Apologies that I haven't written in a while, as you can imagine life has been pretty crazy of late! At the start of March I has a fabulous birthday celebration with family and friends, and then pretty soon after that I went into self isolation. Now I know that may seem a little early, but I live with a key worker so wanted to stay home for them to reduce the chances of passing on the virus to them and their colleagues. Ironically he ended up giving it to me! And thus began the two week quarantine...
I was lucky to only get a mild case of Coronavirus, but I definitely got a nastier mild case. This virus is not fun. I thought I'd write this blog post to talk about my experience of it and what kind of symptoms I had, just in case it helps anyone else out there.
It did start with a cough, but it wasn't persistent at the start, it was more like a tickle at the back of my throat and dry coughing. I didn't cough all the time either, just every now and then in little clusters. The cough did get worse as it went on but at no point was I coughing all the time. Next came the headache, and it was kind of different to normal headaches (and as a migraine sufferer believe me I know!) because it was in my forehead and behind my eyes and the bridge of my nose...and it just wouldn't go, but paracetamol did really help.
Next up came the aches; literally my muscles just ached for no reason. For me it began with my calf muscles, and then was mostly in my upper and mid back, as well as my shoulders. These were pretty horrible as it hurt to move, it hurt not to move, and the weirdest thing was that my skin became sore to the touch, almost as if it had been sunburnt. At this point I was also really exhausted, sleeping a lot and spending pretty much the whole time on the sofa, I also lost my sense of taste for a few days. I didn't have the energy to cook meals or do any housework and had to take advantage of any more energised moments to shower, but luckily I had someone to look after me while I was unwell.
I added another pillow while sleeping to help raise me up a bit, which helped a lot with the coughing fits I'd get when I'd lay down, and allowed me to get a decent nights sleep and recover more quickly. (I also kept doing this for about 2 weeks after I started feeling better as I'd still be coughing up some sputum as my lungs recovered.) Another little life hack that I used was to apply lip balm before going to sleep which really helped to stop my mouth and throat drying out as I slept, I figured this out a few years back when I had a killer cold.
Along with the muscle aches came the fever. Mine wasn't actually too high but again it wasn't great and it also went on for a good 5 days. It seemed to run along with the headaches as both were either better or worse at the same time, and paracetamol definitely helped me to control my temperature too. A huge thank you to my neighbour who saw the sign we put on our door and posted us some paracetamol, the supermarkets had all been sold out before due to people panic buying so I am SO grateful to their generosity as it helped me as I fought through it. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
Once the fever faded the headaches also went away and it honestly felt like the first time I'd been able to fully open my eyes in about a week.I got my sense of taste back too but then completely lost my sense of smell. I functioned so much better without the headaches and felt like I had more energy again. Although I couldn't use any of this energy because the next stage for me was breathlessness. I would get out of breath doing little things and at my worst I was pretty much panting while just sitting still on the sofa. My coughing also turned nasty at this point, it was still dry but the cough came from a deeper place, would come in fits and I couldn't suppress it at all, and my chest and windpipe started to hurt. It hurt when I took anything more than a shallow breath in, yawning was horrible and coughing was just plain painful. It was a weird pain as it felt like the inside of my windpipe and the tubes of my lungs were sore, right from the back of my throat down to my sternum, and then spreading out across my chest. As I kept on coughing it got worse and I began to get a sharp pain in my chest, pinpoint and just above where my heart is, whenever I coughed and this was agonising. I was also at my most breathless now too so I called the NHS on 111 (this was for the second time, the first was at the start to confirm my initial symptoms and find out if I needed to quarantine) and they had me run through symptoms and do a breathing test. They were really wonderful and kind, especially as they were so rushed off their feet with waiting times of over 30 minutes for people to get through to the service. Luckily I was not bad enough to need to go to hospital but was told to call back if I got worse.
I didn't get tested at any point for the virus because I didn't get bad enough to need to go into hospital, it was all confirmed via the 111 service. I urge anyone with mild symptoms not to go to the hospitals if you can fight it off at home, there are so many people with severe cases or people who are at great risk from the virus that need to be there and receive special treatment in order to survive. This virus is horrible, even a mild case can knock you off your feet and I wish more people would take it seriously, listen to and follow the government advice about social distancing. I'm still seeing people out on picnics where I live on an almost daily basis and it's so frustrating because the longer this goes on, the longer the virus will keep spreading, people will keep dying from it, and we will all remain on lockdown. I applaud and am grateful to everone who is staying at home, whether for their safety of the safety of others, it is hard not being able to see loved ones, but thank goodness for technology and video calls! I myself won't be able to see my Mum for most of this year because she is at risk from this and so I would be worried about passing the virus on to her.
The breathlessness that I had lasted for about a week and then gradually all of the symptoms disappeared until one day I just felt normal again. And it was absolutely wonderful!!! I am still coughing occasionally, but I think this is just my lungs clearing themselves and recovering. I also found that although I'm breathing normally again, I do still get breathless when exercising so I wasn't able to do this for a while after. I started with just going for walks once a day, and once I was able to do that without getting breathless then I added in the worlds most basic 15 minute exercise routine. So this is where I am now, I'd say that I mostly recovered and I came out of my 14 day quarantine a week and a half ago, but I'm still not 100% better yet and I think that it will probably be at least another month before my body is back to normal again. It wasn't all bad, I got to watch a lot of amazing TV series' and the amount of people who wished me well was absolutely astounding and deeply touching, there are so many kind and supportive people out there, plus there was also an extremely funny moment involving a broken intercom, a suitcase, some rope, and winching a pizza delivery up to the second floor and through a window! I'll keep walking and exercising, each week gradually increasing the difficulty of the workout until I'm no longer noticing any breathlessness , and then I'll consider myself fully recovered. I look forward to that day!