When you hear that there is a global pandemic it is easy to lose sight of the fact it could directly impact you. Despite this, since the day it began spreading through the United Kingdom I have been hyperaware of keeping my distance from others, keeping on top of personal hygiene and minimising my time spent out of the house.
Disclaimer: I have followed all government guidelines since the very beginning of the pandemic. I am a key worker and therefore have been exposed to the general public more than I would have liked and therefore it was almost inevitable that I would catch the virus at some point despite following all guidelines thoroughly myself – more on this later. This is just my experience – I am not a doctor just someone who has been directly affected by this virus. If you are experiencing symptoms please contact your GP.
By this point I think the pandemic must have impacted everyone in one way or another even if you are fortunate enough to have not caught the virus itself. Whether that be through changing your working habits, having events you have booked cancelled, having a loved one catch the virus or loss of employment to name just a few.
Since the beginning of the pandemic I have been working as a key worker within a small supermarket. This has meant I have had close contact with the general public. Although I followed all the guidelines thoroughly – wearing my mask, sanitising/washing my hands regularly and keeping a distance from customers and colleagues; it is incredibly hard to remain safe while the general public are still abusing the rules and searching for any excuse to dodge the rules.
I don’t want to cause a debate but this is where I am certain I picked this virus up from – though I can’t be certain. Please wear your mask, stay on top of personal hygiene and keep your distance for the sake of others.
– MY SYMPTOMS –
Where my symptoms start is hard to determine. As those who are regulars to my blog will know, I have an underlying health condition called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Asthma as well as a couple other suspected conditions. For a week before I got tested I was suffering from a flare up of typical POTS symptoms – dizziness, fatigue, low blood pressure, blood pooling, tachycardia and nausea. It wasn’t until the Sunday when my legs began badly aching I started to wonder if something a little more may be going on.
– Day 1 –
Sunday was a strange day – felt extremely exhausted and out of it. By the end of the day my legs were aching though I put it down to having been on my feet for a long time for the first time since Christmas. I also had no appetite and remember sitting uncontrollably shaking throughout my lunch (though had no fever).
At this point I hadn’t thought about the possibility of this being COVID-19. I didn’t have any of the typical symptoms of new and/or continuous cough, loss of smell and/or taste or a fever. It was only because my sister came home from work feeling under the weather saying she was going to book a test that I thought joining her may be a good idea.
When on the government website it says to only book a test if you display the typical three symptoms and therefore I debated booking that entire evening. It wasn’t until the following morning when the aching got worse I decided to book a test despite not showing these symptoms – and I am so glad I did. I actually believe that the wording on the government website and the symptoms to look out for need to be updated.
I never developed loss of taste and/or smell or a fever. I only developed a cough on day 6 – all of that time I could’ve continued spreading the virus thinking my other symptoms were unrelated.
– Day 2 –
The second day was very similar to the first except my aching got a lot worse. I continued shaking uncontrollably without a fever this day too. That morning I had a work zoom call which I couldn’t focus on at all and finally decided to get a test alongside my sister.
I had a test that afternoon and waited for my results.
Let me know if you would be interested in a post about my test experience! I was terrified before getting mine but it was no where near as bad as I expected and would love to share my experience to ease some of your worries.
– Day 3 –
Day three further symptoms started to develop. I was shaking uncontrollably, feeling dizzy and lightheaded when stood up, had bad nausea and a terrible headache. My legs also continued to ache without improvement.
I received my test results at 23:06 that evening. Although I felt unwell I was still convinced that this wasn’t COVID-19 as I was still yet to develop any typical symptoms. When the result came through I was shocked and overwhelmed. I cried from the shock and anxiety which meant I struggled to get to sleep – I don’t think I got to sleep until about 3am the next morning.
Tip: My test result came in by email hours before it did by text! Make sure to keep an eye on both your text messages and email inbox as you may not receive the results in both places at the same time. I got my result by email at 23:06 Tuesday evening whereas I received my text notification at 11:46am on Wednesday morning.
– Day 4 –
On day 4 my symptoms really started to take hold and increase. I was up from 5am (after getting to sleep at 3am) with really bad nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhoea. As well as this I started to experience chest tightness, breathlessness and chest pain accompanied by an blood oxygen level varying between 94-96. I also continued to uncontrollably shake whenever I stood/moved around with dizziness and palpitations. At this point my legs ached however not as badly as they had the days before.
Track and trace contacted me that afternoon to check my symptoms and to make sure I have told those I had been in contact with that they needed to isolate. During the phone call the call handler was a little concerned about my symptoms as well as my underlying health conditions and therefore told me to contact the doctors to be seen.
After speaking to the doctors I was sent to the COVID-19 clinic at a local hospital to be checked over. It was there that I found out I was suffering both Coronavirus and a chest infection. It was here I was prescribed antibiotics for 7 days.
Tip: Purchase a pulse oximeter incase you contract coronavirus! They are fairly cheap and it will allow you to monitor your condition from home. This can be lifesaving as occasionally oxygen levels can drop dangerously low without showing any symptoms.
– Day 5 –
Day five was very similar to day four except I started to develop a cough to accompany my shortness of breath and chest pain. I started to feel a lot weaker on this day and my energy took a dip. I was unable to sit or stand without being supported (leaning on or against something).
– Day 6 –
Again I woke up early with nausea, a worsened dry cough which gradually got worse throughout the day though my breathing felt a little easier. Again unable to sit or stand unsupported without feeling lightheaded, dizzy and experiencing palpitations.
– Day 7 –
Day seven I woke up feeling a little better. Breathing was easier and I felt less breathless whilst moving around. My cough continued and I developed occasional sharp stabbing pains in my chest and around my back.
Though I felt better my energy levels had decreased and my headache returned – I believe from exhaustion.
– Day 8 –
This day was very similar to day seven. I felt a bit brighter, my breathing was a bit better, had a cough, headache and tiredness. The only difference was my body aches came back that evening. That night I started feeling almost the same as I did on day one.
This panicked me as I was worried I was going to start the whole process over again.
– Day 9 –
Day nine was worse than the previous day. The exhaustion continued, body ached, bad headache, dizziness, chest pain and breathlessness all seemed to heighten. I also developed sneezing, congestion and a runny nose. Developing this symptom meant I would have to extend my isolation.
I was advised to stay in isolation by Track and Trace until 48 hours after any symptoms of fever, congestion, runny nose, sneezing, diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting.
– Day 10 –
This was meant to be my final day in isolation but was the worst day I experienced in terms of symptoms.
I woke up with the worst headache I have had throughout the whole 10 days, was exhausted, chest had a burning sensation whilst breathing, chest tightness, aching joints, uncontrollable shaking, weakness, dizziness, palpitations and tachycardia. I ended up sleeping all afternoon and when I awoke in the evening was faced with nausea and diarrhoea again. My sneezing, congestion and runny nose continued.
Although I was supposed to come out of isolation at 23:59 on this day unfortunately I had to remain in isolation for at least another 48 hours due to my ongoing symptoms.
I ended up remaining in isolation until day 16 when my doctor advised me it was now safe for me to return to society. I was no longer contagious and that was such a relieving feeling! I’m so grateful that I didn’t pass the virus onto any of my family (who I live with) throughout this experience. I was and still am left with ongoing symptoms of COVID-19 though no longer contagious. I am yet to return to work having been signed off by my doctors.
Today is day 19 since I started showing symptoms and I am now in the process of building myself back up so that I am well enough to return to work in a weeks time. It has been extremely tough but I am slowly making progress. I am hoping with every inch of my body that this doesn’t develop into Long-Covid.
As I said at the start of this post, this virus is no joke! Please be carful out there, respect others and follow guidelines. Although it may not affect you personally it could be a death sentence for someone else.
If you would like to see any more posts about my experience with Coronavirus or have any questions let me know in the comments below and give my blog a follow!