OK, so this is going to be rather different – it’s not my words, but the words of a friend of mine, the lovely Corma Holmes, who has quite fantastically kept her Covid diary through her illness. It’ll be very familiar to some, and hopefully enlightening to others. Corma, thank you for letting me publish your story.
7 January: Tested positive for Covid today 😦
COVID Day #1 :
As part of my work as a carer I have a Covid test every week. This week’s test was done on Tuesday and my results came back ‘inconclusive’ on Wednesday morning. Since I was unable to return to work without a negative test result, I had to book another test at a ‘drive in’ centre. I managed to get an appointment 20 miles away at the Oxford parkway park and ride.
The evening was dark and there were hundreds of cones and signs up at the testing centre. It was confusing to drive around. White tents and men & women with high viz jackets were all over the place, holding up little signs. Bless them it was freezing cold!!
It was all pretty efficient with a QR code on my phone which they were able to scan through my closed window. Boom, I was on to the next white tent where they posted the test through the passenger window. Staff shouted directions at me through closed windows. Testing was easy – 10 seconds swabbing my throat and 10 seconds twirling the stick up my nose – done. It always gives me such a weird feeling, like I have been sneezing hard.
On to the next white tent where my barcode was scanned and the QR code & test were linked together. I then had to post my tests in a box and that was the end of it.
The next morning I woke up with a runny nose and a tight chest, as well as a headache, plus the occasional cough. Thankfully I did not have to wait long for my results. And yes, I tested positive. With your test results, you also receive an immediate order to isolate for 10 days; so that is us all locked up in the house until the 17th now.
Throughout the day, my symptoms continued to be mild, but as the evening closed in I just could not get warm. Here is me sitting in front of my fire wrapped in 2 blankets. I felt freezing cold, but strangely did not register a fever. I dosed up on my vitamins and some paracetamol and slept well. Here ends part 1 of my Club Covid experience.
Remember: Stay home – Protect the NHS – Save lives
COVID Day #2 : Covid is like a Trojan Horse.
It sneaks past your defence system and your body hasn’t a clue what to make of it. Before you know it, under cover of darkness, its vile little soldiers are racing around your body, killing its inhabitants and turning them into more of their own. It is like a zombie film on a minuscule scale. I wonder how far those little zombies have already infected me? How many more of their little mates are marching through my organs right now wreaking havoc with my cells? Not a clue.
I can’t decide of my body is doing a good job, or a bad job of dealing with them spiky little critters?? Is the fact that I don’t have a fever a good thing, or does it mean that the trojans are continuing their work undetected. Unlike most people, I guess I have the advantage of catching the infection early and so it is interesting to me to see what happens next.
Talking about symptoms, day 2 started out much the same as before, some chills, a headache, a runny nose, a tight chest and the occasional cough, but still NO high fever or continuous cough as advertised. In the evening I developed 2 new symptoms: > Burning and watery eyes> Sinus pain right to the top of my head, Thankfully I DO still have my sense of taste and smell and celebrated this fact with a lovely takeaway from Chilly & Pepper.
As well as the symptoms, I also wanted to talk briefly about the NHS track and trace system. When you test positive a number of things happen. First of all, you receive your positive notification via text and email. After this, you will be asked to complete a track and trace questionnaire. It takes quite a bit of time to fill it all in. They want to know who you live with, who else you spent time with, where you have worked, shopped etc. As well as that, you also receive separate emails offering help with isolation and contact information for NHS volunteers who can go shopping for you if you have no local friends or family. Lastly, they send you an email with a link that allows you to create an ‘isolation notice’ which you can send to your employer as proof. All very efficient I thought.
The trickiest thing so far has been the sudden 10 day isolation. Not that we were able to go many places during lockdown, but still… We normally shop at the weekend and our cupboards were bare. No delivery slots were available for 3 weeks. Thankfully our friends have been wonderful and are keeping us supplied with everything we need and we have secured a click & collect slot for next week. Yay!! So that is the end of yesterdays adventures at Club Covid.
Remember: Stay home – Protect the NHS – Save lives
COVID Day #3 : Happy hypoxia
Back in May 2020, I read a very interesting article in the Guardian online. It described a phenomenon doctors call ‘happy hypoxia’. From what I understand, it means that the oxygen percentage in your blood can go way below the ‘safe limit’ without you noticing it, because you can breathe in an out with ease.
I remember being fascinated by this at the time and when I tested positive, I thought it would be helpful for me and my family to get one of those oximeter thingies. An oximeter is a little gadget that you put on your finger and it measures the percentage of oxygen in your blood. Turns out you can pick one up for less than £20 and that is not a big price to pay for some added peace of mind.
So having picked up one of these babies at Amazon, I had a pleasure of playing with it all evening. Popping it on and off and taking MANY a measurement. Like some home science experiment. According to the NHS website, a normal pulse ox is between 95 – 100% and I know that when I have used these before at work, mine is approx 98 – 99%.
I was therefore quite surprised that all evening the number hovered around 92 – 93%. My trusted oracle: Dr Google told me that is on the low side, but interestingly I did not feel breathless or uncomfortable breathing in any way. I did have an odd feeling in my chest on breathing in. It reminded me of when we used to go skiing. That feeling you get when the crips mountain air hits your lungs. That is what it felt like (and still does now). Apart from that, I still have my taste and smell and still NO fever or persistent cough. The headache still lingers though.
Thus ends Day 3 of my experience at Club Covid.
Remember: Stay home – Protect the NHS – Save lives
COVID Day #4 : A new day, a new symptom.
Day 4 brought an interesting mix of new and some distressing symptoms. First of all I had a low grade fever throughout the day and felt very sleepy. I was also back to being very cold and so spent most of the day wrapped in several blankets. The evening however brought some less welcome symptoms such as a drop in O2 saturation, which left me feeling somewhat breathless and light headed. It was an unpleasant sensation. However I did discover that sitting up and leaning forward brought some relief and allowed me to breathe more deeply and increase my O2 by a few percentage points. The breathlessness is odd, because it is not hard to breathe. The lungs are moving perfectly fine and there is NO congestion, crackling, pain or discomfort on breathing in or out. Yet the oxygen is not getting through to the blood as it should.
Having the oximeter really helped me stay calm and in control and I made a plan to ring 111 if the % went too far down. Thankfully I did not have to resort to that. Sleep came quickly and I only woke up once to get some paracetamol as the fever had returned during the night.
So ends another day in Club Covid.
Remember: Stay home – Protect the NHS – Save lives.
COVID Day #5 : Casa de Covid
Let me start today’s update by saying that: Covid is VERY catchy. The tricky thing is that you are already shedding the virus before you are showing symptoms. Once you get a positive test you are then instantly stuck at home, isolating with your family for the next 10 days. Let me tell you that protecting your family whilst isolating in your home is virtually impossible. We live in a small home, we have one bathroom and no spare rooms to use for isolation. Even if we can keep some distance, we are breathing the same air and using the same facilities.
Given those facts, it was no great surprise that yesterday my hubby woke up with his very own Covid symptoms. He went and had a test and got his results back today: Positive.
Thankfully his symptoms are reasonably mild and he seems to be doing okay. My youngest son also had a test today and I am expecting that he will also come back positive.
The good news is that my breathing and O2 saturation has improved significantly, which is a BIG relief. The other symptoms are still ongoing, including the low grade fever, a headache and a runny nose.
I also have sprung another very unexpected new symptom which is hyper sensitive skin. I can literally feel the touch of my clothing on my back and the glasses perched on my nose. When I touch my hair it is like every hair follicle shouts a tiny little ‘ouch’. This virus does some very strange things with your body.
Before I sign off, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all my friends and family far and wide for their lovely comments and messages. It is very comforting to know that you are all there a virtual click away. Please keep commenting, it is very nice to hear from you all. Much appreciating all the love and sending virtual hugs back to you all
Stay home – Protect the NHS – Save lives.
COVID Day #6 : The importance of numbers
A friend asked me an interesting question yesterday. She asked why members of my family needed their own Covid test to prove they were positive. She wondered if really they could just be sick at home and continue to isolate until they were better. It was an excellent question and one that deserves some attention.
In the first wave of the pandemic, back in March & April of 2020, testing was not really available to the general public. The only time when you were likely to get a test, is if you ended up in hospital with severe symptoms. The testing capacity just wasn’t there and the country was scrambling to get some kind of a system in place. I remember that there was some estimation, or should I say guess-timation going on to try and figure out how many people had actually had been ill with the virus at home. Without knowing exact numbers, it was virtually impossible for the R number to be accurately calculated. Equally, it was difficult to anticipate the percentage of people that would end up in the hospital.
The more accurate information we have, the better we as a country can respond to the pandemic. Infection rates serve as an early warning system for our NHS and for government to know what restrictions need to be put in place to slow down the spread of the virus. It is therefore very important for as many cases as possible to be identified so that our invisible enemy is exposed and not allowed to quietly continue its destructive path.
In terms of my family, we have now 3 confirmed positive cases and one inconclusive result. My hubby seems to have made a very swift recovery from it all. I have stopped being feverish, but am now plagued by an annoying cough, a tight chest and dizziness. I still don’t feel my old self and my tummy is also upset. Grrr, I am getting fed up with all these stupid symptoms and am ready to feel better again! Come on Covid… CLEAR OFF ALREADY!!
At least my O2 sats are good, so I won’t worry too much about the other weird symptoms.Thus ends another day in Club Covid.
Stay safe everyone! xxx
COVID Day #7 : Is this the new strain?
I spoke with a representative from NHS test and trace today. They have rung several times now to check up on us all and to make sure we are still okay isolating at home. Maureen and I got talking about the many weird symptoms of Covid and how none of us here, have experienced the classic symptoms of a high fever, continuous cough or loss of taste and smell. She told me that as of recently, more and more people had been reporting a whole host of random symptoms, including the skin sensitivity and chills. We wondered if maybe the new strain of the virus might have something to do with the changing landscape of symptoms. Here are some the main symptoms we have experienced in the last week:
> Low O2 saturation (90%) & breathlessness > Chills (low grade fever) > Headache> Sore throat > Dizziness > Fatigue > Feeling nausea / diarrhoea > Skin sensitivity > Sinus pain & runny nose > Occasional cough
Though the chills were back last night, I feel that I am turning the corner. I do still have a mild headache, with accompanying dizziness, plus I feel weak and flimsy. My O2 sats are fine in the high 90’s so that is comforting. The fatigue is annoying, though not surprising, as my body has been fighting the good fight. Here is to feeling better today!
Stay safe everyone x
COVID Day #8 : Running on empty
Having started yesterday in a cautiously optimistic fashion, I soon found myself tumbling down the Covid rabbit hole again. All evening my O2 sats kept dropping down to 91 – 92% making me feel rubbish all over again.
I took some Aspirin and went to bed and slept reasonably well, waking up once or twice, feeling a little breathless. This morning my sats are creeping back up slowly, but every activity feels like an effort. My chest still feels tight and I have been coughing more. Despite this set back, I feel positive and calm.
I am due to go back to work on Monday when my quarantine period officially ends, but given how I feel right now, I am not sure if I will have the energy for a ‘full on’ shift. On the upside Dave is back to work (from home) today, he appears to have only had a mild case of it, which is a relief.
I wanted to end this update by thanking all my lovely friends and family who are praying for us all. Thank you, we appreciate it
The Covid 19 virus really is a nasty critter, not to be messed with! Don’t take your chances – prevention is better than cure. Don’t meet with others indoors, wash your hands, wear a mask and follow the rules. Stay safe everyone! xxx
COVID Day #9 : Home care for Covid
I am going to start today with a quick update. All day yesterday my O2 Sats were between 93 and 95% and I was feeling very tired. After waking at 8, I went back to bed at 10 and slept till 12:30. I tried to eat some soup for lunch, but had to abandon that half way through, as it was too much effort to eat it all. I just ended up sitting at the kitchen table with my head in my hands feeling wrung out like a wet dishcloth.
In the afternoon I started feeling a bit better and managed finally to eat something a bit more substantial at dinner. Though at 8:30 I felt exhausted again and slept on the sofa for a good hour or more.
Ben is also still feeling the effects of the Covid and has been off his food (not like him) and feeling dizzy and tired. His O2 sats were up yesterday, which is good.
Though, I was not up to much yesterday I did come across a good article in The Guardian yesterday. It is well worth reading. I could have done with at the beginning of our Covid adventure. Here it is: https://www.theguardian.com/…/how-to-care-for-people…
That is all for now my lovely friends. Stay safe. Love you all xxx
COVID Day #10 : Asymptomatic, Mild, Moderate, Severe & Critical
In the medical community, the severity of Covid is divided roughly into these 5 ‘levels’ ranging from asymptomatic to critical. To see what each of these levels looks like in reality, hop on over to patient.info which is a very useful site.
How Covid affects you, appears to be much like a lottery. You cannot tell beforehand how good or bad your body is going to deal with the infection.
Throughout my personal Covid experience, by far the most worrying and frustrating symptom I have endured is the low O2 saturation and the constant feeling of breathlessness and tightness on the chest. All the other symptoms have been easily managed with some paracetamol and rest.
I feel a bit like a broken record by repeating myself over and over again, but I am still not back to my old self.
After a chat with NHS track and trace today, they have decided to extend my quarantine period, since I still have some symptoms they are not happy with. So that is me stuck at home for a little while longer. I have found a new series to watch on Netflix, so that is me sorted for today. Silver linings indeed!
Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you are all keeping nice and safe in your own homes. Remember: your best defence is your own front door.
Lots of love xxx Corma
COVID Day #11 : Stuck in isolation
Following a call with my GP, I discovered that I can come out of isolations tomorrow. Yay!! I might see if my dog fancies a short walk.
I still feel very weak. My legs are made of jelly. I am eating & drinking because I know that i have to keep my strength up, but I am not feeling the love for food. The only thing I enjoy eating right now is oranges. I might try some yoghurt too, as maybe the sour taste will be pleasant.
Everything is an effort, even holding a conversation requires energy and concentration that I currently do not possess. My whole body has a weird tingling sensation going on that is particularly unpleasant on the soles of my feet. Covid has now also given me regular coughing fits for good measure.
On the upside, my sats are up to 96% and holding steady, so I am optimistic about that. As I have said before, it is the breathlessness that is the scary part of Covid, the rest is annoying but manageable.
Anyway, that is all I have energy for today. Signing off from another fine day in Club Covid.
Yours xxx Corma
COVID Day #12 : I wear a mask to protect you
Finally the time has come for me to come out of quarantine. I forgot how nice it is to be outside with my dog. Buster also enjoyed it and ‘read the news’ on the street.
I am improving in leaps and bounds now, feeling stronger and more energetic. Thank God I feel i am finally winning.
Though I am allowed out again, I am not sure if the virus also knows I am not supposed to be catchy anymore. So I wore my mask and keeping my distance, just in case…because I do not want anyone else to catch it. Especially not my elderly neighbours.
Stay safe everyone xxx
COVID Day #13 : We the sheeple
In all my years on FB I have yet to ditch anyone for having different opinions to mine. I love my friends and family and I appreciate that people have a right to their own opinion. That does not mean however that I believe any of the stuff they propagate as gospel. On some days my news feed is inundated with posts telling me to ‘Wake up!’ and stop being a ‘sheeple’ controlled by the state.
The Covid ‘truth seekers’ are everywhere. They are anti lockdown, anti-mask, anti-vaccine and anti-anything-establishment. On top of that they feel the need to educate the ‘sheeple’ by arguing relentlessly at every opportunity. These brave keyboard warriors spend their afternoons trolling and spouting hateful comments on government updates and anyone who shares the good news of a new vaccine or treatment. They post ridiculous videos of empty hospitals when our NHS is creaking at the seams with desperately sick and dying people!!
No offence, but you should be ashamed of yourself!
Climb down from your conspiracy unicorn and consider the hard facts: 1610 people sadly lost their lives just in the last 24 hours. 46000 health and social care workers are off sick with the virus. Nearly 38000 people are in hospital with Covid today. On top of that here were close to 697,000 deaths in 2020 which is nearly 85,000 MORE than would be expected based on the average in the previous five years. If these are not enough to make you shudder then there is something wrong with you.
I cannot and I will not be silent.
This is NOT the flu, this is NOT radiation poisoning, this is NOT a hoax, this is Covid and it is a public health emergency of unimaginable scale.
Is your government going to make the right choices at every turn, of course not! Could they have done better? Sure. But we all need to play our part to get out of this crisis together.
Your part is simple: Wash your hands Wear your mask Keep your distance Isolate if you have symptoms and get a test Follow the lockdown rules AND Consider having the vaccine when you are offered it
That way we can all kick the Covid to curb together.
I will end with a personal update: I still have a cough, a tight chest and last night a nasty headache, though thankfully that is gone today. Dave is also still feeling unwell, as is Ben. Covid is real people. Be careful xxx
Thus ends the rant from Casa de Covid. We the sheeple have spoken!
COVID Day #14 : Duty of Care
Working in Social Care, we often talk about our Duty of Care.
It is defined simply as a legal obligation to: always act in the best interest of individuals and others. Not act or fail to act in a way that results in harm. Act within your competence and not take on anything you do not believe you can safely do.
I take my duty of care very seriously and so after careful consideration and following the advice of my doctor and NHS track and trace, I finally went back to work today. I was donned in my PPE and was careful to follow all the procedures and keep my distance. The clients have all had the virus, which meant that I was able to assist them safely and take some of the pressure off my colleagues. It was a good to be back.
I did notice my energy levels were wavering throughout the day, but according to Dr. Google that can take several weeks to fix. Thankfully I have the weekend off and so my return to work is at a pace that is manageable for me. Here’s a little hip hip hooray to a very good day.
Stay safe everyone!