COVID-19 leaves lasting damage | Western Cape Government


COVID-19 leaves lasting damage

24 December 2020

COVID-19 caused permanent damage to Carmen’s lungs. Her doctors advised that it cannot be treated.

Carmen’s COVID-19 journey started when she and her husband attended a funeral and a family member (who was unaware of her positive COVID-19 status at the time) gave her a hug. Two days later Carmen started to experience cold/flu symptoms and treated the symptoms with over-the-counter medication.

During the next two days her symptoms got worse and on the fourth day after initial contact, Carmen’s symptoms became unbearable and she had to be admitted to hospital. She was placed on oxygen treatment and her symptoms were treated. The following day she received a positive COVID-19 result.

“After I received my positive result, my condition just continued to deteriorate. My breathing got so bad that I could not speak, I couldn’t get out of bed to do basic things like wash myself, I had no strength,” says Carmen.

During her hospitalisation Carmen was in constant fear that she would not make it and that she would have to leave her family behind, especially her children who are still in school and her husband who sees her as his other half. She was concerned that the non-profit organisation she started 16 years ago would no longer be able to support the underprivileged and so many others lives would be affected by her death. “When I recovered, I realised I will never be the same again. While I lay in my hospital bed I was consumed with thoughts that I would never see my precious family again or be able to walk outside and experience the beautiful creation or work in the community again,” recalls Carmen.

“I value the fact that I can breathe today, I cannot start to explain how much this simple act now means to me,” says Carmen.

“I know what COVID-19 can do to me and it has left me anxious. I live with the fear that I may contract it again and I am not sure how it will affect me after being near to death the first time I contracted it. COVID-19 cannot be taken lightly. It is real and I have felt it. It did not just affect me but affected my family. I could see a change is my daughter’s school work and it affected my husband’s mental wellbeing.”

Carmen explains that by following simple guidelines such as wearing a mask, keeping 1.5 m from others, and avoiding gatherings, we can save someone’s life. “You might not be at risk of getting severe symptoms but you can pass it on to someone else who can die or suffer from permanent damage due to COVID-19. Please play your part in protecting others. Don’t take being able to breathe for granted. Wear your mask and keep your distance.”

Media Enquiries: 

Roché Butler
Communications Officer
Overberg District
Western Cape Government Health
Overberg District Office, Caledon
Tel: 084 216 5796