Beating Coronavirus – a story of hope and recovery | Western Cape Government


Beating Coronavirus – a story of hope and recovery

28 May 2020

“Being an asthmatic, the tight chest, coughing and unbearable headaches were the worst symptoms to handle,” said Insaaf Mohammed, a 40-year-old Occupational Therapist who works for the Western Cape Government Health’s Klipfontein Sub-district.

Insaaf and her 7-year-old son contracted COVID-19 from her husband who works at the Groote Schuur Hospital laboratory. He contracted the coronavirus after giving his colleague a lift home. Her husband started showing symptoms of COVID-19 and went for testing on Thursday, 23 April. Insaaf tested on 24 April and soon after the couple had their 3 children aged 9, 7 and 2, and mother-in-law tested on 25 April. Only Insaaf, her husband and 7-year-old son were confirmed positive for COVID-19 and immediately self-isolated for 14 days at home.

“We self-isolated in our bedroom while my mother-in-law (who has diabetes and hypertension), thankfully never contracted the virus, could take care of our other 2 children while we were trying to fight and overcome COVID-19,” said Insaaf. 

The family were heading into the month of Ramadan and it was hard for the couple to be separated from their 2 other children and mother-in-law. “My 9-year-old daughter would cry every morning and evening when she had to pray, start and break her fast because it was her first time not being able to do it together as a family. I would communicate with her via my cellphone and it was difficult not being able to hold your children in their time of need. My 2-year-old son could not understand why he was unable see mommy and daddy for a bit,” said Insaaf sadly.

Insaaf suffers from asthma and her worst fear was experiencing serious respiratory complications from COVID-19. “I experienced tiredness, coughing and tightness of chest which my asthma pump resolved, but my symptoms were not as severe as my husbands, who had body aches, nausea, a tight chest, shortness of breath, blocked sinus and thick phlegm on his chest with a fever. My son had a fever for 3 days but recovered quite fast once he overcame his symptoms,” said Insaaf with a grateful smile on her face.

Insaaf and her family have since been adhering to all the golden rules of hygiene protocols at work and home to avoid contracting the coronavirus. The Department continues to educate people on the importance of social-distancing, washing hands, sterilizing and disinfecting surfaces, wearing a mask to prevent the spread of sputum droplets to others and being more health-conscious and strict when more than 1 person is in your vehicle.

“My family was understanding, caring and supportive, and brought us supper every evening, but sometimes your community can be inconsiderate and the harm they cause on social media is disheartening,” said Insaaf.

COVID-19 does not discriminate and anyone can contract it, but people need to be caring towards each other and respect the privacy of those that have contracted the virus as they are experiencing a lot of emotional turmoil. 

“After contracting COVID-19, I immediately informed my manager and was told to stay at home. Management was supportive and would contact us daily to hear if we were coping. I would not have been able to handle the news if I infected my colleagues and I apologised to them for putting their lives at risk,” said Insaaf. The reaction she received from her colleagues were understanding, comforting and caring.

After isolating for 14 days, people were a bit weary when she returned to work, but also concerned for her and her family. Many approached her for advice.

“Recovering from this virus changed my thought process and perspective on life. You appreciate your family and the small things in life even more. I want people in any working environment to take responsibility for their health, to educate their families and children, especially now that kids are going back to school soon. Help your child find creative ways to show affection to their friends without going close and touching each other. Get your family to sterilize themselves before entering the home, leave your shoes in the garage if you can, take all your clothes off and shower before greeting your family and be more health conscious to protect them,” said Insaaf.

COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while and people need to adapt to the new normal, be more health-conscious and increase your hygiene management and health education in your surroundings and when entering and exiting your homes.

Insaaf and her family celebrated Eid peacefully in the comfort of their home and gave thanks for surviving their traumatic COVID-19 experience.

– END –

Media Enquiries: 

Monique Johnstone
Principal Communications Officer: Klipfontein / Mitchells Plain Substructure
Cell: 079 908 4856