Doctor who contracted Covid-19 twice ’survived through God’s grace’
Cape Town – A local doctor who said she experienced Covid-19 twice believes it was only through God’s grace she survived severe symptoms that left her gasping for air after walking a few steps.
Clinimed chief executive Dr Mathobela Matjekane said she hoped her story would encourage others to take the risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19 seriously, as she described it as “fighting a monster squashing your lungs”.
The mother of two oversees practices in Parklands, Mandalay and Khayelitsha and has spearheaded efforts to decode Covid-19 and simplify the medical jargon for vulnerable communities into vernacular languages.
Matjekane said she experienced Covid-19 symptoms before the hard lockdown was announced and information about the virus widely known.
“It is terrible. I would not wish it on anyone. The first time I (didn’t) believe I had Covid-19... What stood out for me though was the shortness of breath I had never experienced with flu before. Then a friend contracted the virus and shared their symptoms and I realised it must have been Covid-19,” she said.
Matjekane said she recovered within two weeks, enabling her to go back to work.
“With the second wave around November/December a number of people were testing and many were testing positive. For every 10 people we tested, at least seven would come back positive,” she said.
“I saw a patient who tested positive and decided to test. The following day I had a sore throat. The result came back positive and after that my temperature started rising. I was coughing non-stop, I had body aches, shortness of breath, loss of smell. I had no appetite and fatigue.”
She took medication for her temperate, anti-inflammatories, prednisone, antibiotics and other immune boosters.
“I had to be on something for 10 to 15 days. I could not go up the stairs where I stay, every five steps I had to gasp for air,” she said.
Matjekane said her body felt like it had experienced a massive injury.
“I could not tell if I was improving or deteriorating,” she said.
Christmas was difficult as Matjekane was unable to do much.
“I was just lying down, I could not even cook breakfast for my children. The simple things you take for granted, my life came to a complete standstill for three weeks.”
Even after recovering, she said, she was still not strong, having to walk slowly at first.
“It is important to listen to your body and take your time. If you think you could be infected get tested so you can know to quarantine and stop the spread.
’’Wear a mask, wash your hands and be proactive. Be on immune boosters. Boosting your immunity might ensure you don’t get it as bad.”