Like most people I spent March and April of this year scared that my loved ones or myself would contract Coronavirus. We saw frightening scenes on the news. Heard stories of people dying on ventilators in hospital and it was generally a frightening time for all of us.
As time went on and we began to get used to living in this strange new world I began to become less worried for myself and really I only focused on protecting others from getting it. I focused on my general health, worked out more and walked 10-15k steps a day. I felt in pretty good health.
Life seemed to become more normal, nights out with friends resumed and the kids returned to school. It seemed we all had all learned to live with this pandemic. Cases dropped, the death rate in my area dropped to 0. I returned to my day job. Then slowly at first and then all of a sudden things changed again. Cases began to rise. We had to wear masks in shops, which although was the norm in most of the UK was all new to us in Wales and once again we were asked to stay away from other households. Pubs introduced curfews and restrictions and I realised that the time to be more careful was here. Not just with protecting others but also myself. I stopped going on nights out. The only sense of normality that remained was the gym but even there each machine was wiped before and after use and I always showered at home. I felt like I was doing all the right things. I still worried that my parents would get the virus so contact with them was minimal, no physical contact and only sat outside their home. I didn’t really worry that the virus would affect me if I got it. I thought naively it would be like a really bad cold.
It was at the beginning of October that one day I just couldn’t warm up. Then the next day I was full of cold. My nose was blocked, I felt kind of achy and tired. I stopped visiting my parents even outside just to be cautious. A few days later I had a cough, not a bad one but enough for me to order a home test. At this point I genuinely thought I was being over cautious then I lost my sense of smell and taste. I did really think this was down to my cold because my nose was so blocked. When my test result came back positive I was surprised but not worried. If anything I thought I’d get it out of the way. After all I was in my 30’s, a three times a week gym goer and I walked 15k steps a day. I had no major underlying health conditions and I was a healthy weight. I was sure this would feel like a nasty cold and then I’d be done, immune for a while at least and able to just get on with life. Unfortunately I was wrong.
I’m now nearly 10 weeks since I first developed symptoms, 9 weeks after my positive Covid result and my recovery is slow. Most days I get breathless at least 4 to 5 times, sometimes more. Sometimes it’s from putting washing in the tumble dryer or walking up the stairs. Sometimes it’s when I am sat watching telly and I haven’t even moved. My chest pain is still there every single day, my temperature still fluctuates throughout the days and nights and the joint pain, in particular my legs can be agonising at times. The overall feeling each day is one of extreme fatigue. Every morning I wake feeling almost hungover, groggy and as if I have really overdone it at the gym. I’ve barely seen anyone other than my two children in all of that time. I am very lucky in that my family and friends have helped with doorstep deliveries and helping with school runs as I’m not sure how I’d have coped otherwise. I have seen my GP five times, had blood tests, ECG’s and a chest x ray. I’ve had two strong doses of antibiotics, an asthma inhaler and am now on neurological pain tablets for the joint pain. I’ve taken more painkillers than I’ve ever taken in my life.
Some days I feel really low because it feels never-ending but I am also extremely grateful that this is as bad as it has been. For so many others the outcome is far worse. My recovery may be slow but I am, I think and hope, recovering slowly day by day.
But the real reason I wrote this post is to tell you that covid is very real. It doesn’t only affect the elderly or already sick. It can affect you or your families in exactly the same way as it has hit me. Yes I didn’t end up in hospital and for that I am thankful but it has had a significant impact on my life and will likely continue to do that for quite some time.
Here are the symptoms that I have experienced due to Covid. Read it carefully, be aware and stay safe:
Initial symptoms, day 1-3
Feeling very cold
Cold like symptoms, blocked nose and sinus pain. Lost some sense of smell but not all.
Aches all over. Similar to flu. Even wearing the softest of clothes hurt my skin.
The cough began, not continuous but it hurt a lot when I coughed
Skin became more sensitive to the touch
My sense of smell completely went and my taste became impacted too.
My chest had begun to hurt a lot, it felt like I’d been kicked directly in the centre of my chest.
I had a temperature. It varied between 37.8 – 38.9 at its worst, this was whilst taking painkillers regularly.
The aches remained but my leg pain became a lot worse. It affected my sleep and I just felt in pain all day long.
The breathlessness began. This was the scariest of all of the symptoms and is still ongoing. Being unable to breathe properly panics you, I’ll never take it for granted again.
All other symptoms remained and other than the sore throat and cough which thankfully has eased and the temperature which is mostly ok they don’t seem to be going anywhere.
If you are in doubt about any symptoms you may have try and get tested, if you cant get tested at least isolate yourself to protect others. Some people won’t be able to beat this. We all have a responsibility to protect each other.