Since March 2020, my husband, Richard, and I, had been in virtual isolation. All essentials were being delivered from the local food outlets.
We walked daily, as permitted, saw only our children and grandchildren when allowed, and when pubs were open we didn’t go in, or even have a coffee out – we were very careful.
However, after the second lockdown in early December, Richard went to barbers and had to use a cash machine because the barbershop didn’t have one. That was five days before the onset of our symptoms.
Richard started feeling unwell. He had cold-like symptoms – a runny nose and aches. After five days he felt better and we went for a walk. I started to feel unwell with a violent headache and by the time we got home I felt achy and odd.
The next day I had stomach cramps, a slight temperature, was still achy and had terrible muscle fatigue. Although neither Richard nor I satisfied the NHS test criteria for Covid-19 – we didn’t have a cough or lack of taste – I had a test and it was positive.
Richard tested after me, as he was feeling worse, and he was positive too. It’s likely that I caught Covid-19 from him.
We called our GP who was brilliant. He put us on Dorset Healthcare monitoring, and we received finger oxygen monitors. We had to note blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature three times a day and were called daily for a progress report. It gave us enormous confidence to know somebody was on hand to give us advice. Track and Trace also called asking our prior movements, which was interesting because we felt like ‘Billy No Mates’! However, on our walk we had chatted briefly to a couple we knew, so they were contacted and asked to isolate. Track and Trace called three times and offered help with food, and informed us of financial support whilst isolating.
I didn’t have a cough, or trouble breathing, my symptoms were different, but the monitoring showed my oxygen levels had dropped ‘silently’. I felt very dizzy, very sick and a had a terrible feeling of something clamping on my chest, and shortness of breath on climbing the stairs. Muscle aches were huge and I couldn’t walk without feeling awful.
The drop in oxygen was a concern and to avoid the chance of silent hypoxia – where levels drop without you realising – an ambulance was called. Silent hypoxia can cause Covid pneumonia requiring help with oxygen. Older age groups are more susceptible.
My worst moment was being in the ambulance on my own feeling poorly, alone and scared. I thought of my late mum and sister. Two birds flew close to the door of the ambulance and I thought, I’m not ready to go, so I shouted at ‘Covid’ and said “No way are you going to beat me, I will win,” and then I swore at ‘Covid’ which amused the ambulance crew.
At hospital I had an ECG, a chest x-ray, and lots of attention. I didn’t need oxygen. I was checked and monitored in a small ward to find out if I needed to be admitted. The whole process was excellent and the staff were incredible – tired, but smiley faces, reassuring and attentive – especially the consultant who sat and chatted explaining about Covid. He had been very poorly too, so told me how he got through it.
I cannot praise the staff enough, bearing in mind when I went in to hospital it was quiet compared to the peak of the third wave.
The atmosphere, though, was unpleasant, people were coming in crying and scared, and some couldn’t breathe. The staff were angels, constantly reassuring.
Not knowing if I was going to get worse was my biggest worry. I was on day seven and was told that mild and younger cases would start to recover at this time, but if things were going to get worse, it was likely to happen between days seven to nine. If neglected, people can get into trouble as silent hypoxia sets. I was very grateful to have been monitored and checked. Luckily I was able to return home four hours later.
After two weeks I started to feel a little better. It was a quiet Christmas as you can imagine. I had lost three kilograms, felt very weak and extremely tired.
The monitoring continued for two weeks. I cannot praise the NHS enough, the service we received gave us confidence and reassurance. Thank you Dr Oxley and thank you Poole Hospital.
It took three weeks to feel ‘normal’ again and we started walking but it was hard. Before Covid we would walk a minimum five kilometres most days, often 10–14km, so to not to be able to walk further than the end of our road was a shock.
Post-Covid is very real. I feel I have recovered well, but Richard, even now doesn’t feel well, which is interesting because I had worse symptoms than him. He still suffers with aches, muscle cramp and pain, and has endured tummy sickness and shivers. They warned me in hospital this can happen for months. I feel okay just very tired at times, but recently managed a seven kilometre walk.
I do not feel back to normal, Covid has left me feeling far more negative. I’m usually such a positive person and I feel more sedate. I get very tired after little effort and there is brain fog – I can’t process things in my mind as quickly as I used to, and I’m a bit forgetful. Anxiety is worse, but I think that’s the same for most people currently.
It has made me address my age, which is 60. Until Covid, I never felt I was at the elderly end of the spectrum, but it made me realise I am, and that was quite a revelation.
For me, the worst symptoms were, aches, muscle pain, clamping on chest, and an awful taste in mouth. The doctor called it “The taste of Covid.”
Neither Richard nor I had typical symptoms – I never had a cough, Richard’s cough was slight. This was interesting because he would normally get very bad cough and be wheezy with a common cold.
This virus is evil. It affects people in so many different ways. It’s not just ‘a flu’ as people say, it’s far worse. I know some people mostly younger who have had milder symptoms, so it does seem to affect you more the older you are.
The doctor told me it loves fatter and older people, but now we are hearing of very fit young people suffering badly.
We now take vitamins C, D and Zinc. Despite having Covid, we’re still very cautious because reports vary about the immunity afterwards. We are continuing washing our shopping, in fact, it has made me quite paranoid.
You don’t want to get it full stop.
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