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Meet COVID-19 heroine Monica Adams

Written by Allison Cooper

Despite almost dying   after contracting the Coronavirus Disease, a brave and inspiring nurse continues to fight the pandemic on the frontlines.

South Africa has many heroes and heroines that have gone above and beyond the call of duty during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. One of these inspirational people, who is admired by many, is Tygerberg Hospital’s enrolled nurse Monica Adams (60).

Even though she is at high risk of serious complications from COVID-19, as she suffers from high blood pressure and weak lungs, Adams continues to put herself in the virus’ firing line to help her patients.

Her journey during the pandemic has been far from easy, especially as she has already contracted COVID-19 and was extremely lucky to survive.

“I was diagnosed with COVID-19, hospitalised and ventilated for four weeks. I then underwent rehabilitation for two weeks, as I could not walk,” says Adams. Monica Adams has put her own life at risk to care for others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have family members with two small children at home, whom I care for. But, because of my constant awareness of this virus, my family members were not infected by me. They were, however, affected by my hospitalisation as they didn’t know if I would come back home,” she adds.

Love for the job

Instead of being fearful of going back to work after recovering from COVID-19, Adams says she felt excited to return after such a long time away.

“I was and still am cautious when working with patients who have COVID-19 symptoms. I continue to do my job because I love my work. I do everything with love, to the best of my ability,” she says.

Born in Cradock, in the Eastern Cape, Adams now lives in Delft on the outskirts of Cape Town. She says it’s an honour for her to motivate the hospital’s staff members who feel demotivated or have a low morale as a result of the pandemic.

“I am living proof that we can survive this virus,” she says.

A nurse for the past 35 years, Adams says she loves to help people.

“It was always my childhood passion. I love to assist people in need. I love working daily with patients, giving them advice and encouraging them.

“It gives me great pleasure and warms my heart to nurse a patient who cannot do it for themselves.”

Experience on the frontline

Adams says her experience on the frontline since COVID-19 hit South Africa in March last year has been very overwhelming, especially in the beginning.

“We did not know anything about this virus. We could not see or smell it, but it was very real. We were terrified, but kept the faith and had to move forward as a team,” says Adams.

She has had to be cautious at work every day because want to protect her family at home.

“When cases were rising in the beginning it scared me, but as a nurse, I had to pull through and pray that I would be okay at the end of the day.”

Adams has learnt many lessons during the pandemic which, she says, has drawn her closer to her patients and their needs.

“I have learnt to have more patience, to live in the moment and to make the best of each moment. I have also learnt to be more thankful. We need to appreciate each another.”

Play your part

Her message to South Africans during the third wave of the virus is to be very careful.

“If you can stay at home, please do. Always wear a mask when going out and adhere to social distancing.

“Wash or sanitise your hands frequently, stay away from crowds and avoid social gatherings,” says Adams.

She adds that health workers are putting their lives at risk daily to care for their fellow South Africans.

“We care about you, that’s why we are at work every day and risk our lives for you. Take care of us by adhering to the COVID-19 precautionary measures,” says Adams.

She has already received her COVID- 19 vaccine and is looking forward to the majority of the population also receiving their doses as government’s vaccine programme progresses.

“I urge everyone to go and get vaccinated as soon as they can, to protect yourself against this virus and prevent being hospitalised,” she says.