A healthcare worker silhouetted against the window, during a shift at an intensive care unit (ICU) at the General University Hospital where patients infected with the COVID-19 are treated in Prague, Czech Republic. A Daily News journalist speaks of her fears for her mom, a healthcare worker in South Africa. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
A healthcare worker silhouetted against the window, during a shift at an intensive care unit (ICU) at the General University Hospital where patients infected with the COVID-19 are treated in Prague, Czech Republic. A Daily News journalist speaks of her fears for her mom, a healthcare worker in South Africa. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

I'm the daughter of a healthcare worker on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is my biggest fear

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published Apr 7, 2020

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OPINION - My heart skips a beat each time my mom leaves the house, but this time it is different because she is a nurse at work during the Covid-19 pandemic says Thobeka Ngema, a journalist at the Daily News. 

This is her story:

"As her daughter, I worry about her all the time. That’s because she’s my heart. It’s just the two of us. We have family, a big family, but at the end of the day it’s just the two of us.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, the number of positive cases has increased regularly. I’ve listened to her every night, telling me about what she, other nurses and doctors talk about. I know she’s afraid and I’m afraid for her.

There are no guarantees that she is not carrying the virus when she returns home. If she carried it, she would surely pass it on to me.

I see Facebook posts, WhatsApp profile pictures and statuses about nurses and doctors being on the front line of the pandemic. Someone had written that these healthcare professionals had chosen their careers for themselves. But you know what? In a situation like this, it’s not easy to be comfortable in your profession.

If it were up to me, if I was financially capable, my mom would have stopped going to work the day the 21-day lockdown began.

Yes, my mom’s an essential worker, but she’s more essential to me because she is my life. I can work from home, but she can’t.

Have you noticed how most, if not all, of the coronavirus casualties had underlying conditions? Well, my mom and I are asthmatic. 

Last year I watched her struggling to breathe every night because of her asthma and over the past few weeks she has watched me struggle to breathe because of my asthma.

She suggested we visit the trauma unit at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital, but I refused. Fast-forward to last Friday and both my mom and I could have been infected with the virus had we gone to that hospital.

At the weekend Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced there were 11 confirmed Covid-19 cases linked to St Augustine’s Hospital and that three of the dead patients from KZN had been admitted to that facility.

And since we both have underlying conditions, we cannot begin to imagine how it would have ended.

There is a lot to worry about when it comes to my mom. Right now her profession poses a threat to her life and to mine.

For now, I have to hope and pray that she’s safe. The only reprieve I’ll get is when she has a day off and I’ll probably breathe easier when she goes on leave next month.

It’s not much, but at least they sanitise their hands before and after attending to each patient.

My greatest fear is her getting infected while she tries to save people’s lives, some of whom were out gallivanting instead of respecting the rules of the lockdown. I love you mom."

Daily News

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