After 18 months of fearing, avoiding, worrying about and imagining Covid, the inevitable happened. Having noticed that my tea tasted ‘wrong’, I took an early lateral flow test which was positive. The next day myself, Beth and Dottie would test positive on PCR tests and Phill, the one family member to be double vaxxed was spared!
I ended up in hospital for a couple of days – partly due to a very fast heart rate and high blood pressure, and partly for observation following an anaphylaxis-type reaction to some medicine given to me in A&E. My isolation period ends tomorrow and I wish I could tell you that I’m excited about it, but I’m not exactly fighting fit just yet.
Everyone keeps asking where I think I got Covid. Other than a meal out at the weekend, I hadn’t been anywhere. I’d hurt my knee so apart from the school run, I was staying at home. So I don’t know – probably Dorothy or Beth as they’ve been at school and work. It hardly matters now that so many people seem to be testing positive. I thought I’d share the things that surprised me about the experience – so far.
Things can change fast
This surprised me the most – how quickly symptoms could change from just noticeable, to mildly annoying, to worrying. For example there are four days between these pictures.
Two lines feels weird
If you’ve ever longed for a positive pregnancy test like I have, then seeing two lines on a lateral flow test might feel weird. I’ve spoken to a few women about this and all have described a strange joy and then dread reaction when that second line started to appear. It’s really odd but just borne out of habit and I’m sure it doesn’t been that you’re strange – I’m sure 😁
People get very different symptoms
My first symptom was a cough – like just one cough per hour. It was a tickle at the back of my throat and since we’d moved the bedroom around, I thought it was dust and took an extra antihistamine. Then I began to lose my sense of taste. Flulike symptoms followed along with a sore throat and more persistent cough and then dizziness and brain crushing pressure headaches. Beth’s first symptom was sneezing, followed by feeling generally unwell, flu-ish and then violent sickness! Then she lost her sense of taste too. Dorothy has been a little warm (although to be fair, who hasn’t this week), quiet and more sensitive than usual.
Dehydration is dangerous
We all know we’re supposed to keep hydrated, but it’s not easy when swallowing hurts and when you’re struggling to keep anything down. Breathing through your mouth leaves your throat dry making it even harder to swallow and when everything tastes weird, believe me water isn’t left out of that. To me it tastes how I imagine Zoflora would taste. In hospital I was given multiple bags of fluid to try and reduce my heart rate which of course means that dehydration can cause it to increase – not something you want to encourage. The solution is ice-lollies, cucumber and watermelon. Somehow eating water isn’t as vomit-inducing as drinking it!
Not being able to taste is weird
Beth cannot taste a thing. – she might aswell eat paper for all the pleasure she’s getting from food. I can sort of make out if something is sweet or savoury but I can’t really taste it. Sometimes I think I’m tasting a food – like an orange but it’s just that I know what it should taste like and I’m imagining it. Like the way that sweets taste different if you look at what colour they are. And it’s really, really weird. Without taste, food is just texture and honestly, apart from really crisp apples, food textures are a bit gross.
Not being able to smell is upsetting
When I got home from hospital the first thing I did was shower – I felt disgusting and was thinking that I must smell awful. It hadn’t really registered with me that I couldn’t smell anything at all. I washed away the hospital, put on clean pjs and got in to bed. It still hadn’t hit me that those familiar smells of home weren’t there. Then both of my girls climbed in bed with me and I sunk my face into their hair to breath in their lovely smell. Nothing. I can’t smell my babies and if you asked me to choose whether to lose my sense of smell or sense of taste forever, based on this one fact alone, I would choose to keep my sense of smell.
Covid isn’t only making old people poorly
I was in hospital for three days. When I was brought onto the ward, there was only one small Covid bay. By the following morning, the whole ward had been designated Covid positive and while there were alot of elderly people, half of my bay was occupied by women in their 20s and 30s. Poor Beth is 18 and at one point I was expecting her to be wheeled into the bed space next to me such was the severity of her symptoms.
Covid might make you be sick
And by sick I mean vomit. I was nauseous and so I’ve eaten very little and thrown up very little, but Beth and some of the other young women on the ward were struck with severe vomiting. Track and trace even told me that if I was ‘still’ vomiting or had diarrhea on day 10, then I should continue to isolate so I assume this is a common symptom with the new variant.
You will feel positively harassed by Track & Trace
This is particularly true if you’re responsible for children. You’ll get a lengthy phone call when you test positive, plus one for every child that tests positive, plus a phone call to tell you you’ve been in contact with all the people in your household who test positive. Then you can expect phone calls reminding you to isolate and text messages and emails telling you the same. I don’t have the app as it kept crashing my phone but I expect it’s even worse if you do. At one point I asked the chap on the phone if he could please leave me alone to sleep if I pinky promised not to break isolation.
You might be TOLD to break isolation!
Phill was told to break isolation five times! Since we’ve had near constant reminders of the potential fine for leaving the house, it felt weird to be told to do so. He drove me for some tests on Thursday, left and then came to pick me up and then when my heart started being silly on Friday, he brought me to hospital. I asked him to drop off a bag of clothes over the weekend and then he collected me the following Monday. I don’t know about Phill but I felt naughty to be out, especially knowing that I was Covid positive but I guess it’s better than using an ambulance.
Husbands cannot be trusted to bring clothes to Hospital
Phillip dropped off a HUGE rucksack for me. This on it’s own garnered a few laughs from the nurses but they’d seen nothing yet. Inside was about 392546 litres of water, beef jerky, Lucosade, a pair of red lacy knickers, a pj top from the dirty laundry, a pair of Beth’s joggers and one of his golf tops. Not sure what kind of experience he was packing for but it gave me a laugh.
I’ve had Covid for 9 days now and today is the first I’ve spent out of bed. I’m still not right. My isolation ends tomorrow and while I’d love to be able to go out, maybe take my dog for a walk, I can’t imagine that I’d get very far – I lose my breath just walking to the loo. If I’m honest, having hEDS, I’d been afraid that I’d be even worse than this with Covid, so I’m quite relieved, but it remains to be seen how long it takes to fully recover or if I will. And to me thats the scary part – the long term impact.
Going forward I’ll continue to wear a mask when I can, I’ll be returning to April 2020 levels of hand hygiene and I won’t be hugging strangers any time soon, because I do not want to get this virus again.
I know everyone is longing for normality – I am too. And I know that some people will catch Covid and suffer little more than a cold, so for those people all the precautions and restrictions must seem ridiculous. It’s a difficult time for us all, difficult to find balance, difficult to be kind to one without being cruel to an other but we must try.
Take good care of yourself
Love Rachel ❤