Even though many have been fearing the unknown, doctors and nurses had to face it head-on, giving hope to the millions of South Africans who were sitting at home trying to protect themselves from contracting the virus.
Dr Swanepoel, who runs a private surgery in Makhanda as a general practitioner, is one of the service-led individuals that gave the community hope during the lockdown and when fear of the unknown was at the highest. Attending to high volumes of patients on the ground and also online.
In the process of working hard serving the people, he became a victim of this novel virus, COVID19.
“Getting COVID has made me re-evaluate the importance of life insurance and family,” says Dr Marinus Jacob Swanepoel after weeks of closing down his surgery, while fighting COVID and being nursed by his wife back to health.
In a post shared on his Facebook page, he says “at the height of my own COVID crisis I was never able to completely remove myself from my responsibilities and give my body the rest that it needs. Now things have fallen in place and I have been able to pay attention to my work.”
Running and owning a private surgery made it difficult for the doctor to focus on his healing. He found himself doing consultations online, and this strained him, leading to him having to shut down all activities and focus on his healing.
He says, “I had a minor setback over the weekend which although not dangerous, was enough to make me reconsider my commitments. It is much easier to "make the right decision" when you don't know if you would live or die. Now that I have a clearer expectation of what the future may hold there is a greater urgency within me to "play the long game".
This pandemic has forced a lot of changes in our lives, from the way businesses are run to thinking twice before interacting with people. The rules and regulations that come with the pandemic and general safety led to enforcing changes in the normal way of operating.
In his surgery, Dr Swanepoel says the new changes include the time which the surgery will open to changes such as "appointments are screened. People with non-respiratory complaints are given an appointment. Those with the potential to have COVID are first engaged over WhatsApp and tested if necessary.”
Seeing the strain and burden placed on the frontlines, it is our duty as the public to make the lives of those who are serving us easier by adhering to the rules that have been set.
With continuous support and updates for his patients on social media, the doctor had kept his clients abreast when it came to his progress and new adjustments for the surgery.
We thank and acknowledge the commitment of Dr Swanepoel, Doctors, Nurses, and workers on the front line.