Covid-19 survivor celebrates birthday today at home
A delighted Vanessa Joubert (46) has been discharged from Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) after being a patient in the COVID-19 areas for 52 days, which includes 42 days in the Covid-19 ICU. “I am so happy that I can spend my birthday, the 9th of September, at home. The doctors in the hospital promised me that they will ensure I will be ready to go home to spend my birthday with family. I was ecstatic that I was discharged on the 1st of September as a COVID-19 survivor,” says a happy Vanessa.
Vanessa has been married to Mark Joubert for two and a half years. “I had COVID-19 as well but only had mild symptoms. Vanessa was not as lucky then, and she got very sick at home and I took her to a Melomed hospital. After being there for three days, she requested to be transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital. It’s not every day that someone asks to be moved from a private hospital to a public hospital, but she heard about the good work GSH has been doing with COVID-19 patients and she wanted to move,” recalls Mark.
“Vanessa had severe COVID-19 infection and was ventilated for close on 40 days. As with many of our COVID-19 patients, it was touch and go at many stages of her stay in ICU, we were never sure that she was going to make it. It took several weeks before we allowed ourselves to get excited about her potentially being discharged from the ICU. One distinct memory of her were her bright yellow nail varnish on her toes. It is always amazing to finally get to meet the actual person who you have looked after for so long when they finally are out of a coma, off the ventilator and able to talk,” says a relieved Professor Richard van Zyl-Smit, who was one of the doctors who looked after Vanessa in the ICU.
“Being in ICU is not easy, especially being on the ventilator all this time. I have lost so much weight and I still feel so tired, and my muscles feel so weak. It’s traumatic now being awake in ICU and having the memories of everything that I have gone through. One of the memories was when I thought I’m not going to make it, my body was just so weak,” Vanessa says about her ICU experience.
Vanessa encourages everyone to take the COVID-19 vaccine. “The vaccine will save your life. Don’t mess around, take it and save your life. You don’t want to end up in the ICU on a ventilator like I did.”
The COVID-19 experience of his wife opened Mark’s eyes in terms of the vaccine, “Before we had COVID-19, I did not want to take the vaccine. To see how Vanessa suffered converted me to take the vaccine. My message is simple, take the vaccine, you don’t want to go through what Vanessa went through.”