Amy Louw is home with her family and just in time for Christmas after battling COVID-19. The survivor has thanked healthcare workers for going the extra mile at the Brackengate Hospital of Hope Intermediate Care Facility, where she spent nearly two weeks recovering.
Amy works as an admin clerk at a local motoring company and first started feeling sick on 25 November.
“I didn’t think I had COVID-19. I was hoping it would just be a flu. I was at work on 25 November when I started to feel sick. I had headaches, coughed a lot and had phlegm on my chest. I could still taste and I could still smell. It became bad the next day. My taste went away and I couldn’t smell. I was sent home. I was tested the Friday, 27 November, and received my positive result on 28 November.”
In the days that followed after testing positive, Amy used medication and stayed home, hoping that she’d recover. But on Wednesday, 2 December 2020, she was rushed to hospital.
“When I woke up on that Wednesday morning, I was okay, but by 11:00 I couldn’t breathe at all. My sister phoned the ambulance and they came to get me. I was so scared; it was really bad. I panicked. When the ambulance arrived, they provided me with oxygen, and I felt okay. This is the first time in my life that I had to receive oxygen support.”
When she arrived at the Brackengate Hospitaal of Hope, staff assisted her in the admissions area. The young woman says she didn’t realise how many other people were ill until she entered the hospital’s wards and saw almost every bed filled.
“I first went to Panorama Medi-clinic and I was later transferred to Brackengate Hospital of Hope. I was surprised to see so many other people who had COVID-19 like me. It was scary.”
She shares how having COVID-19 impacted her mental health.
“I was laying there, and I looked at the people around me. There were so many old people. It’s very hard to fight COVID-19. All we can do is fight it and do our best to keep positive. At first, I remember feeling weak and I didn’t want to help myself but then I pushed myself. I’d say, ‘Don’t give up, you can overcome.’ I remember a doctor told me, ‘You can’t let this virus get to you, you’re young, don’t give up.’”
Amy found comfort in prayer, video calls with her family, and the support provided by staff at the hospital. She recalls feeling anxious during her 10-day stay when she had to receive oxygen support. She decided that she would not give up and thanked the staff at Brackengate for encouraging her.
“The doctors and nurses at Brackengate Hospital of Hope were very helpful. They checked on me every 30 minutes. I could ask them anything and they’d do it. They helped me to recover and supported me during this scary journey.”
She received oxygen support for five days during her admission and says she was relieved to finally breathe on her own.
“I just started praying, I prayed my way through COVID-19. On the sixth day I’ve recovered well enough for my oxygen to be turned off and I realised I could breathe on my own again. It was such a happy moment for me. Before that, I would take 10 steps and I was out of breath.”
“I was healthy before COVID-19 and I was so cautious,” says Amy who is grateful to be reunited with her siblings and parents.
“I remember getting home after being discharged, I took a shower and I was out of breath. It took a while for me to be okay. I am slowly getting my energy back and I have started cleaning around home again. My isolation ended on 19 December and I am lucky to be home with my family.”
Amy enjoyed her social life and going but says COVID-19 has changed the way she lives.
“I don’t want to step out of the house. I used to be very social but with COVID-19 I am indoors a lot. I live with my parents and siblings and my other family has not visited yet, but we keep in touch via video calls or messaging. Remember, it’s not necessary to go to events. Things are really bad out there with this virus. Please stay home if you can, be safe, wear your mask and keep 1.5 m from other people if you have to go out. Wear your masks and not only around your mouth. It needs to cover your nose too. This virus is terrible, and we need to be safe. Please don’t remove your mask in public.”