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Gov’t spokesperson Cyrus Oguna says he’s lucky to be alive, narrates near-death battle with COVID-19


Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna on Friday, September 18 took to twitter to narrate his near-death ordeal battling with COVID-19.

Oguna, who contracted the disease in early August, reflected on his time in the hospital saying that he is extremely lucky to be alive to share his story.

Although he was discharged a month ago, Oguna says he still experiences occasional episodes of breathlessness, lack of taste and smell. According to a doctor, these residual symptoms and the after-effect takes a while before everything comes to normal.

The former military man revealed that two weeks before hospitalisation, he experienced a minefield of symptoms which he was ignoring, attributing them to fatigue and the cold July weather. The symptoms included suppressed appetite, manageable low-grade fever, muscle aches on his thighs and back, burning sensation on either side of his lower ribs, and mild headaches.

“However, one morning while en-route to Mombasa, I noticed that I was sweating heavily, yet it was still quite early. I remember asking my colleagues in the vehicle whether they were feeling the same. None was. We rolled down the vehicle windows, which offered some relief. Increasingly, my body felt broken and craved for a rest. This trip to Mombasa would prove to be one of the longest trips ever to the coastal region, but even upon arrival, work had to be done. In the true military spirit, I soldiered on,” said Oguna.

Oguna added: In the space of almost one week at the coast, I visited Kilifi and Kwale Counties, before traveling back to Nairobi, only to leave again for Hola the very next day. I came back to Nairobi after three days, all this while, still nursing the symptoms. At this point, I consulted a doctor for normal checkup. All along, Covid-19 was not on my mind at all. Despite experiencing the symptoms, I was neither coughing nor sneezing, and I had recently tested negative for Covid-19 for the third time.

Here is Oguna’s full statement…

These outcomes gave me a false sense of security that I was Covid-19 free. At the hospital, the nurse checking my vitals looked disturbed, and asked whether I was experiencing any headache and fatigue. Yes; I responded.

My blood pressure was alarmingly high, and she wanted to know if I have a history of hypertension, which I do, but it hadn’t been too serious. She took a second reading just to be sure, but the outcome was no different.

The doctor considered in-patient management due to the pressure, but ordered for a Covid-19 test first. As a standard procedure on Covid-19, I was given some medication and allowed to go quarantine at home awaiting the test result.

Two days later, I was declared Covid-19 positive! Fortunately, my family members, tested later, were negative. However, my immediate concern was about tracing the other people I had come into close contact with.

Luckily, most of them were mainly in clusters, making contact tracing less complex. Information on how to trace them was provided to the relevant agency for contact tracing. I also did advise those that I could reach to be tested. All tested negative.

When I got hospitalised, I was confident that I would be locked in for only a few days, may be 10, and perhaps 14 at the very most. Such thinking was motivated by the fact that even as the admission was being processed, I did not need any support to move around.

I was generally okay. But I was wrong! The storm struck that very same night. I suddenly woke up in excruciating pain in my chest. Breathing was extremely difficult & any effort to do so felt like a bayonet was being driven through my chest. I was literally gasping for air.

I struggled to breathe until early the next day when the medics came in for routine checks. With great difficulty, I could only mumble to them something like ‘I can’t breathe’. An x-ray was quickly ordered. Getting to the x-ray unit only a few metres away was a nightmare.

Each step was agonizingly painful, gasping for air with every stride. The short distance to the x-ray and back was literally a walk to eternity. I was immediately put on heavy IV anti-biotics and supplemental oxygen. I would be on oxygen for the entire period of my hospitalisation; 28 days in total.

I was later informed that my lung function had been severely compromised due to acute Pneumonia, and that without oxygen, chances of survival would be remote.

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