Journalist who caught coronavirus twice 'thought it was the end'

A chronic asthma patient who was told that his symptoms were likely to be severe from contracting Covid-19 told how he feared for his life after contracting the virus twice.

Maynard Manyowa stayed inside for months, trying his best not to get infected.

Still it is YorkshireLive Journalist has had intermittent and severe health problems in the past – and so despite preparing for the worst, he remained confident that he would get through.

“I didn’t know that I was going to be driven to an inch of my life and to a place where I had nothing left,” Maynard said.

“On December 18, 2020, after almost two years in the UK as an international student, I flew back home to Zimbabwe. I was excited to see my family, my children, and especially my mother and best friend, whom I hadn’t seen in three years.

“While I was alone in England I struggled with major depression, which was characterized by several nights of pain and tears. My illness was weakening that my university and I had seriously debated in several places whether or not I should constantly seek professional help Should stop studying altogether. “

His mother Judith, sister Maxine and wife Boipelo shared all shifts and cried for hours.

Maynard tested negative for Covid-19 at Heathrow Airport before boarding an Emirates flight to Dubai and later on to Lusaka, Zambia and then Harare, Zimbabwe.

“I ended up with pomp and fanfare and my brother Spencer Madziya, a local promoter, threw a party for me. It felt great to be able to touch and see family members for the first time,” he continued.

“But things were starting to change quickly. On the morning of December 23rd, I woke up with a sore throat. I took a ginger, lemon and honey mixture and thought it was just a bug, probably from long flights. On December 24th I got a slight temperature.

“On Christmas Day I drove 400 kilometers to my home province to be with my mother. When I got to Zvishavane, a semi-rural town in the Midlands, I was sure my asthma had flared up. A local pharmacist gave me a Ventolin inhaler to help curb the asthma and some over-the-counter drugs. “

On Boxing Day, however, Maynard was seriously unwell with a 41-degree fever, cough, and sweating. Judith took him to a local hospital – his birthplace about 30 years ago.

Covid-19 was relatively new in Zimbabwe at the time and the infections were minor, with most hospitals not knowing what to do with suspected cases.

“Before they could even treat me and I was in bad shape, they requested that I be tested. That test was negative,” Maynard added.

“But because I had only arrived from England a week ago, the hospital refused to accept me. The best they could do was give me IV fluids and pain medication.

“The next day things got worse. My mother took me to another hospital, one owned by Gregory Mataka, a gynecologist who was the gynecologist on the day I was born and who has been my mother’s personal friend for over 40 years. ” .

“Dr. Mataka closed a wing of his hospital and took me in. My oxygen levels were so low that he feared I was going to die. The ward I was admitted to was connected to a makeshift intensive care unit. “

Fortunately, Maynard made immediate signs of recovery, and after testing negative again on December 30th, Dr. Mataka reluctant to release him so he could celebrate New Year’s Day with his family.

On New Year’s Eve, however, Judith and his first wife Mutsa found him collapsed in front of his old bedroom door, barely breathing. At this point Judith was also ill, but with the help of his cousins ​​Maynard was crammed into the car and Mrs. Boipelo drove to the hospital again.

“I had regained a bit of myself along the way,” Maynard recalled.

“I could hardly move or speak, but I was aware of my surroundings and responsible for my thoughts.

“I was wondering if people who go to the hospital know it is their last trip. I imagined every single friend and foe who died in 2020 and wondered if they knew when they left the house that they would never return.

“I thought a lot about my wife Boipelo and her two young sons and the trouble I had brought them into. I wondered how she would manage without me, without the immediate and direct support of close family members. I worried how she would survive. ” to know that I died in her absence. “

At the hospital, Maynard was given another direct oxygen supply, and Dr. Mataka left his own celebrations to take care of him personally.

“The next few days were terrible,” said Maynard.

“As a journalist, I find words easy. I was born to write and born to use language to describe everything. But to this day I cannot describe how much I tormented myself.

“I think I could never describe it either. The desperation of not being able to breathe, of suffocating, cannot be described in words. You feel completely helpless and then you realize how small and out of control you really are.

“I was so sick that I could no longer breathe on my own, and I had to rely on medication and medical care to survive. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t bathe, and I needed help using the toilet. I was completely helpless. “

It looked so bleak that on January 1, 2021, the doctor advised Judith to ask Boipelo, who was in South Africa, to fly to Zimbabwe urgently to be by his side.

According to Judith, the doctor said he tried everything, but Maynard continued to deteriorate, and at this point he estimated his chances of survival to be less than 50 percent if there was no sign of improvement. It reached the point where loved ones felt the need to come and say goodbye.

“The next few days were spent in unimaginable pain,” said Maynard.

“And although I was getting better every day, it would be several weeks before I could cross a room without getting out of breath.

“Incredibly, I continued to test negative until I was released, and only after my wife Boipelo, who had flown to Zimbabwe wanted to return to be with the children in South Africa, did we realize it could be Covid-19 They tested positive and one by one who had been caring for me tested positive.

“Back then, PCR tests were not available in rural Zimbabwe. But an old sample of mine was sent to a laboratory in Bulawayo and they confirmed at the time of sampling that I was positive for Covid-19.

“Nobody in my entire family had mild symptoms. That was a silver lining.”

In May 2021 the journalist finally recovered in order to be able to travel, and so he visited his “spiritual father”, the prophet shepherd Bushiri, in Malawi.

There he had trouble breathing and was hospitalized again with severe breathlessness. This time, however, he immediately tested positive for Covid-19.

“I’ve had the flu in my life. I had severe asthma. Covid-19 is not just flu,” he explained.

“My symptoms in Malawi, after recovering from an infection in less than six months, were milder but still worse than the worst asthma attack I’ve ever had.

“I received my first coronavirus vaccine on June 28th of this year. At a clinic in Area 25, Lilongwe, Malawi, I received a single dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Besides a brief choke during the night and a sore arm, I had no other vaccine.” ” Side effects.

“When I returned to the UK in August, I was told that the NHS does not recognize vaccines given overseas and encouraged me to get a Pfizer vaccine. Although this is a second dose, it will be treated as the first dose.

“That didn’t bother me as I was actually going to ask my GP to mix up vaccines to give my body a better chance. Since then, I’ve been given two doses of Pfizer here in England, which effectively means I’ve had three doses.” . “

After Maynard tested positive for Covid-19 again, Maynard revealed that the worst symptom he had was an irritated throat, which he treated with a numbing throat spray.

After learning of his latest infection, his editors suggested that he take some time off, but luckily Maynard felt that his latest attack was so mild that he protested, arguing that the boredom was going on all day lying in bed is worse than being sick.

“I have no doubt vaccines work,” he said.

“I got infected again with Covid-19 months after my recovery when I should have had some immunity. My symptoms when I was re-infected were still terrible.

“I’ve had three doses since then and then got infected again with the coronavirus. I didn’t have any severe symptoms. I know from experience that Covid-19 isn’t just flu, and anyone who tells you otherwise is being disingenuous.

“Covid has never driven me so close to death as Covid.

“Looking back, I can only thank the people who saved my life, especially Dr. Greg Mataka, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and my family members.

“It’s been exactly a year since they took me in. Looking back, I was really on the verge of death.”

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