Wendy is 65, and a newly-retired Special Needs Teacher.
She believes that coming from a base of being pretty
fit and healthy is helping in her recovery from Covid-19
This is a You’ve Earned It/YEI article written during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please check the COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal
for updated information and current health advice
regarding Covid-19 in South Africa.
All information below was correct
as per the experience of the interviewee at the time of her interview.
Every single South African has been touched by the Covid-19 pandemic this last year. In fact, it is almost exactly a year to the day since all South Africans went into their first severe lockdown. Whether the lockdown restrictions have affected our ability to work, whether we have not been able to visit and socialise with family and friends, whether you have been more vigilant with hand sanitizing and learning how to socially distance, each and every one of us has been affected by this awful virus.
Many of us have worked hard to flatten the curve and to curb and slow the spread of the virus in our country. Many of us have thankfully not come into direct contact with the virus so far, even though our lives may have dramatically changed.
However, many South Africans have been directly affected by the virus, and this is one of those stories. The story and real experience of a newly-retired person who has caught the virus, with no idea of how she contracted Covid-19. A story which reminds us of why we need to remain vigilant when it comes to the prevention of spread of this dratted virus.
Wendy was still teaching throughout 2020 during the pandemic. She came into contact with learners, with learners’ parents and with her teaching colleagues. Initially, she wore a mask and a shield. Wendy has always been relatively fit and well. However, during the pandemic, she decided that she and her husband should take a cocktail of nutrients that had been recommended to her by her sister-in-law who is in the medical field. A cocktail of nutrients that consisted of Vitamin C, the Vitamin Bs, Vitamin D3, folic acid and zinc.
They embarked on a walking programme and eventually they were walking for up to an hour a day in the vineyards, in the forest, around their suburb and by the sea. They were feeling marvellous – fit and healthy – and a wonderfully planned, hard-earned retirement was on the horizon. Despite the pandemic, life was good.
Wendy retired at the end of 2020, after 30+ years of special needs teaching. She particularly missed the children, but knuckled down to work in the garden that she loves, and she carried on with her walking regime.
The Covid test
Towards the end of February 2021, Wendy started feeling out of sorts. She remembers that her symptoms started on the Sunday. A headache and sinus issues, which she thought were related. On the Monday, she felt a bit achy and thought she must be coming down with something. Eventually on the Friday, her doctor, with whom Wendy had been in contact, suggested she go for a Covid test, “just to rule that out”.
When she received the Pathcare SMS late that night, it was with great shock that she learned that the test was positive. She was emotionally wrecked and frightened as this had come as a bolt out of the blue. She knew no-one with Covid, she only went to the shops once a week to shop and was extremely careful about always sanitizing and washing her hands. She and her husband did not socialise with friends, other than going walking with two or three friends, always physically distancing. And yet, the test was positive.
Wendy was able to recover at home as a patient of the ‘virtual’ Covid ward. To prevent her husband from catching the virus, they had to isolate from each other within the confines of their home. “We physically distanced in the household, we slept in separate beds, and we wore masks in the house,” she says. “I was extremely lucky as my husband is a UK-trained carer and he really went all out to look after me, make meals (even though he dislikes cooking!) and generally care for me as much as he was able to do, given the constraints. We used separate crockery and cutlery and we disinfected every surface we touched. It was really hard work.”
As the days went by, Wendy’s main symptoms were a mucky nose, body aches, sore hips and legs, dizziness, brain fog, a complete lack of energy, and a prickly feeling throughout her body. Her sister-in-law advised that the prickly feeling was her body’s temperature. The prickly feeling was also felt in her eyes which was rather disconcerting. She had to get an oximeter to measure her oxygen levels and pulse rates. Her taste buds disappeared.
The covid journey
The couch was her best friend. She could not concentrate on reading, so watched Netflix series, romcoms and sport on TV, and even watched Tottenham Hotspur play right through to the bitter end of the match! Messages, phone calls and meals from family and friends carried her through this covid journey. The family also kicked in with the shopping. Wendy and her husband had to isolate for three weeks, with no physical contact whatsoever with the outside world. Wendy’s other best friend during this torrid time was her beautiful brown Labrador, Holly, who would not leave her side, and sat next to her, sticking her tongue out at her most of the time! One of the best times of each day was her daily dip in the swimming pool. Her sister-in-law had suggested that this was a good idea to keep her body cool, and her daily dip went a long way into making Wendy more comfortable.
Wendy was very impressed with the care and attitude from the doctor at her local Medicross. Her doctor contacted her daily to check on her symptoms and condition, to advise and to dispense appropriate medication. Wendy was also most impressed with the Department of Health. She was advised that she was officially on their database. In addition, Wendy received a call from a government doctor based at one of the government hospitals. As she is on their database, he gave her all of the official protocol and advice from the Covid team.
“They even offer food parcels to indigent families. They check on the isolation of the infected and who is looking after you. If there is no-one to take care of you, they collect you and put you in a hotel which is specifically used for covid patients. These calls from government officials really reassured me that this dire situation is being so professionally handled. It gives one more confidence in the system.
Wendy has now been given the all-clear to end her isolation. She has started her daily walks, albeit very slowly as she is rather wobbly at times. She is determined to get her fitness levels back although she still spends much of the day on the couch, resting or sleeping. “I’m definitely not back to normal. I have good and not-so-good days. There are days when I get really tired. I’m not sure if this is the ongoing effects of Covid, but I didn’t have days like this before.”
Wendy’s little tip for the best sanitizer she has used – for cleaning surfaces in the home.
Mix a litre of water with 1 tsp of sunlight washing up liquid and 4 tsps of Jik.
It is supposed to kill the virus immediately.
Article by You’ve Earned It / YEI