A guest post by Owen Jennings:
On the morning of my birthday I received the fateful call. “Your test was positive”. On reflection I wasn’t surprised. I had been coughing so often and so violently my stomach muscles were tender, hurting and each spasm meant I was blacking out in pain. I had Covid.
I was double jabbed. A son-in-law is a respiratory specialist so it wasn’t an option. He was clear. “The vaccine won’t stop you getting the lurgi but it will keep you out of my hospital. If you re having second thoughts come and see some of the unvaccinated patients in here struggling to get a breath. It’s not pretty”. He also passed on that being overweight multiplied the problems a hundredfold. Being over 60 another hundredfold. Having asthma another hundredfold. Smoker? Don’t even ask.
Between coughs I spent a couple of hours going through where I had been, who I met, how close was I, how long was I there. Right down to minutes. The interviewer was professional and focused. “Phone in every time you remember some additional item, no matter how minor”. Similarly, the instructions about what I could and could not do were clear and helpful.
We never tracked down where I caught it. On family instructions we were living hermit-like, wearing masks, avoiding people, washing hands, doing only essential stuff. I am sure if my mother were still alive she would have said I got it off a toilet seat. She blamed them for lots of things.
Symptoms? Besides the uncontrollable coughing my nose ran like a runaway tap for several days. I lost all sense of taste and smell. My wife’s fantastic passionfruit slice and her perfectly cooked lamb chops tasted like cardboard. It is a strange sensation and I am only now, 4 weeks later, regaining my enjoyment of different flavours.
My voice became thick and hard to listen to. Its hard to talk and cough anyway.
One of the worst features was the lethargy. I simply lost all my energy. I am a keen gardener with a large vege patch and I help my wife with an extensive flower garden. I mow our lawns. I also walk for an hour most evenings. Just crossing the room became an effort. My will to do anything even sit at the keyboard and punch out some emails just faded out. It was a horrible experience. It messes with your will power.
Within 48 hours a parcel was delivered with an oximeter, face masks, hand sanitizer, wipes, and PPE gowns(what on earth I was supposed to do with them I never found out). Every day and sometimes a couple of times a day I received a healthline call. They had a series of questions, always the same. Some of the callers were smart, helpful and knew their stuff. Some could only follow the script and fell apart if you asked any question outside of the tickbox sheet.
My wife who is obviously in close contact did not get Covid. They demanded she get tested every few days and were adamant she isolate because she “must catch it”. They demanded separate towels, separate washing loads, 2 meters apart and a different bed. That was never going to happen.
Then started fun and games to get her clearance. I was cleared 14 days after the initial test, no problem. But they couldn’t make up their mind when my wife would be set free. They changed their mind four times, contradicted each other, sometimes several times in one day. The capable healthline people are excellent – the rest not so good; actually useless.
So many people have said, “you are the first person I know with Covid. What is it like?” So now you know. One experience, anyway. I am not recommending it.