The covid fairy finally paid me a visit a few weeks ago.
Having avoided it for the last 2 and a half years I knew my time would come but I had no idea when. Not long into the first national lockdown I stopped paying attention to the news as I was finding it very depressing. This has continued however I have been conscious of the basic COVID headlines that come up so was well aware that particularly in Scotland the COVID numbers were on the rise.
Due to the fear of COVID that has been with me ever since the start and particularly after Natalie died I have done all I can to protect myself which means I have remained taking all the precautions of wearing a mask when in the shops, restaurants etc as well as hand washing and using also gel wherever possible.
Somehow though COVID got through my precautions and infected me. It all happened very quickly. I went to bed feeling ok but by 2am I had a very high temperature and a headache like I have never experienced before. It was as if my head and eyes were being crushed in a vice. These 2 symptoms remained for days making it hard to watch TV, read a book or use my phone. I was meant to be going up to the final day of the 150th British Golf Open in St Andrews so I thought I better do a lateral flow test. After doing so many of them I expected it to be negative as they all had been so far so was quite shocked with how quickly the positive line showed up and how bold it was too.
As soon as I saw that line I had this feeling of fear and impending doom. My brain was going a hundred miles an hour with all my fears that had built up over the last few years. Of course I tested positive in the middle of the night so was alone with my thoughts and was in that state where I felt so awful but also couldn’t sleep or settle very well. It was a long few hours before I was able to speak to anyone.
As I was in the group who were shielding and classed as extremely clinically vulnerable I had been given a letter that said I was eligible for novel anti body treatment should I test positive. The process was very simple. I know there has been some confusion about who does and who doesn’t qualify for the anti body treatment. I called and (on a sunday) spoke to a pharmacist who asked me questions about my symptoms and my medical history particularly what dose of oral corticosteroid I was on (I think the dose is a key factor in identifying which members of the clinically vulnerable group get the treatment). I was told I would get a call within 48hours to let me know which treatment I would be getting. Only an hour later I had a call to say I would be getting Paxlovid and it would be sent by courier to my flat the next day. I was very impressed with the system and glad it was not complex as I felt pretty rubbish.
By the sunday night I was finding my chest very tight and just not right. I was keen on the Monday to try and speak to respiratory to see what action I should take. Of course my consultant was on holiday as was his secretary which meant I was not able to speak to anyone and had to call my GP. My GP freaked out about my chest, how it was sounding and that I reported I was fairly tachycardic, so wanted me to be checked at the hospital. I was not totally averse to this as I sometimes am because I wanted some input so I knew what I should be doing with my medication for my asthma.
I was quite irritated at the hospital as did not get input from respiratory. I was given a dose of the IV anti viral treatment and was advised I would admitted and observed for 24 hours and seen by respiratory on the ward round the next day. My main irritation was that I could not explain to respiratory why I did not want to stay in hospital as I am not the average asthmatic and have quite a lot of room for manoeuvre with medication at home and in this case my main reason for coming up was for guidance on what to do with my medication not because I needed admission and emergency treatment. I should say that when I tested positive it was just as the heatwave hit Scotland. It was unbearably hot in the hospital, with mask on and I was finding it way too much. I asked if I could go home and get my fan so at least I would have decent air and be a bit cooler but (and I understand why) I was not allowed to bring a fan in as I would be on a COVID ward. So it was decided I would go home.
I have never been so happy to get home and just lie next to my fan and flake out. By this time my headache was awful and the pressure in my eyes not good either. I was now feeling very fatigued along with my chest which was not great either. These were the main symptoms I had for COVID itself. Once I started the Paxlovid I had some really bad side effects. The taste they gave me in my mouth was like no other. Imagine the metal taste that you can get with the antibiotic metronidazole, now times that by hundreds. The taste engulfed my senses and I could not get away from it. I also became deaf in one ear which is still a bit off even now despite being weeks down the line.
All in all I tested positive for COVID for 9 days. I would say it was not until maybe day 12 that I really felt better. I still had this fatigue and weakness along with my deaf ear but the temperature and head/eye ache seemed to subside really quite quickly. Almost like a light switch being turned off. the fatigue lingered and I am still feeling it even now. I also lost a lot of weight as my appetite disappeared, not even my beloved yazoo tempted me!
Overall I am relieved about my experience of having COVID. I obviously did not want to get it but now that I have had it, there is a sense of relief knowing I survived it. I know that sounds dramatic but when you know someone who has the same condition as you and has died from this virus it instills fear in you, and fear that I cannot explain. Despite having had the virus there is still the fear in me, could I get it again and will I be ok that time? Who knows. It seems this virus has a mind of its own, mutates into different manifestations of itself making it easier to catch and pass on to others. It is scary. Especially when you are vulnerable but I am very glad to have had all my vaccines and had access to anti viral drugs to help stop the virus progressing any further and making me more unwell than I already was.
Through this I am very grateful to the information that was distributed by the Scottish Government and the Chief Medical Officer as I felt I kind of new what I was doing, where to get help and what help I could expect. Governments don’t always get things right but for me the past few years I have felt supported by them, I know others who won’t agree and that is fine but this is my personal view.
COVID will live on and the fear I have of it will also live on. It is very much a virus that needs to be respected and action taken by ourselves when we do test positive.