I Spent 40 Days In Isolation Even Though I Wasn’t Sick

March 3, 2021

As told to Mariam

Early last month, I saw a tweet on my timeline — Bimbo* had spent a long time in quarantine even though she didn’t have the virus. I have had the virus before so I was curious about her story. I messaged her and our conversation led to this article. 


This year started in the wildest way. I work as a wireline field engineer in Port Harcourt. This means I get to travel a lot. My plan for the year was building my competency so I can be promoted at the office. I was scheduled for jobs that would enable me to reach my goal and I was looking forward to learning more about my job. Before we travel, we have routine checks that include running a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test — performed to detect the presence of a virus. That was how I tested positive for coronavirus on the 3rd of January even though I wasn’t showing any symptoms.

I was shocked because I took COVID-19 precautions seriously. I always wear my masks. In the office, I wear it even when I am alone. Some of my colleagues joke that they have never seen my face without a mask since the pandemic started. I have a small bottle of hand sanitiser. I refill it very often. On public transport, I pay for two seats so nobody is in my space. I was interacting with everyone from at least 1m away. I was also sad that I had to stay back while my colleagues went on the job. 

I was immediately moved to an isolation centre, which was the annexe of a hotel in Port Harcourt. Since I was unable to go to work and I wasn’t feeling sick, it was easy for me to get bored. At first, it wasn’t so bad. My office paid me an inconvenience allowance so I was a bit comfortable. I tried to get into a routine. I worked out in the mornings. I took virtual courses. I read my bible. I wrote competency exams for work. I also finished all of my work deliverables. That productivity level fizzled out fast. I started watching cartoons — I finished my favourite cartoons on Netflix while I was there. I watched a lot of shit on Youtube. I had a lot of information in my head so I started making videos of my opinions on different topics. I moved to games at some point and then I just started sleeping a lot. 

It was like a holiday I did not need. Most of my work is done on the field so I couldn’t do a lot from the isolation centre. I was looking forward to leaving the facility and going back to work but on the 10th day, my second test came back positive. Wahala! At this point, there was nothing particularly interesting to do so I would find myself just staring out the window. It’s interesting how much you can notice when you look long enough every day. I also started taking drugs even though I still had no symptoms. My mum contacted her friend who was a nurse and she prescribed hydroxychloroquine, zinc and vitamin C. I had read somewhere that hydroxychloroquine doesn’t cure COVID-19 but I was desperate. My parents also sent me green tea, honey and ginger.

After another 10 days, I took another test and it came back positive again. This time, I asked to go home since I had no symptoms, there was no point staying there. By this time, I had spent 23 days in that centre. I live with my parents so when I moved back home, my mum would boil ginger, garlic, honey, onions and lime and I would inhale the steam. It was recommended by my dad’s cousin who is a doctor in America. I believed he knew what he was doing plus we were all worried. We did this for about seven days before I took another test. 

Guess what? It was positive again. This was my third positive covid test after about a month of first getting diagnosed with it. My dad was quite suspicious because we had been following the instructions given to us by my dad’s cousin – the doctor, my mum’s friend – the nurse and the internet religiously.  Also, I still wasn’t showing any symptoms whatsoever and neither of my parents was sick. So I decided to take another test at the government testing centre in Port Harcourt. It was negative and both tests were just a day apart. I sent the negative result to my office and they were sceptical about it because that’s where we had all been getting tested. In a bid to investigate further, I decided to visit a different private centre and take another test. Let’s call it Centre B. Centre A is where I had been getting positive results. Centre B’s result came back negative as expected. In all of this, I was annoyed that I was spending a lot of money and I wasn’t even sick! I spent 30k to print out my government result and the private tests cost me 50k. Luckily, my dad paid for them.

When I went back to Centre A with both negative results — from the government and Centre B, they had an explanation, something about antibodies but I believe that they were lying. I couldn’t chase the case any further because of how grave it would be to accuse a whole health centre of doctoring coronavirus results and I was the only one who had done an external test so far so I let it go. Moreover, I was relieved to not have COVID-19 after 40 days of isolation. Looking back, I feel like I could have utilized my free time better but I have no regrets. My goals are calling me and I have to answer. I may have lost some time but you never know what’s going to come out of that. What’s mine will always find me. 

For more women-centred content, click here

Mariam Sule

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

June 24, 2020

Nigerian men keep claiming they don’t understand Nigerian women, well we have put together a list to supply you enough comprehension now. This is the list of things that will definitely trigger your Nigerian girlfriend so if you’re gunning to get her annoyed, you can try them. 1. One word replies. When you are definitely […]

April 6, 2020

One more 5G network conspiracy theory and I will be sick. Do you know what kills faster than fear? Wrong information. There is a fraudulent message being passed around on Whatsapp that 5G network causes Coronavirus and that’s just tragic. The message is spreading faster than it takes for souvenirs to finish at a Yoruba […]

March 5, 2019

‘The first Nigerian woman to … ‘ is a phrase we’ll never tire of hearing. And we still expect to hear for years to come, as women continue to smash glasses and break through gender barriers. With International Women’s Day comes around the corner, here’s to the Nigerian women who blazed and continue to blaze […]

June 19, 2020

Periods are like unwanted visitors that we actually want. If you see it, wahala, if you don’t see it double wahala (at least for us single folks). Every woman is a love/hate relationship with her period. Here are 10 dilemmas every Nigerian woman faces during her period; 1. When you can’t find it.  Small play […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Rich Nigerian Auntie
June 23, 2021

A rich Nigerian auntie doesn’t refer to those aunties from your father’s side that do nothing but comment on your weight and ask you when you’d be getting married. The rich Nigerian auntie is an aesthetic bigger than one person — and here’s how to be sure you are one… 1. You have the dress […]

June 23, 2021

They say, “money is not everything” but have you seen credit alerts? Particularly these 5 Types listed below? 1. Alert from someone who said “send your account number” ages ago This is how wide you’ll smile. May such people not sleep until they’ve credited you oh. 2. Salary alerts Especially when your salary has finished […]

June 23, 2021

Music they say gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. Music is healing, it is an explosive expression of humanity, something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music and that is why we are particularly excited about this […]

June 23, 2021

The morning after having sex should be the most romantic, regardless of the relationship you have with the woman you just had sex with. You have to be grateful for her act of service. How you greet her the morning after is the easiest way to show your gratitude. Here’s a list of ways to […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 30, 2019

With No Nut November FINALLY coming to an end, we’ve decided to mark the torturous month with some more horny content. After quizzes that guessed how many people you’ve slept with, how good you are in bed and who you’ll sleep with next, this one will guess when next you’ll get lucky. Take it to […]

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

February 26, 2020

Are you all set for marriage, or are you still figuring it out? Well, if you’re curious to know the answer, then this is the quiz for you. All you have to do is create your own ideal Nollywood wedding film, and we’ll tell you if you’re ready to say “I do”. Go ahead:

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

More from Her

Rich Nigerian Auntie
June 23, 2021

A rich Nigerian auntie doesn’t refer to those aunties from your father’s side that do nothing but comment on your weight and ask you when you’d be getting married. The rich Nigerian auntie is an aesthetic bigger than one person — and here’s how to be sure you are one… 1. You have the dress […]

Black woman worried and anxious standing
June 22, 2021

Living with an anxiety disorder can be frustrating especially when in the company of those who do not understand it. In this article, ten Nigerian women living with anxiety talk about how it affects their relationships.  Bimbo, 25 I’m always scared that something bad has happened to my partner, so daily calls are a must […]

June 21, 2021

People are always asking what can actually fit into women’s mini bags. Since you wanted to know so bad, here are six things that can fit in those mini bags. 1) Patience All the patience a Nigerian woman has can fit into one of those tiny bags. The bags get smaller if the women are […]

Black woman lying down on a red chair in tears about leaving her ex
June 18, 2021

Sometimes we get overwhelmed and make decisions we later regret. In this article, seven Nigerian women talk about why they regret leaving their ex.  Tomisin, 25 My ex used to send me not less than 50k every month.  He moved abroad and after two months, he told me he has fallen in love with someone […]

Black women living with acne
June 16, 2021

Dealing with acne is never easy. From random people recommending products to you to the self-esteem dip, everyone has their story. In this article, seven Nigerian women talk about living with acne.  Khloe, 22  I was 14 the first time I noticed acne on my face. It was my first year in university. I didn’t […]

June 16, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is a 25-year-old Nigerian woman who has travelled to over fifteen countries alone. She talks about how this love for travelling started, the way she’s stigmatised at airports and in hotels, and her dream to attend aviation school. What was growing up like? Life was good until […]

menstrual cups
June 15, 2021

As inflation happens and prices of products across the country increase, more Nigerian women are moving away from pads to more sustainable sanitary products. In this article, five Nigerian women talk about their experience using menstrual cups.  Elizabeth, 19 Sanitary pads never did it for me. Getting good sanitary pads was a real struggle for […]

June 11, 2021

How we start our day usually has a paramount effect on how the rest of our day goes. When you love a woman or want to move to a woman you like, it is important you send her beautiful messages to put her in the right mood. Here’s a list of helpful ways on how […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X