My Settlers Hospital experience


Ilze Curling shares her Settlers Hospital experience.

A week ago, Ilze Curling was rushed from the farming area where she lives to Settlers Hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Here, she shares her experience. In publishing this, we hope to reassure readers who may be wondering about the facilities, Covid safety protocols and the care they’re likely to receive should they need to be admitted there.

On Friday the 13th (nogal!)  I had to go in for an emergency appendectomy. Port Elizabeth was an option, but my GP advised that Covid cases are currently soaring there and he assured me that I’d be in good hands at Settlers.

I stumbled in about 9. The security/Covid protocols were tight and my better half had to sweet-talk his way to see me off at the ward.

A sister and nurse asked 100 questions – which is protocol before an operation. It had been organised that my file be opened, ready for when I got there so it was just standard questions to be added.

While I waited for the doctor to arrive, on the half hour, a cleaner would come into the ward and mop and wipe down EVERYTHING. I was so impressed.

Our ward was full – eight patients – but still social distancing was kept between beds.  All staff and patients wore masks at all times – which makes answering questions and hearing the questions somewhat tricky (not to mention my language barrier).  I quickly had the room giggling with the little Xhosa I know and it created a less stressful atmosphere.

I was wheeled to the theatre at about 11 and the short “ride” there was comfortable, warm and the nurses “smacking me on the hands” for still having my earrings and ring on (last thing you think of when going into an emergency op!)

Also the gel nail polish on my nails was an issue and I had them in stitches saying that they dare not scratch my freshly manicured R300 nails off. They bagged my jewellery and “parked” me in the pre-op room, where certain questions had to be double-checked.

I met with the anaesthetist who is an absolute gem –  we were making jokes the whole time while getting set up.

I remember lying there thinking HOW CLEAN IS THIS!!…IMMACULATE!

A nurse said he was going to give me oxygen –  and that was it. I woke up back in pre-op and then was gently wheeled back to the ward, where I slept off the drowsiness. Nurses checked on me often.

My doctor came to check up on me and said she is happy for me to be discharged the same day. The sisters wanted me to stay – but I was ready to sleep in my own bed again. At 4pm they brought my meds to take home, schooled me on what is allowed and not and then walked me to the entrance.

The ONLY observation – not complaint – would be that there is a shortage of gowns and I had to wait till just before I was wheeled to theatre to get mine. Although clean, they are very old and somewhat stained.


‘What if I have to go to hospital?’ – the situation at Settlers this week

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