Corona – A survivors experience.

Hi, this is not one of my normal LinkedIn posts, I decided I had to write this a few days ago but couldn’t. Because I was struggling with Covid at the time. When really struggling I was in a lot of pain and worried, so I set myself a number of ‘things to do’ and then strove to get better and get them done. This post is one of them. 

Recently I’d become more than a little fed-up of LinkedIn, the recent Pandemic has bought out the best in some of us and definitely the worst in others. What was seriously disappointing, and troubling, were all the silly, heartless posts trying to convince us to let people die as the economy needed saving more than people did. If you were one of them, go, hang your head in shame, I’m sure if your boss read that post he probably thought you were a heartless moron at best. I know most of my grown-up, adult contacts do. This frustration was at the heart of why I decided to write a brief article if I made it through the other side.

Now, I was extremely careful, in the last six weeks I have left my home four times and on each event I used alcohol gel to clean my hands whenever I had to touch anything, as if I had OCD. We avoided all 1:1 contact and social distancing was critical to us. We opened our mail, washed our hands and then read it when we had done all we could. Cardboard based deliveries were emptied and the boxes sent to the garage as quickly as possible. We were very cautious. And yet we both still got the damn thing.

Now I want to share what it was like for me as I went through my little period of ‘fun’ and where I am now as I think that sharing experiences can be beneficial for everyone involved and it adds a sense of tangibility to what is still theory to those not yet touched by it. Please note that this is my experience and isn’t reflective of what anyone else’s is, or was like. I simply want to try and help in some small way, and its also part of my own recovery process.

Days One to Four

It started innocently enough, aches, pains, a cough, tightness in the chest area, the ribs felt heavy but there was a lot of respite. I put it down to the routine coughs and sneezes that go with the season, it felt like a small dose of the flu. My symptoms were minor, a light cough, a tightening chest, muscle cramps, stomach pains, little appetite, mild tiredness. It was anything but Covid.

Days Four to Eight

Suddenly it became no fun at all. Within hours of day four my chest was ready to explode, I was struggling to breath, every joint in my body was on fire. I could not get comfortable, I spent the majority of my time on my hands and knees, curled up into a ball to try and ease the pressure, crying like I was a child again. My eyes felt like they were being pushed out of my head by fat thumbs, I feared drinking or eating as it just made things more painful. I slept when I was able, when the pain gave some respite. I lay naked on a bed curled up in a ball with a fan hitting me full-on as I felt like I was on fire, trying to cool down. My joints felt like Turkish bath masochist had had a fun day at work, my joints felt like they’d been rotated 180 degrees and then hit with a burning branch. My senses were about 5 seconds behind reality, the world was an echo chamber. I drank nothing at all for three days and rapidly became dehydrated. It was hell.

I’m ex military I left with too many additional holes in my body, I left the outer half of one leg behind, I’ve had major surgery in ‘the delicate area’, a brain aneurysm and yet they were nothing similar pain wise in comparison. Believe me, the pain was unreal.

We took urgent, timely medical advice from our insurance company, it made a real difference, they were excellent and they understood we wished to avoid the hospital and they made some amazing recommendations to help wherever they could.

Day Nine to Today

It eased off slowly, things got easier on day nine, now I am happy to feel like I’ve simply been run over by a bus, that I can drink some water. We add diarrhea supplements to get the salts back, and I am now breathing somewhat easier than before, its a relief to see some positive changes. If I cough, which I now do a lot less, it hurts, it escalates quickly, and I run out of air rapidly but it’s becoming less frequent. I still have no appetite to eat or drink so I have a bike water bottle sat in front of me, I eat when food is put in front of me because I know I should, even though I have to desire for it. Every day is clearly now much better that the previous.

My Preparation Suggestions

Get a fan, you’ll need one to try and keep cool, keep dioralyte (other brands are available) to hand to keep the body salt levels up if needed, I found aspirin (again, other brands etc) helped a little as I was getting thicker blood through limited water intake and I used an eye mask, the type you use on planes, with a cloth behind it or with ice packs to help when the eyes began to scream out. Have a list of medical support numbers to hand with all the necessary details just in case you need advice. Pack some resilience, you’ll need some.

Don’t buy and drink or inject Dettol, bleach, UV lights or malaria tablets, they’re frankly horseshit, about as much use as the moron that suggested them. Seriously.

In Summary

It was horrible, but I’m sat on my sofa writing this now. Admittedly it’s taken me all day, I’m tired, and my recovery point is still a week or two away. But I set a target for myself if I came out of it, and I did, I have fulfilled one of those promises on the list,

Things are a little surreal, I made it through a hit, I know I am not safe now as this gives me no immunity, but I’ve learnt a lot about how to try and minimise the impacts. At the moment I’m trying to take this a day at a time, and I’ll figure out what’s next when I’m ready. Today I have one goal, if you’re reading this a) I managed to write this damn thing to the end b) I’m happy that that you’ve decided to read a real-life experience and not an opinion.

My wife had it too, a very mild dose in comparison, we are now in complete lockdown, contactless food supplies and some great neighbours to help us. We’re lucky, please make sure you’re there is needed by someone you know, help them be lucky too. We sit here and think of the names of those we knew that are now gone, it’s sad, but this is a time for us, I know that sounds cold, but we still need to complete our own recovery.

Sorry, but I’d like to ask that you don’t get on the phone and drop me a call just yet, please give it a week or two. I need calm and quiet for the moment. Thank you.

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