I story: I survived COVID-19

I story: I survived COVID-19

Date: October 5, 2020
  • SHARE:

By *Mapula Ditaba

Johannesburg, 5 October:I remember vividly when a 21 day lock down was announced by the President from the 26 March 2020. I thought this is just 21 day all will be well and everything will be back to normal. It was not about the times and the dates it was about a virus that will change lives forever. There has been viruses before. HIV that we managed and despite the number of people who died, we lived to see it being managed.

For this pandemic a number of days were allocated to the management of this virus and I thought, just be patient and protect yourself as much as possible. They said staying home will prevent it, people move it does not. The 21 days were done in no time. We survived so I thought, but it was extended and the numbers of infections were going up. I was scared it was impacting on so many people in a negative ways, friends and family were losing jobs, places to stay, cars and I was thankful  for I had a place to stay and food and I had my family members taking care of me was the most difficult time.

The beginning of June the lock down was eased most were allowed to go back to work and use public transport. I had not been out of the house in those months and I was not feeling well and I went to the doctor and she gave me flu medication and I was down for a week. I was supposed to go to work the next week and there was a taxi strike because they wanted to load full capacity on their taxis which was granted the next few days despite the risk to the health of commuters. That day I then decided to go to the clinic where I get my chronic medication on monthly basis and my day to collect was in the next few days but because I could not go to work I decided to walk to the clinic. When I got there the clinic was closed and I was told to return home and the clinic will be closed for the next few days. I was thankful because I had week extra backup for my medication.

The next day I went to work and I used the taxi full capacity despite the risks that came with it. When I was on my way, I was told my mum was not feeling well. I was already almost at work so I decided let me go and let my manager know what was happening and rush to her.

I was given PPE clothing because she was in isolation as she was infected with corona virus. I could see she was in so much pain she could barely breathe. I wanted to pray but I did not know what to pray for, her healing or for God to take her without her suffering. I looked as the nursing staff was calling the supervisor as one patient passed on. They just said “sekunjalo”. I could see the strain in their eyes. I then understood the new term frontline workers were using. All that could be done was make my mum comfortable she was so fragile and it was breaking me. The next day she passed on.

I was not feeling well, I had headaches and felt tired and vomiting nothing was going in and I thought it is just stress. I had to be strong to bury my mother. My sister who stays in Limpopo had to wait for three days before she got her permit to travel to Gauteng. Culturally I was confined to the bedroom and sit on the mattress. I would sleep most of the time. After the burial of my mother, everyone left I was left alone with my sister who needed to go back home but she insisted I go test for Covid -19 before she left.

The Gender Links staff and management were calling checking up on me sending words of encouragement but not only checking find out if I was doing well but also to check if I could manage or would be in a position to go test for a Covid -19 test and suggested places to go to test and affordability. It meant a lot to me. I did not expect to be supported financially but that is what Mme Colleen told me that Gender Links deposited money to go tested and an advance so that I can get results faster and it will be easy for me to get to the facility to test. It meant I was able to afford to be tested and take my two daughters and grandson to the doctor. I could protect my Family before I infected them. I was able to send my daughters to the doctor and my grandson.

The weekend my sister left I was home with my children, when a sms came in telling me I tested positive of Covid -19 I was scared because the only thing I really understood about Covid 19 was that people get infected in numbers and the numbers of people dying are increasing. I was going to die and I probably infected my children and my family members, especially my sister since we were sharing a bed the whole time she was around. I immediately self-isolated before my niece fetched them to her place.

I was left alone I realised I did not have at the time to grief my mother’s death, I started crying. I would wake up in the middle of the night my chest was in pain and I thought that was my last day or moment, I would unlock the doors so that they do not straggle to get me when I am dead.

I was leaving with Covid -19 in the house but everything changed when my nice phoned me telling me that my daughter was very sick she could not breath and she is taking her to the doctor, The doctor took x-rays and she told my niece to take her to the hospital because she suspected she was infected with corona virus. My niece was scared for her life and my other daughter because they thought they were all safe since they all tested negative. My daughter tested positive at the hospital.

I had to be strong for all my children. I work and listen to the” I “stories of survivors of Gender Base Violence (GBV). How their will power takes them out of worse situations than I was. They always say something happened and they decided to change from being a victim to a survivor. I felt it because I could not do anything about my daughter’s situation. I needed to fight and be strong for her. I remember I woke up cleaned the house. My children needed me and a clean home. The schools were opening Covid -19 restrictions level were relaxed, they needed to come back home, I needed to go back to work. The Gender Links family continued to support me, they made sure I do not go back to the full capacity taxi. Transport was organised from home to work and back. I am thankful for the support I am getting from my employers and wish all the people who went through what I did can be treated and supported like I was supported, by family and at work.

*Mapula Ditaba not her real name

Comment on I story: I survived COVID-19

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *