Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.— Arthur Somers Roche
As I write this , it’s been around five months since the first case was reported in Wuhan,China. Over 3.4million corona virus cases have been reported around the world, with the number still rising every day. Over 244,000 people have already succumbed to the disease while over one million individuals have recovered from it. Here in Kenya,the number of confirmed cases has surpassed the 400 mark, almost 2 months since the first case was reported. 154 have been discharged from various facilities so far having recovered while 22 have unfortunately died from the virus.The numbers are constantly changing with daily updates by the health ministry .The same with the worldwide figures
When the first few cases were reported in China,it’s obvious that most of us didn’t really care a lot. We were miles away from China so it would never get here, somehow. There was a resounding optimism that they would contain it and it would all be fine for them and the rest of us. Unfortunately, things have gone the other way and the whole world has literally stopped and it’s no longer business as usual. Its effects are being felt across the entire world. Anyone who has played the PES football video game series can identify with Peter Drury shouting ‘Hot knife, through butter’ once a player scores a ‘sumptuous’ goal. That is how the virus has cut through health care systems. Like hot knife through butter. Almost overnight, the world fell on an abyss of chaos.
According to WHO(World Health Organization) ,The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. Let me concentrate with persons with underlying / pre-existing medical conditions
I spent most of my childhood under medication for a heart problem in the bracket of RHD (Rheumatic Heart Disease). It’s basically caused by damage to the heart valves and heart muscle from the inflammation and scarring caused by rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever is caused by an abnormal response of the body to infection with streptococcal bacteria, which usually begins as a sore throat or tonsillitis in children. Early detection of rheumatic fever helps in preventing it from leading to Rheumatic heart disease. Generally, early detection of any medical problem is important because diagnosis can improve the effectiveness of treatments and avoid long-term complications for the patient. Diagnostic tests can determine when antibiotics are an appropriate treatment—and when they are not.
I was 8 years old when my heart problem was discovered. Benzathine penicillin injection would become a common figure in my life from then.It’s basically an antibiotic that is important in containing rheumatic fever. The only protocol for the injection was its timeline. They were monthly. I got the first one on the 13th of February 2007. A 30 or 31 days difference meant that the 13th or 14th of each and every other month ahead , whether I was feeling well or not , I had to be at a hospital for the injection. The good thing was that it could be administered at any facility so long as it’s on the specified date. They were painful. Very painful .Only someone who has been in the same situation can understand .Eventually, it went well for me and I am always grateful to God everyone who played a part in my journey.I will document the whole ordeal later. Does this get me off the hook now? No.We all are at risk of catching the virus , just that people with pre-existing medical problems are at high risk of developing severe symptoms .
Going through recent statistics by the World Health Organization on different diseases and based on what we all have maybe experienced with our colleagues,friends and families, the likes of cancer, heart problems,diabetes,tuberculosis,HIV/ Aids ,high blood pressure and other common medical problems have led to the death of millions of people in the world.Yearly , thousands We are in the corona season and that’s just fine. There is no argument on its impact. Anyone who has a pre–existing medical condition or has overcome one might tell you something different and that’s also fine. We all view situations differently based on our personal experiences.
As for me , though it all , all I see and think about are my fellow ‘special ‘persons who have pre-existing medical conditions that have been said to have more serious symptoms if they catch the virus . No matter where you might be in your fight, there is something that we all can agree on. Cancer still exists during this season. Patients still have to go for chemo-therapy sessions. Walking into a hospital for those sessions during these times can have its mental health effects.Those living with diabetes still need their insulin shots and the different kinds of ways of managing it. Our brothers,sisters, friends or relatives living with HIV / AIDS still need their ARVs to live a normal life. The breathing problems that are a symptoms of the disease remind me of the thousands of people who carry inhalers in their pockets,handbags,cars, etc. Yes, I mean every person with asthma. Remember those who were scheduled to fly to India for further medication because what they need can only be done there? Where are they now? What about those who were relying on donations to fund their ? There are individuals who were already in a different storm before this one that has completely confirmed that indeed the world is just a small village.
Mental health concerns of people with pre-existing medical conditions have not been adequately addressed. I honestly appreciate the few individual and organizations that are focusing on mental health during this season, starting with the media house that I work. Our way is through preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and its giving our listeners hope through this season .Others that I have come across include Bongahttps://www.bonga.or.ke/, an initiative that gets people to open up and be honest about their mental health. Adelle Onyangohttps://twitter.com/ADELLEO is also doing a commendable job through her podcast Legally Clueless. There are others that I have no knowledge of but I’m sure they are doing well and for that, all I can say is ‘God bless you abundantly’.
Mental health concerns of people with pre-existing medical conditions have not been adequately addressed. I honestly appreciate the few individual and organizations that are focusing on mental health during this season, starting with the media house that I work for. Our way is through preaching the good news of Jesus Christ and its giving our listeners hope through this season .Others that I have come across include Bongahttps://www.bonga.or.ke/, an initiative that gets people to open up and be honest about their mental health. Adelle Onyangohttps://twitter.com/ADELLEO is also doing a commendable job through her podcast Legally Clueless. There are others that I have no knowledge of but I’m sure they are doing well and for that, all I can say is ‘God bless you abundantly’.
Most people with pre-existing medical conditions are intentionally staying at home during this season, which is one sure way of avoiding the virus. Others can’t stay home because of the nature of their jobs so they are constantly moving. Those at home have to deal with some extra loneliness. Lonely moments that are full of anxiety might lead to depression. Being stuck in the house the whole day scrolling through the TV only to find daily counts of confirmed cases and deaths can never be easy for anyone, in that category or not . Most of the focus now is on finances and to be honest, that’s just fine. The economy has been hit hard .Income for most has either fallen or cut off completely. It’s not just a health based emergency but a financial based one. With all these, there is a person who still has to go for chemo-therapy sessions. Someone still needs insulin for diabetes. Imagine that single parent living with a medical condition that requires constant medication and has just lost their job or their business is not doing well. The worry of sustaining the family, getting medication and later finding another source of income might be too much. All these come with a mental health baggage
Do you know that COVID-19 doesn’t only affect people with pre-existing physical conditions—it can have a serious impact on those with mental health issues, like anxiety and depression, even if you are not infected with the coronavirus? Fear of the virus and all the changes it’s causing are driving anxiety levels up for everyone, but for the people with such conditions, it could be worse. It can lead to that friend of yours with diabetes to forget their medication. It can make your sister or brother with cancer to stay in their room the whole day just to hide from the world. The truth is , many are finding peace in the face masks to hide out pain , fears and anxiety, and that is dangerous . Even those who fortunately recover from the disease embrace the masks and other armor people may put on when they are drowning in shame, sorrows, fear and hurt.
It’s important to address mental health concerns during such a time. Knowing how anxiety works can help you to better support loved ones without inadvertently making it worse. I am always trying to share , through my radio show and social media , information on anxiety and mental health .There is always something that you can do to help someone during this season .Together, we are stronger
Below are some amazing websites that have articles on anxiety that can help you understand it and eventually support someone around you , especially those who have pre-existing medical conditions. There are articles that can also help someone with medical problems get through this season . I have also written on worry on one of my previous blogs. God is still at the throne and with all that is happening around us , He wants us to trust him and take all our problems to him in prayer.