By Kate Halim

When Jacqueline Ifeyinwa Ibeh disappeared on Facebook for a while, some of her friends on the blue app thought the active Facebook user was on some social media detox.

But what they didn’t know was that the mother of two was fighting for her life after contracting the COVID-19 Delta Variant. She told Saturday Sun that her major thought and fear while getting treatment was not seeing her kids anymore and her aged father losing another child. 

Ibeh is a chef, a businesswoman, a lover of life and a go getter. But COVID-19 Delta Variant showed her the other side of life. She said it was a horrifying period in her life as the virus brought her down to her knees. 

Thanking her stars for surviving such a life-threatening ordeal, Ibeh, whose nickname is Tiger said she doesn’t wish her enemy what she went through with COVID-19. She added that even the devil deserves a fair hearing just in case his punishment is COVID-19. 

“I had already given up and made peace. My worry was that I wouldn’t see my babies again and Mr Ibeh would bury another child. But Tiger fought. I fought real hard. I never knew I had such strength,” she added. 

Ibeh revealed that initially, she was treating malaria only for her to start burning up. Then she started having bloodshot eyes, blocked nose and she was gasping for breath. She said it was like her chest was being screwed tight and she could hardly breathe. It is better imagined than experienced, she said. 

Ibeh said that her first reaction after she was told her COVID-19 test result came back positive was overwhelming. She had goose bumps all over her because she didn’t know what was ahead, she confessed. 

Speaking about her treatment, Ibeh said it was hellish and tiring, to say the least.

Hear her: “My body was so weak. I felt like I was run over by a truck with stones. I couldn’t talk for days. I called my friend but I couldn’t say a word. My mouth was open but words wouldn’t come out,” she added. 

She revealed that when the treatment started, it was fight to finish because the drugs dragged her entire body in different ways and it was as if they were telling her not to move.

Ibeh noted that there were no words to describe the weakness, the helplessness and the sheer worthlessness that her body went through at that time. She suffered fever and headache, all day all night, she noted. Then came the hallucinations and mild memory loss, Ibeh added. 

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Said she: “I would  forget minor things. COVID-19 makes you a compulsory foodie and you must take plenty fluids. I’ve never had this so much sugar in my life at once. Then your urine is hot. You will experience hot piss in real life when you are suffering from COVID-19.”

Ibeh stated that there are no fast or hard rules to the recovery process when you are down with the Delta Variant of COVID-19. In her words, your body must go through all that pain and you just have to make sure you take enough fluids so you don’t pass out due to exhaustion.

Further narrating her experience, Ibeh added: “Forget your taste buds; they don’t exist. Then your muscles feel like they are being knitted to make sweaters. The excruciating pains from your lower back to your calves are better imagined.”

Ibeh told Saturday Sun that her oxygen saturation was the most important thing for her at that point, noting that she was lucky it didn’t disappoint. Talking was really hard and talking was the hardest part of dealing with her illness, she recalled. She added that no matter how strong you are, COVID-19 Delta Variant will humble you. 

Talking about how long it took for her to recover, Ibeh said even though her test came out negative after the treatment, she is still recovering, mentally and socially. It’s an on-going process for her, she informed. 

One of the side effects of the treatment Ibeh received include two different patches of face colour. Her doctor says it’s strange but hopefully her face will come back to normal.

Grateful for a second chance at life, Ibeh revealed that she spent a lot of money on treatment. She is grateful for family and friends that supported her when they found out she had COVID-19. 

Ibeh has a piece of advice for Nigerians who still believe that the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria is a scam that does not exist. She said: “Prevention is better and cheaper than cure.”

Recalling what happened after she was discharged from the hospital with a negative COVID-19 result, Ibeh said she lay in her bed and cried like a baby. It was a cry of gratitude and being given another chance at life, she noted. 

Ibeh, who sees life in a different light now, said she is grateful that she has another chance to live and watch her kids win in life. Their thoughts filled her head when she was battling to breathe at the hospital, she recalled. 

The mother of two said she is also grateful for her supportive doctors who took care of her morning and night. She told the reporter that she can now confidently tell her children that she’s not going anywhere since she survived COVID-19. 

Even though she’s still recovering, Ibeh revealed that she is optimistic about living a better life as a survivor because a tiger (in this case, COVID-19) doesn’t eat another tiger!