The doctor of a 103-year-old Johannesburg woman who beat Covid-19 said it was “exceptionally remarkable that someone her age survived a pandemic that has ravaged old aged homes throughout the world”.
Kitty Venn, who has been a resident of Ron Smith Care Centre in Lyndhurst for 15 years, tested positive for Covid-19 on July 25 and immediately went in isolation.
Venn, who played tennis until she was 89, finally left isolation on August 7.
“It is exceptionally remarkable that someone of her age has survived a pandemic that has ravaged old ages homes throughout the world,” said Dr Christina Eleftheriades, who cared for her during her time at the centre’s isolation facility.
Venn’s daughter, who was in Australia when South Africa went into lockdown and is still there, said news of her mother’s illness left her feeling extremely anxious, given the distance separating them.
“Fortunately, the care centre’s Sister Leanie Bessinger contacted us daily to report on mom’s condition, which gave us incredible peace of mind,” Carol Cunningham said.
“Huge thanks must go to Dr Mielke, Dr Eleftheriades and Sister Bessinger and her team who tenderly nursed my mom though this awful virus,” said Cunninghmam.
“They made her comfortable, administered her oxygen and for 24/7, nursed her back to health.
“She has now returned to her room. Her carer, Elizabeth Peterson, quickly set to work brushing and styling mom’s hair and putting lipstick, eye shadow, earrings and a necklace on for her return photo.
Caroline said her mother had always been a special lady with a heart of gold. He mother, she said, never complains, is kind and loving, generous and compassionate and never demands anything.
“She always said: ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything’.”
According to Bessinger, Venn remained her usual happy self while in isolation.
“On day three, she started to improve and asked for tea with milk. When we did our rounds, she always gave us a big smile.”
Venn was born Doreen Ruby Mole in Swakopmund, Namibia on April 5, 1917. She grew up in Pretoria where her father was a magistrate. At the end of World War II, she married Oliver Venn, an air force pilot, and they raised their four children in Sandringham.
“She has 18 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren who love her as much as she loves them,” said Carol.
The home said Eleftheriades and her colleague Dr Carmella Mielke worked tirelessly with Ron Smith Care Centre’s dedicated nursing team to ensure Venn and other aged residents who contracted the virus received professional yet loving care.