“This is the new normal but history shows that human beings can overcome – and we shall”.
So says September La Meyer of Kraaifontein, who works as a driver at Tygerberg Hospital.
He is responsible for transporting linen from the hospital to the Western Cape laundry and also helps around the grounds and with gardening services. Mr La Meyer has been employed at Tygerberg Hospital for 41 years.
“Learning to wear a mask and visor and practise social distancing as part of my work is a new experience. My work is concentrated more on the grounds than within buildings. I’ve adapted quite well to change as I did not see it as foreign,” says Mr La Meyer.
Asked what motivates him to come to work every day, he says it’s been the knowledge that with his duties he is supporting the other staff to ensure that patients are ultimately cared for. “We are all connected in a chain. Any of my family could become a patient and I will therefore be assisting them in the work environment as well,” he says.
“Providing us with the necessary PPE (personal protective equipment), hand sanitisers, training, information leaflets, emails has helped. We have created a WhatsApp group where information is relayed so that there are no delays and it minimises the use of paper and contact,” says Mr La Meyer.
“My supervisors have provided vital emotional support when I did not understand the new normal and became anxious,” he adds.
He encourages people to listen to what they are supposed to do by following procedures.
“I know that the patients are scared, so are we but we as the staff are here to help in any way we can. We need to remain positive as anxiety can cripple us emotionally,” says Mr La Meyer.