Testing optimistic for Covid-19 generally is a scary and traumatic expertise. Nurse Angy Rabothatha is among the many healthcare staff who’re a part of authorities’s hint and assist groups serving to these contaminated with the virus.
Angy Rabothatha’s cellphone is rarely off. The Tshwane nurse makes round 50 calls a day to sufferers contaminated with Covid-19. She is out there to them after hours, too.
Even on Rabothatha’s birthday – she turned 43 on 20 Might – she fielded calls whereas celebrating beneath lockdown together with her husband Phillimon, a labour agent, and youngsters Mpho, 18, and Mohau, 7. It was a festive day at their house in Soshanguve, with shock items and a dinner of lamb, spinach and savoury rice, malva pudding and cheesecake.
Rabothatha joined the Gauteng Division of Well being in 2007. Three years later she was promoted to district programme coordinator for the kid well being, communicable illness and outbreak response unit. Now she is again at work in her central Pretoria workplace, making calls from eight to 5 and generally even later.
Rabothatha is a part of a Tshwane tracing group of 30 individuals which incorporates nurses, researchers and different volunteers. There are comparable groups throughout the nation.
“I get calls after I’m at house, too,” she says. “I all the time reply. You by no means know, perhaps any individual wants your assist. I by no means put my cellphone off. Fortunately my husband may be very supportive. He’ll be like, ‘Ja neh, higher take that decision, my love.’ When you have got a household who helps you, pursuing your ardour is straightforward.”
Over our WhatsApp name, Rabothatha’s voice is heat and laced with laughter as she talks about her background. Born in Rustenburg, she was largely raised by her granny. When her grandmother handed away, she lived together with her mom, and when her mom handed away, she lived together with her uncle and aunt. “None of them had cash,” says Rabothatha. “However what that they had was love.”
It was her aunt who impressed her profession. “My aunt was an expert nurse. She impressed me. I beloved nursing from an early age. You realize, in matric once you write that essay about what you need to grow to be at some point? I wrote about desirous to grow to be a nurse. I wrote in regards to the distinction I needed to make, the hope I needed to convey into individuals’s lives, the grins I needed to see on their faces. It was in Tswana. I obtained a B for that topic.”
A heartbreaking blow
In October final yr, destiny dealt Rabothatha’s household a heartbreaking blow. Her and Phillimon’s center little one, Tshego, 13, succumbed to problems following bone marrow surgical procedure on the Netcare Unitas hospital in Centurion.
“My youngest son, Tshego’s brother, Mohau, donated the bone marrow,” says Rabothatha. “However a couple of days after the transplant, there have been problems. My son handed away on 6 October. My coronary heart was damaged. I appeared as much as God for energy.
“Tshego obtained sick with leukaemia when he was six years previous. All through his sickness, my son would say: ‘Don’t fear mummy, God is in cost. Don’t fear mummy, this too shall cross.’ He was a robust boy, and he obtained higher, however then went into remission final yr in June,” she says.
Tshego is buried on the Sandfontein cemetery, which Rabothatha passes twice a day, on her approach to work and again.
“I gained’t lie, it’s painful day-after-day,” she says. “It wasn’t straightforward. God is the one one who can mend a damaged coronary heart; God carried us, my husband and I. Believing in God actually helped me get extra compassion for individuals. That love you get, you additionally give it to others.”
Now, Rabothatha is pouring her love into sufferers who check optimistic for Covid-19 – an expert problem like none earlier than.
“Outbreaks, we’ve had up to now. There was meals poisoning right here and there, measles right here and there, however this Covid-19, it’s the largest of all of them,” she says. “So I cope with Covid-19 optimistic instances. We get the record from the Nationwide Institute for Communicable Ailments. Day-after-day they ship the Gauteng record, from which we take the Tshwane instances. It’s an extended, lengthy, record of names. Then we name everybody – we’re a group of about 30 making the calls.
“I name as much as 50 individuals a day. In the event you check optimistic, we need to know when did you do the check. Are you in Pretoria, are you at house, the place are your shut contacts – your loved ones? We need to know your comorbidities, are you able to isolate the place you might be? I imply, a few of these sufferers reside [with] 19 individuals in a home. So we prepare for them to go to an isolation web site. We have now transport that picks them up at house, takes them to the websites, after which again house once more afterwards. After 14 days we name them once more to verify on how they’re. In the event that they’re nicely after 14 days, we shut the file.”
Well being authorities differentiate between quarantine and isolation. Quarantine is the separation and restricted motion of individuals uncovered to Covid-19, to see in the event that they grow to be sick; whereas isolation is for sufferers who’ve examined optimistic for the virus.
“Many individuals who check optimistic for Covid-19 are shocked, a few of them are pissed off,” says Rabothatha. “We reassure them, educate them, inform them what ought to occur. I’m on the cellphone all day. Once we began, I knew all of the sufferers, I might keep in mind all their names. Now there are too many. Nonetheless, these you have got lengthy conversations with, these struggling to simply accept the an infection, those you need to educate; these names keep in your thoughts for a while.”
Born to be a nurse
Highlight first discovered of Rabothatha’s extraordinary work whereas interviewing affected person Bets King on her quarantine expertise at a Johannesburg facility. King, initially from Upington, lives in London together with her husband. She returned to South Africa to rearrange visa paperwork on 28 Might and was positioned beneath quarantine on the Birchwood Resort in Boksburg.
She describes the expertise as an “ordeal”, because the meals didn’t cater for her gluten intolerance. She additionally has an auto-immune sickness – Hashimoto’s illness – which added to the stress of being examined optimistic for Covid-19.
“On the fourth day of quarantine, they gave us the choice of getting a personal or authorities Covid check,” King tells Highlight. “I first opted for the federal government check, then realised it was a nostril swab. The non-public check (at Lancet Laboratories) was a throat swab, which I assumed would harm much less, nevertheless it price R850. I couldn’t afford it, however happily my husband despatched me some cash, and I had it executed.
“The following day, on day 5, everybody’s check outcomes got here again, besides mine. Ultimately at 23:00, I obtained an SMS that I’m optimistic. I phoned my husband and cried my eyes out. The trauma, tears and heartache, I can’t describe. It made no sense, as everybody who had been seated round me on the Qatar flight from London, examined damaging.”
Amid this trauma, King obtained a name from Rabothatha. “Then this nurse Angy from Pretoria referred to as me,” recollects King. “She was such a pleasant particular person, the nicest particular person I had spoken to since I had left London. She was assigned to me by the federal government. She stated to me: ‘Love, are you coughing?’ I stated to her: ‘In fact I’m coughing, I’m a smoker.’ She stated to me: ‘Love, any time day or night time, in case you want me, cellphone me.’ Nurse Angy was an absolute star, the nicest particular person… she was born to be a nurse.”
Later, two extra Covid-19 exams lifted King’s fears because the outcomes got here again damaging. King maintains that in this ordeal, Rabothatha’s kindness was a lone beacon of sunshine.
Nursing is a calling
Talking to Highlight, Rabothatha says she remembers King. “Elizabeth (Bets) was so particular to me. She was crying a lot. She stated I used to be the primary one who would truly take heed to her. She stated she felt so alone. She was so grateful.”
The place does Rabothatha discover the kindness that underpins her work?
“For nursing, it truly is a calling,” she says. “It’s not a money-seeking profession. You even have these impolite individuals neh, these individuals who say: ‘Don’t name me once more! We don’t want your assist.’ However then we name once more. It’s unhappy for us, as we need to be there for everybody. Alternatively, there are these sufferers who’re so appreciative and humble. Human beings will all the time be human beings, you understand.”
Rabothatha certified on the Excelsius Nursing School in Klerksdorp in 2000, the place her favorite topic was group well being. She was not introduced up in a Christian household and solely found God in her tertiary years.
“I realised I needed to stroll this stroll with God,” she says.
This too shall cross
Her recommendation on the coronavirus pandemic?
“The deaths we now have had, sadly it’s largely these sufferers with comorbidities,” says Rabothatha. “However there have been a lot, far more recoveries than deaths, although, which is sweet. I need individuals to know, there’s all the time hope. Testing optimistic isn’t the tip of the world. Don’t panic. There are individuals on the well being division who’re there to assist you. There are individuals strolling with you on this path. Simply keep calm. This too shall cross.” DM/MC