Cape Town man suffers six weeks of vertigo after Covid-19 diagnosis

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Yasin suffered from Covid-19 in April last year. Thankfully his income protection cover ensured he could still pay his bills.
Yasin suffered from Covid-19 in April last year. Thankfully his income protection cover ensured he could still pay his bills.

Yasin Khan’s extreme symptom meant he couldn’t work for weeks. Luckily, he still received an income because of his income protection policy. 

It was while having dinner with his wife and daughter that Yasin Khan (45) first suspected he might have Covid-19. “My daughter, Sara, said that the corn smelled nice. That’s when I realised that I couldn’t smell a thing,” he recalls.  

Fearing the worst, Yasin immediately left the table and isolated himself in a room. He and his family – his wife, Leila (39), and Sara (12) – were tested soon afterwards, the results showed that all three had Covid-19 and they quarantined themselves. This was in April last year when the country was still in hard lockdown. Yasin, who lives in Woodstock, Cape Town, isn’t sure where he contracted the virus, but he suspects it might have been from a delivery man.  

“When hard lockdown was announced, we stopped going to the shops and bought all our groceries online. My only point of contact at the time was with delivery men, so I might have gotten it from one of them.” 

He didn’t feel too bad the first four days following his diagnosis. “Only my taste and smell were gone.” But on day five, it hit him like a ton of bricks. “I was completely bedridden. I had a high fever and had severe vertigo. Luckily, I could still breathe, so I didn’t have to go to the hospital, but I couldn’t walk, and my wife had to care for me – give me food and medicine.”  

Even though Leila and Sara also tested positive, they only developed mild fevers that lasted a day or two. After two weeks, most of Yasin’s symptoms had subsided, except for his vertigo. “It was like being seasick all the time – that’s the best way I can describe it. I couldn’t sit up straight or lie down completely. The only position that didn’t make me feel like I was going to throw up was a reclined position,” he explains.

His vertigo lasted six weeks. 

During this time, it was impossible for him to do his job. As an industrial pharmacist, Yasin works in a factory that manufactures medicines. And even though he wasn’t allowed back in the factory due to lockdown restrictions, he could still do about half of his work remotely from home. 

That was until he got sick. “I couldn’t even sit up without feeling sick from vertigo, never mind type or look at a computer screen. The vertigo would cause me to throw up uncontrollably, which meant that I was also severely dehydrated.”  

In the meantime, the lockdown restrictions had been eased, and his colleagues had been allowed back for a limited number of days per week. Still, Yasin was suffering from extreme vertigo. To make matters worse, he had only started at the company in February, two months before he contracted Covid-19, so he didn’t have many annual or sick leave days he could use to make up for his absence, which meant he would be taking unpaid leave, and not earning a salary.

Luckily, he had income protection cover with Old Mutual. “The funny thing is, I’ve always thought of income protection cover as one of those ‘nuisance policies’, ” he explains. “ I’ve had it since about 2010, but I only got it because when I started investing in my retirement annuity at            Old Mutual, they asked if I wanted income protection cover as well. It wasn’t too expensive, so I said sure.” 

Now, Yasin thanks his lucky stars he’s kept the policy all these years because it paid him an income for the days he couldn’t work. 

“This made such a huge difference at the time,” Yasin says. “If you lose out on your salary, even just for a month, you fall behind on your payments, which results in penalties and having to pay higher interest.” 

“It was a massive safety net. I didn’t have to worry about payments, or even about how to afford the basics. I didn’t have to change the quality of my life. In fact, it meant that everything just stayed the same because it covered everything. It took that financial stress away, and I could just focus on trying to recover to the best of my ability.”

Since then, Yasin has made a full recovery, and he has no lasting Covid-19 symptoms. “I got my income protection cover in my early 30s, and even though I thought it was something that only elderly people would use or benefit from, I never got around to cancelling it. But now, having gone through this whole ordeal, I would honestly advise people to get one. Especially today when something unexpected and serious, like Covid-19, can hit out of nowhere.” 

Old Mutual
Yasin with his wife Leila and daughter Sara.

Why you should get cover

When you get ill or injured, whether for a couple of weeks, months or permanently, money is the last thing you should have to worry about. The road to recovery shouldn’t be rushed, and you should focus on what matters most at this time – your health. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done because even if you’re too ill or injured to work, you still have bills to pay and you need to cover your daily living costs. However, having the right cover in place removes this financial anxiety. 

Old Mutual’s Personal Cover offers customers the flexibility to build cover that suits their unique needs. If your need is to protect your income, they have cover that’s right for you. It pays out a monthly income of up to R250 000, tax-free, for up to 24 months when you are temporarily, partially or permanently impaired or disabled. You can personalise your cover by adding extra benefits at a cost.

For example, you can add their Sickness Benefit, which pays you an income if you’re booked off sick. There is no need to prove loss of income, you just need to be booked off for longer than your waiting period. 

If, however, your need is to protect yourself against the large and once-off costs that come with being permanently disabled, they also have cover that’s right for you. It pays out a single amount of up to R30 million, tax-free, when you are permanently disabled or impaired. You can also personalise your cover by adding on extra benefits at a cost.

With the help of your financial adviser, you can structure your cover to suit your needs and only pay for what you need. 

Depending on the cover amount, you also have a choice of underwriting options – your premium could be cheaper if you go for medical tests and you’re healthy. And you can get rewarded for being financially fit through the Old Mutual Rewards programme.

The time is now to get Disability insurance that is right for you. Speak to your financial adviser, call 0860 60 60 60 or visit Old Mutual for more information.

This testimonial does not constitute financial advice. 

Old Mutual Life Assurance Company (SA) Limited is a licensed FSP and Life Insurer. 

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