Health

‘My husband couldn’t breathe’: Durban nurse mourns as husband dies of Covid-19 after 29 days on a ventilator

“I am not angry at God and the universe. I am angry at this virus. How dare it take away my husband.”

A Durban nurse has mourned her husband she loved for 28 years after losing him to Covid-19.

“We look at the numbers on TV and everyone is saying the numbers are not too bad. But until you can humanise that number and put a face to it, one person who gets it and dies is one too many. My husband couldn’t breathe. The machine had to breathe for him for 29 days. He is never coming back,” said Tracy Harman.

Harman’s husband, Anton, an operational specialist trainer at the SA Revenue Service, died on May 21.

Tracy, a nurse at Durban’s St Augustine’s Hospital, and her daughter tested positive a few days after he did. They did not know where they contracted the virus.

Though their symptoms were mild, Anton’s fever wouldn’t break. When he went to hospital on April 22, she told him: “You’ll come back to me, OK?”.

The next call she received was to inform her that her husband was placed on a ventilator. On May 8, his oxygen levels dropped and she was “called in”. Dressed in full personal protective equipment, she “sat at the desk and spoke to him. He had a video monitor next to him. I couldn’t hold his hand.”

On May 15, Harman and her daughter, Thea, “pleaded” with her husband to live. “They put the monitor by his ear, we spoke to him and pleaded with him. I told my daughter to say what she needed to say.”

Six days later, he died. Only 20 relatives attended his funeral.

“I am not angry at God and the universe. I am angry at this virus. How dare it take away my husband.”

 

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