Lifestyle / Family

Ziphezinhle Msimango
4 minute read
3 Apr 2020
6:10 pm

#SALOCKDOWN: Taking my daughter to the doctor

Ziphezinhle Msimango

Read this mom's account of taking her daughter to the doctor during these trying times.

Since March 26 South Africans joined the rest of the world in being the latest country that’s been told to stay home and I haven’t left my house for six days since the lockdown started. Like most people all over the world and in SA,  I’ve been feeling a rising level of anxiety, which started ever so slowly, as we’ve gone longer into this once in a lifetime experience. Watching the reality of this pandemic from my television screen, following for hours on end as news channels broadcast a new update on the number of infections, deaths, and recoveries etc, at first, felt surreal, like something out of a movie. Far from here. It was over there in Italy, US, Spain,Wuhan and the UK. Posing no threat to us. Then it arrived in SA. But it was over there in Durban. They had traveled overseas. We were home so it was still far from here – where we were.

Then suddenly one case became over a thousand  so when President Ramaphosa announced the lockdown my spirit fell. But still I ignored the fact that, the once slight anxiety, had suddenly turned into a much heavier anxiety and dread.  Since the lockdown, still watching it from the relative ‘safety’ of home has helped me cope- and its almost felt like each day as I close my kitchen door, switched off the TV, and turned in  for the night with my two kids, I could still convincingly pretend that this ‘movie’ wasn’t real. It was far away from me and my family. Until my nine year old daughter needed to go see the doctor. When she first mentioned she wasn’t well i tried to ignore her for the first day, dreading the thought of stepping outside like there was a boogie man beyond the gate, until eventually she was too sick for me to keep pretending she was fine.

READ: 9 questions parents have about the coronavirus answered

So yesterday my daughter Ewetse and I,  stepped out for the first time in over a week, to go to a Medicross we always go to when we need the doctor.  But this time, the experience of going there was nothing like what we’re normally used to because what I saw there brought this movie that i had been watching from my couch into reality- a stark stark reality.

To begin with when we arrived there was a large screening tent outside – this is normally not the case. Ofcourse we soon realise the tent is a safety measure where we’re asked – by someone on the other  side of a screen- to sanitise then fill in our personal details on the patient log. This I figured,  is so that they can let you know if someone who has been there when you were there, subsequently tests positive for covid. After signing the register I walked into the clinic with an even bigger sense of dread. Never before has the seemingly innocent act of interacting with another human being put so much at stake.

Once inside the clinic we’re then asked, by fully masked front line reception staff, to stand at the designated metres away from the counter and as such I almost ‘shout’ the personal details they need to retrieve my file. We then go onto the doctors room. The doctor opens the door and he’s an older doctor.  Now in my mind all I can think about is how on the news it said older people are more susceptible to getting gravely ill  from the coronavirus. So suddenly I walk in trying to stay as far away from him as possible as he’s opening the door because now I’m concerned if he’s not worried that, by being around him, we as patients are putting him at risk and we don’t even know it. He must have seen how uncomfortable i was during that consultation but he must be used to dealing with scared patients during these strange times we’re currently living in because he is quite relaxed and makes the experience easier than it had been up to that point of entering his office. And there in the consulting room for a moment in everything was ‘normal’. Just like all the times we’d been here before.

On the upside, as we we’re in there and my daughter is excitedly explaining her symptoms  ( she loves taking medicine weirdly) I realised that as a mom, that the heaviest part of my fear, about how this situations is affecting my children, has no power because children are more resilient than we give them credit for. To my daughter Ewetse this visit was just awesome because it came with a side of medicine for her and a lollipop.

It’s over a month from March 5 when patient zero was announced in SA and I must admit, for the first time, in this column I can confess that all of this is taking a mental and physical toll on me and probably many of you. I now realise though that the mere act of acknowledging that I am anxious about all of this-relieves the mental weight of it. Stay safe. Stay blessed.

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