MY STORY | I'm 88 and having the jab saved me from dying of Covid

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Patricia Wilkerson tested positive for Covid in hospital. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Patricia Wilkerson tested positive for Covid in hospital. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Patricia Wilkerson (88) is thrilled to be home after spending nine days in the hospital, fighting Covid. 

The pensioner who lives in Musgrave, Durban, with two of her three children believes the vaccine saved her life. She tells YOU her story.

“In July and August, I got vaccinated against Covid-19. All three of my children are vaccinated. For 24 hours after the jab, I ran a slight fever and my arm hurt for weeks. However, I had no fears about the vaccine. 

Then, on 24 September, I started to cough and had flu-like symptoms. I thought it was a horrible cold or flu so I took the usual cold medicine.

READ MORE | Life-threatening Covid changed me from an anti-vaxxer to a vaccine advocate

I haven't had flu for four years. I usually take Sinutab as soon as I think a cold is coming on. When the cough and sneezing persisted, my daughter, Barbara Fisher (65), bought me some more medication. 

covid-19, hospital, vaccine
Patrica started experiencing flu-like symptoms and breathing problems before she was taken to hospital. (PHOTO: Supplied)

I lost my appetite. I always ate two to three times a day, and never missed my morning coffee and cake. Now I wasn’t interested in food.

Then I started having problems breathing. About 25 years ago I was diagnosed with emphysema, which affects the lungs.

On Saturday, 2 October, eight days after my symptoms started, my family rushed me to Netcare Parklands Hospital. I was weak and unable to talk or eat. They were hoping the doctor on duty would hook me up to a drip and do the usual tests. 

The rapid Covid test was only taken because the amazing doctor on duty informed my children that he wanted to admit me as my throat was inflamed and my oxygen level was 90. After he left, the nurse on duty tested me for Covid as this was necessary before a patient could be admitted to a non-Covid ward. 

I was unaware of any of these goings-on, even when the nurse announced my test was positive. I didn't hear a thing. My children were shocked as it had not occurred to anyone that I might have Covid. It was the last thing on anyone's mind.

We’re an extremely close family, and this was unimaginable. In fact, my son, Robert, disputed the results immediately, suggesting a false positive. Even the doctor was stunned. Both my children tested negative and are very careful about not spreading this deadly virus. I don't go out at all.

I spent nine long days in hospital and during the first few days I hallucinated and didn’t know where I was. I was given oxygen and had loads of blood tests. I had to take about 30 tablets a day. 

hospital, covid-19
After nine days in the hospital, she was happy to go home with her children. (PHOTO: Supplied)

I communicated with my children via cellphone, and they were allowed 10-minute visits, one person at a time, once a day because I was in a private ward with no other Covid patients at the time. They had to wear protective clothing.I only found out I’d had Covid when I was discharged. My family didn’t tell me as I’d become delirious while in hospital. I’m not sure whether this was because of medication or Covid.

I started feeling better the day I arrived home on Monday, 11 October. I haven't had my test result back showing I’m negative, but I have no symptoms at all.  

READ MORE | I’m only 25 but Covid has left me a widow and a single mom of two tiny children

I believe I was saved by the vaccine; God; Dr Nadar, the pulmonologist; the caring staff at Netcare Parklands Hospital; and my son, who rushed me to the hospital. 

patricia, covid, flu
Patricia after her first day back home. (PHOTO: Supplied)

I'm thrilled to be home. I have wonderful children taking care of me. I’ve probably lost about 7kg in three weeks so I asked my daughter to bake some fruit mince pies which she did!

I’m enjoying watching TV. The doctor arranged an oxygen converter which I use during the day.

My children and I practise extra caution. We’ve no idea how Covid found its way into our home. The first thing they do when coming home is to wash their masks and hands. We now have a big bottle of sanitiser at the entrance so that not even a light switch or tap is touched before washing.

To anti-vaxxers, I would say: save your life and your loved ones. You do not want to ever experience loneliness and heartache.”

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