‘God knew we need each other’: Couple beat Covid-19 after 40-plus days in hospital
Togetherness, prayer and fighting to stay alive for their children and granddaughter is what helped a Bloemfontein couple pull through their Covid-19 battle in hospital.
Days after returning from a wedding in the Eastern Cape, Fernando and his wife Lu-Anne Kruger started what they described as an emotional and difficult journey back to good health.
The couple, who have been married for more than 30 years, both tested positive for Covid-19.
Lu-Anne was the first to test positive in their household on May 10.
“Immediately I knew I am also positive because my wife and I are always together. I also went on the medication, and the doctor advised me to test. I tested positive a few days later.
“Besides the doctor’s prescription, we tried all the remedies people suggested. We even bought a nebuliser and an oxygen meter to monitor our oxygen levels,” Fernando said.
Fernando said his wife’s oxygen levels started deteriorating and she had to be rushed to Busamed Bram Fischer International Airport Hospital, where she was admitted.
“Four days later, my oxygen levels started dropping and I immediately called the doctor, but she told me Busamed was full. I asked her to please make a plan because I wanted to be with my wife. A few minutes later she called back and said there was one bed available. I got into the car with my son and rushed to the hospital.”
Their luck held as he was admitted to the same ward as his wife, where they fought their way back to good health.
However, they were handed a blow when Lu-Anne’s health started weakening.
“We were still chatting and making jokes when my wife told me she is not getting enough oxygen and her body started shaking. I started to panic and called the nurses. They called the doctor and rushed her to ICU.”
Fernando said before his wife left for ICU, she told him: “Foen [nickname], I am sorry, but I fought hard and tried my best.”
At one point I started crying and prayed to God take me instead and spare my wife.Fernando Kruger
“At that moment I realised this might be the last time I see my wife alive again. She might be coming back in a body bag. I was wondering if I should tell my kids or wait or take it upon myself and fight through this. So many things went through my head.”
Fernando said he broke the news of her weakened condition to their two children when they video called him and wanted to speak to their mother.
“The type of person I am, I always want to be in control, but there [in hospital] you don’t have control over anything. I felt helpless and powerless. At one point I started crying and prayed to God to take me instead and spare my wife because she was in a better position to look after and guide our two children and our granddaughter.
“These are the type of things that play in your head. Last year a close friend died of Covid-19 in the same hospital and I kept wondering in which bed did he lie? In which bed did he die? The devil was playing mind tricks.”
During her two-day stay in ICU, Lu-Anne spent most of her time praying.
“It felt like I was in a trance and you are constantly sweating. I felt my tears running and I started calling God’s name.”
One evening, Lu-Anne said she heard a woman, who was behind closed curtains in the ICU ward, praying out loud.
“I still said ‘amen’ after she prayed. After a while it grew quiet. The next day, the bed was empty. She had died. I was shocked when I realised someone died next to me. I believe my miracle happened right there because I started getting better very quickly.
“You feel so defenceless and are suffering because your body is going through so much pain. I was crying like a small child, that’s how difficult it was. I am a Christian and believer, but in my entire life I have never prayed so hard to God and asked for mercy.”
Fernando said he was in disbelief when they pushed his wife’s bed back to the post-Covid recovery wards.
“I couldn’t believe this was the same woman they pushed out close to dying. When they looked at her oxygen levels, they were far better than mine. It was remarkable and from then on we just got better.”
We are now closer than ever before. We went through so much.Lu-Anne Kruger
After weeks in the post-Covid recovery ward, the couple had to undergo intense physiotherapy at EmoyaMed Private Hospital.
Then, 45 days after she had been admitted to hospital, the Krugers were told they could go home.
“We travelled through deep waters and we learnt how to hold hands and pray together again,” Fernando said.
“I want to tell people to learn from us. Don’t attend parties and nice times. Stay at home and look after yourself. Let us first overcome this virus because it is going to take commitment and sacrifices.”
Lu-Anne said: “God was really good to us and today we are alive and thankful. People need to realise this virus is going to be with us for a very long time.
“We are closer than ever before. We went through so much and God knew we needed each other and had to travel on this journey together.”