Hazel Nochomovitz is 89 years old and diabetic. Picture: Supplied
Hazel Nochomovitz is 89 years old and diabetic. Picture: Supplied

Covid-19 survivors provide ray of hope

By Chelsea Geach Time of article published Jul 11, 2020

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Cape Town - As we head into the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, every day brings more bad news of rapidly climbing infections and deaths.

For people with severe co-morbidities or who are elderly, it can feel like a death sentence to receive a positive result for a coronavirus test, but there are many surviving and thriving on the other side of a bout of Covid-19.

Hazel Nochomovitz is 89 years old and diabetic. She stays at the Panorama Palms assisted living facility, where 41 residents and 35 staff members tested positive for the virus in a concentrated outbreak.

Considering her age and diabetes, Covid could have been devastating for Nochomovitz. When her test result came back positive, her daughter, Nicette Jorissen, was terrified.

“When I was told, I just cried as I thought I would never see her again,” she said. “But then when I spoke to her, all she said was: 'The food tastes terrible here; please send me some salt’.”

Despite being in the highest risk category, Nochomovitz experienced no Covid-19 symptoms aside from loss of smell and taste. She's now safely out of isolation, back in her normal room and enjoying activities like getting a haircut and dancing to music.

“Things could have been so much worse,” Jorissen said. “She didn't even know that she had the virus.”

Suzanne Buchanan shared a similar story of hope on the public Facebook group #SA Corona Virus Survivor Stories.

“My wonderful, 95-year-old mom is in a frail-care facility in Rondebosch. She tested positive for Covid-19 on May 29. She was isolated for 14 days, but was asymptomatic the whole time. She would never have known she had it if she hadn't been tested!,” Buchanan wrote. “I'm so thrilled and relieved that she is so well.”

For Neesa Moodley, who lives in Vredenburg, it was her asthma and history of open-heart surgery and cancer that complicated her Covid-19 diagnosis.

She realised she was sick while she was busy making a scrapbook for her son's 13th birthday.

“I realised my hands were shaking. Nothing was cut straight because my hands were trembling so badly,” she said. A few days later, she was struggling with a full-blown complement of symptoms, including headaches, fever, sweats, coughing and a runny nose. I was in tears, sobbing. I was so angry and frustrated and upset.”

Moodley said that her existing health conditions made her loved ones extremely worried that she might not survive Covid-19, but there had been a silver lining.

“A lot of my family has been very panicked because of my comorbidities, and I get that, but it almost feels like having those other conditions has helped me fight the condition,” she said. “I use preventative inhalers which open up my lungs a little bit, and because of my heart valve, I'm taking blood-thinners on a daily basis.”

Now, on day 13 since testing positive, she believes she is over the worst and is feeling almost back to normal on some days.

Weekend Argus

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