So I have COVID-19
When COVID-19 Gets Real
For the last week I have been coming to terms with the fact I have COVID-19. In the UK we do not have mass testing so we just self-isolate. Who knows how many people are actually going through this, but just in my small close circle of contacts I am guessing it could be as high as 30-40% of people in the UK.
This is just me expressing how I feel, and hopefully this will resonate and help others who have similar experiences.
I've done all the social distancing, staying at home, wearing masks, being super careful when going out to buy food. You know, face masks, keeping at least 2m away from anyone, hand gel and santisizers to clean the supermarket trolley. Not even taking receipts to help minimize contact. The new normal.
But somehow COVID-19 got past all that and last weekend I developed a cough, really sore throat, and started to feel feverish. The next day I had a temperature and now a week later I continue to suffer, but not with a temperature, more with the persistent cough, tight chest, hot flushes, but worse of all, the panic.
What Does it Feel Like?
The syptoms for me are weird. The cough and temperature are undeniable, but with that there is the flu-like, shivers, sensivity. But as I said above, none of this for me outweighs the panic.
I know I have contracted a potentially lethal disease for which there is no cure. At any point I am expecting my breathing could become difficult, I question every ache and pain, any chest pain, makes me think this is the start of the end. This is a human response of course to what we know.
My heart rate is elevated, I've stopped drinking coffee as it may be exacerpating this, but the biggest issue right now is the fear for oneself, and for my family.
The symptoms themselves are not worse, for me at least for which I hugely grateful, than a typical flu. But psychologically I am battling my emotions every day to stay positive. I remind myself of the stats. I take deep breaths and tell myself I can still beathe OK so I will be fine.
When you are in a feverish state you tend not to be most rational either and this makes it worse. On top of all of that you have to lock yourself away and go through it on your own. Could it be any worse?
We have to have the public information of course, to get people to take this global pandemic seriously and to behave responsibly so we can minimize the deaths. But when you actually have it this is extremely hard to deal with.
As a scientist, I understand the stats, at least those that we have, and I can rationalise this. Odds are, I will be fine, my wife will be fine, my children will be fine. I worry for my parents but am comforted they are in total local-down and have the support of their local community. We do have to keep reminding ourselves of these stats though.
This is a global pandemic of the likes we have not seen in our lifetime, but the death rate is still only a tiny percent. I am not saying this in the context of minimizing precautions or actions, but in terms of how you mentally deal with it if you contract it.
Please don't think for one second I am looking for sympathy, I am not.
I am one of the lucky ones. I can breathe, and touch wood, my symptoms will remain mild and will pass. I do not for one second seek to draw anything away from those for whom this virus is a killer. But I do want to share how it feels, so that if you are going through this, but perhaps find it hard to speak to friends, family, colleagues please know you know you are not alone. It is human to be afraid, you are not weak if you are not coping with this, you are just human. And most importantly, this will pass and become a memory.
A life experience to share with people moving forward.
Please stay safe.