I wanted to post this as a warning to anybody who thinks the current Coronavirus pandemic is ‘something for others to worry about’. Myself and my wife contracted COVID-19 last week, and are currently still in self isolation.
As a very fit 45 year old with some occasional asthma when I exercise hard, I got off easier than my wife. I had several days of flu like symptoms, followed by a very scary loss of lung function that left me unable to do more than walk very slowly for a few yards at a time before becoming out of breath. My lungs started to tighten up and my ability to breathe became shallower and shallower. This peaked on Friday and at its worst, left me frightened that I was going to be unable to breathe properly. It felt like my lungs were operating at about 5% efficiency and just weren’t capable of giving me the oxygen I needed. I was unable to do anything other than sit around for a few days with a feeling that my lungs were packing in. Luckily it cleared up quite quickly and today I am back to just feeling like I have a mild flu and a tight chest, which is infinitely preferable to how I felt at the weekend.
My wife didn’t get off so easy. She has underlying immunity supression from a cancer and aggressive chemotherapy several years ago. She went from feeling slightly ill and flu-like with a cough and sore chest, to lying on the floor 10 minutes later feeling like she was running out of air. For several days she was up half the night gasping for breath and was on the verge of phoning the hospital to get additional help to breathe. As a medic she was able to gauge whether or not she needed help and was self checking regularly, but she did mention later that on several occasions she was worried that she was in danger of a very serious situation developing that may have been fatal. She has been unable to do anything for nearly a week other than stay in the house and keep breathing. It comes and goes in waves, but when it is bad it really is a case of – ‘can I keep breathing or do I need to phone an ambulance’.
I want anybody who reads this to think not only of themselves, but of the people in the community who maybe are a little older or have underlying health issues. We are both very fit for our ages and live as healthily as we can. It still hit us hard. It was very distressing to see so many people in the UK ignoring the advice to stay isolated and instead flock to the beaches at the weekend. Anybody who thinks ‘well I’ll be OK’, I would say – you might be, you might not be, but you may well be condemning someone else to death when you bring it back into your community after mixing with so many people.
Please protect the vulnerable people around you and follow the advice that has been given.