and treated me like a plague. I sat in the ambulance feeling rejected.
“No questions about how I felt. So many questions about my travel history. Same information I had provided to NCDC and Lagos State Government during profiling.
“After two hours, I was taken to my space. I felt lonely, bored & disconnected from the outside world.”
She went on to narrate her stay at the isolation centre with several other people who were infected with the disease.
“Few days after, another patient came in. We bonded. Days later, patients trooped in,” she said.
“‘Are people observing self-isolation and social distancing?’ I was so scared for Nigeria.
“The next days were tough. No appetite. The nausea, vomit and stooling was unbearable. I’m a blood type A and COVID19 dealt with me.”
'I thought I was going to die'
Osowobi said she was so sick she thought she was going to die.
“I thought I was going to die and contemplated a succession plan for Stand to End Rape,” she said.
“I was on drugs daily. Sometimes, I‘d take eight tablets in the morning, 13 tablets in the afternoon, 10 at night. My system threw everything out!
“Water, food, soap and all disgusted me. But I’d look at the wall & force myself to stay hydrated — drank. I fought to live! I fought.”
Fortunately for her, some days later, she tested negative for the disease although she wasn’t released immediately.
“Days after, the Doctors shared good news that I tested negative. I shared this news with family and friends!” she also wrote.
“My blood sample was taken and I also tried to donate my plasmapheresis to help others. I hoped to be discharged.
“I waited to be discharged, but for two days, nothing happened.
“I was unsure of what was going on. Why haven’t I been discharged? Should I be in the same ward? Could I get reinfected? I was worried but remained calm.”
Three days after she tested negative, doctors told her that she needed to remain at the isolation centre for some days again before they could confirm her result.
“On the third day, doctors said, ‘well, we worked with the info we had of you testing negative, but one result came back positive. You’ll stay a few more days. You know we take nose, mouth & sputum samples’,” she said.
“I continued the medication and asked to be in a separate ward. Sadly, I remained in the same ward as all the other rooms were full.
“My ward had people who were positive. ‘What if I get re-infected?
“For them, I was a beacon of hope and they needed me gone to register the progress. My family and friends were becoming anxious. People in my ward who earlier celebrated the news of my result suddenly lost hope.”
After a few days, she tested negative to the disease again and was discharged.
“Today, I am proud to inform you that I murdered COVID-19 and have tested negative twice and I have been discharged,” she announced.
She went on to thank the nurses at the isolation centre, Governor of Lagos Babajide Sanwo-Olu and her friends.
“To every young person out there, please give your lungs a chance to beat this. Can I encourage you to stop smoking & live a healthy life at this time? A healthy lung is key,” she concluded.
According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigeria has nine people who have recovered from coronavirus which Osowobi is among them.
A graduate of Development Studies from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Osowobi who also holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations with specialization in Gender Studies from Swansea University, United Kingdom is a known advocate for women.
In 2019, she made Time Magazine’s Time 100 Next, a list of the ‘rising stars and up-and-comers who are shaping their industries — and the future’.
She has also been honoured as an Obama Foundation emerging leader.