Tongan-US survivor of COVID-19 says “great courage” saved her; husband returned to ventilator

A compassionate Tongan mother who contracted Covid-19 in Salt Lake City said she recovered because she did not want to surrender to the disease.

Lotomo’ua Tu’akalau was isolated in her house along with three of her children while her husband Lelea Tu’akalau was fighting for his life in a hospital isolation ward.

Lotomo’ua said she understood there were a number of Tongans infected with Covid-19 in the US and she urged them to be strong.

She said while her husband was struggling with the disease she kept on telling him to keep fighting as he would be fine.

She said while in isolation, she lost appetite, was nauseous and frequently become unconscious.

She said she could no longer taste anything, but forced herself to drink a lot of smoothies and energy drinks to keep her active.

She said when she became ill she felt weak and in pain for the first three days.

She said she tried hard to make sure she would not have any difficulty breathing because she did not want to end up in hospital, too, because of her children.

Lotomo’ua said her positive test result came after her three children also tested positive.

She said her children asked where she would stay  if her result came back negative.

Lotomo’ua was emotional and said she told her children if her result was negative she would never leave them, no matter what.

“Their question was so heartbreaking to me,” Lotomo’ua told Kaniva News.

“This disease takes away your sense of taste and you must force yourself to drink otherwise you will end up dehydrated, which puts you in a worse situation.”

Lotomo’ua and her children were cleared after three days. She was given 21 isolation days, mainly because of her job at the Salt Lake International Airport which included spraying aircraft cabins.

“If you are not courageous enough you will end up in hospital,” Lotomo’ua said.

“I tell you I had great courage.

“When Lelea put in a video call to me he could not look straight at me, but I urged him to look at me and be strong he would be fine.”

As Kaniva News reported last week, Lelea was on ventilator and Lotomo’ua had asked the community and relatives to pray for him.

On Monday Lotomo’ua celebrated after doctor removed the ventilator.

However, this morning she said Lelea was returned to the machine.

She said Lelea was struggling because of his diabetes.

International media reports said study showed that almost one in three deaths from Covid-19 among people in hospital in England during the pandemic have been associated with diabetes.