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A blind woman’s desperate battle with COVID-19


KASSANDRA Smith of Coleyville, Manchester, is a blind woman who felt the sting of the novel coronavirus and vows, “I would never wish it on my worst enemy.” It’s a thought frequently expressed by people who have had one of those excruciating encounters with COVID-19.

Like the typical COVID victim, Kassandra speculates about how she contracted the virus, suggesting it was while waiting at a police station to get a ride to her home. Her account of her bout with the virus, which has killed three million people worldwide, raises the issue of how disabled people are protected from this marauding disease.

Kassandra shares her story with COVID CAPERS:

On January 31, this year, I left Kingston on my way home to Ticky Ticky district, Coleyville, Manchester. I had to wait at a police station for four hours in order to get a ride to my district. A number of people were passing close by me going to and from the police station.

I had my mask on but because I am blind, I didn’t know if other persons had theirs on or not. However, I did hear an individual asking persons “where is your mask?”. By the following Monday, I began to have headaches and chills. I thought my blood sugar was low.

As the days went by, I developed more symptoms – fatigue, weakness, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and smell, mucus running from the left eye, sore throat and cough. When I coughed, it felt like my chest would rip out.

I was alone and had a very hard time, however, I kept drinking ginger, turmeric, garlic tea and lots of water. I took sponge baths with eucalyptus oil and rubbed myself with winter green alcohol.

By day seven I got worse. I had to be taken to the hospital where I tested positive for the novel coronavirus. There was a lack of bed space so I was sent home to take zinc, Panadol and cough medicine. This I did and continued to drink turmeric, garlic, ginger tea, lots of water and also soup.

By day 12, I slowly began to feel better. With help from my uncle and prayers from friends, I now am recovered. When my uncle visited me, he wore his mask and left the food on the table. Family members and friends also called to check up on me.

This is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Throughout the whole ordeal, I didn’t panic, but I prayed, remained positive and trusted in God.

Feedback

We thank Kassandra for her courage in sharing her experience with readers, especially those still in the grip of this frightening disease. Thanks also to the many people who responded to the first instalment of the COVID CAPERS feature published last Friday. Here are a few of the responses:

Tenone: Thanks for this, Desmond. I am happy you recovered without any complications. We need more reassuring stories like this to encourage more people to go out and be vaccinated.

Claudette Cameron, Toronto: Love the article you wrote about your journey with COVID. Nothing like hearing the personal experience. But I didn’t realise it was such a rough experience. Glad you pulled through on the good side. You’ll be happy to know that after reading your article, I got over my fears and took my first dose of the vaccine. Thank you.

James Goodman: I’m trying to build up the courage to share my experience with COVID-19, which was a terrible episode. When I do I will write to you. Your column is a great idea and many people will be encouraged, as I was, in their battle with the virus.

Sharon-Ann Dixon: To be honest I was worried about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, but after reading your story in the Jamaica Observer which says ’10 days of high fever: What a vicious virus!’, I decided I’m going to take the vaccine. Some of my friends say they are not going to take it but Mr Allen, I would not want to get that virus.

Harold Gracie: I barely escaped the corona when three persons in my household caught it. I had to leave my home for three weeks while they were in quarantine. But I kept in touch by Face Time and saw to it that they got food and other necessary supplies. You are so right. What a vicious virus!

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