WATCH | Covid-19 survivor speaks to us about their harrowing experience and eventual recovery

Shorn Khumalo
Shorn Khumalo
Shorn Khumalo/Supplied

On 5 March, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that South Africa had recorded its first case of the coronavirus. Now the pandemic has completely changed our lives. 

Every day, the virus takes another familiar face with it. While we’re informed of the numbers rising daily, many people are not “scared” of the virus and are continuing as normal. But now more than ever, it’s important for people to know this virus is real and that the infection, recovery and death numbers all have faces to them. 

Read more | Recovery and death: 3 people who’ve been affected by Covid-19 on their harrowing experience

DRUM spoke Shorn Khumalo, a public relations specialist from Johannesburg who says he noticed his first symptoms on 24 May. “I started feeling an outer body experience, like I don’t have control of my body. I then quickly isolated myself because I am aware that we are living during a pandemic,” he tells us. 

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“At first, I thought it’s a normal change-of-season flu or fever. Then I then realised four days into my isolation that my cough was consistent. This was also the only symptom I experienced at the time so in those four days I was using home - and normal remedies that one would use for flu.”

Read more | HIV-positive local woman on surviving Covid-19: “I thought I was going to die”

“It was in a virtual meeting with my doctor that she told me I have shortness of breath, a known symptom of the virus.  A few days after that I told my mother I would be admitting myself to hospital because I was really struggling to breathe and luckily I was admitted immediately.”

It was after this that Shorn started experiencing other symptoms such as loss of appetite, chest pains, mild headaches and hallucinations. 

Three weeks after his experience at the hospital, Shorn says he’s nearly back to feeling like himself again. “I’m fine now. I feel like I’m back to being my normal self again but I do get mild headaches every now and then, which is something I never experienced before I contracted the virus."

“I can say we faced a bit of stigma as people barely contacted my mother to check up on us during our time in isolation. But people in our communities would come to bring us concoctions and mixtures that were said to help with fighting the virus."

“My mother and I both contracted the virus, but we have both recovered. She’s 53 and luckily she doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions. She has also made a full recovery, she went to test and the results came back as negative."

 “Even though people say that once you’ve contracted the virus you are immune to it, I still take immune boosters and things I need to keep my immune system healthy. I wear my mask even though I have recovered from the coronavirus.”

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