COVID19 tales at Mulago hospital through the eyes of a bystander

Sunday June 06 2021
covid 19 patients s

Admitted hospital patients in a ward /FILE PHOTO

By Racheal Asiimwe

I went to Mulago Hopsital the other day to test for Covid19. I had been feeling sickly. To be specific, I had cough, chest pain, body aches and my sense of smell and taste were off.
I thought I would find many people and have to stand for long hours under the scorching sun before my turn came, but it wasn’t the case. I found just a bunch of people and within an hour I was in the doctor’s room ready to know my status. The doctor that was carrying out the tests had quite a weird welcome and generally strange attitude. For starters, the girl who was ahead of me in the queue was slapped for attempting to touch her in the process of the test. If you have tested before, you know how that bud-like strip they put in the nose is irritating. The girl therefore tried to touch the doctor, and in the process was slapped. I want to think there could have been a better way of letting her know that was not right. I guess they (doctors) are also protecting themselves from the virus. Even then, that was just not how to go about it!
Some of you will say, I should have taken a video of the whole thing. I did not. My phone was down on battery. 
That story aside, when I was done with the test I was told to wait for 30 minutes to receive my results. During the wait I saw many things... 
I saw streams of ambulances bringing in Covid19 patients. It was scary to watch. All these patients were in critical condition, and on oxygen. 
A lady, light skinned and chubby who seemed to be in her early 50s was carried in on a bed. There were about 10 men on either side of her bed and at the front. Those at the front were carrying the oxygen tank. Some on the side were moving the bed and the rest using cut-out cardboard paper to fan her. 
“Please help me, I’m dying,” she cried.
I saw a man who looked really sick. He was thin, you could see his ribs poking through his skin and shirt if you cared to look closely. His lips were dry and peeled. He had a cannula on his hand. He had been told to contact an ambulance to rush him to Namboole but he couldn’t find any. He talked to a doctor who asked him to give the ambulance driver Shs30,000 for a quick job. But he did not have the money, so he was told to grab a seat and he was put on oxygen right there. 
I saw a “troop” of army soldiers bring a man in, perhaps a relative to someone in the army. He could hardly breathe. I could only tell he was breathing when I saw his chest and stomach rise and fall. He must have been fighting for his life all the way to the hospital. He was also put on oxygen.

 I saw a group of people fighting for an oxygen tank. I could not really tell what was happening and why the chaos was going on, but I heard one of the doctors say that the oxygen tanks were not enough for every patient.  
I heard an EMS doctor/driver while I passed one of the ambulance vehicles say some disturbing things. He said there was three people that had died but their bodies were still in one of the wards because they couldn’t be identified. I also heard him say the wards were full to capacity with Covid19 patients and I believed what I heard. You know why? No you don’t, you were not there. I was. It was because all those critical patients brought in had been worked on, on a hospital veranda. There was no room for them inside the hospital. One of the doctors said that all patients from Entebbe were being referred to Mulago and yet Mulago is also full to capacity. 
That was not all. I saw a woman cry after losing a loved one to Covid19. She cried so loud, her eyes were popping out from their sockets and they were blood red. She must have been crying for long. Losing a loved one is never easy. 
I saw people who had tested positive for Covid19 but couldn’t access any doctor for medication prescriptions. Some had waited for long hours and given up. All the doctors were busy working on critical patients. 
That was quite a lot to see in just 30 minutes. I was later called in and handed my results. As I write this, I’m at home in isolation swallowing tablets and a mixture of concoctions, lemon, ginger and garlic.  
I tested positive for Covid19. 
So don’t be a covidiot! Wear your mask at all times to protect yourself, loved ones and people around you against Covid19. Also, follow all other Covid19 SOPs. It’s paramount. This concoction is not easy to take and the tablets are very many.
I don’t want you to be in my shoes right now or worse, in the shoes of the patients I saw being brought in.
I repeat, don’t be a covidiot.
Till Next Time
Yours Truly, Racheal