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Diary of Covid-19 (Part I)

Everyone at the small lunch I attended last Sunday picked up Covid 19, including the birthday girl. No one was coughing or sneezing and we had sanitising wipes and hand gel between courses. We greeted each other with elbows and air kisses, but we still all caught it. It turned out that one of the people present was feeling a little warmer than usual.

He had come from London the previous evening (I live in Hampshire) and he didn’t know he had already caught the bug from someone at his office in the City. Later, he heard that many people at a meeting had tested positive with Covid 19.

I have heard that people shed this virus in their gut lining so perhaps it was transmitted that way. All I know is very infectious and spread by contact with surfaces, food and utensils since none of us touched or coughed.

So, we all went home oblivious.  Fortunately, I had already taken steps to self isolate and the community I live in was virtually in lockdown by the very next day when the government issued guidelines to avoid all unnecessary social get togethers.  My choir was cancelled as was book club. I washed my hands endlessly and bleached the surfaces in my home. I felt fine and my three children aged 10,11 and 13 all felt fine but I didn’t want to take any chances.

Then on Wednesday, I just felt under the weather. I didn’t have a hacking cough. I had the merest whisper of a cough. I had the slightest tickle in the back of my throat. My temperature may have gone up a notch or two for a short period of time, but nothing that was abnormal. The thing that stuck out was an increasing feeling of grogginess or brain fog. Despite the fact that I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol since a celebratory drink at the birthday lunch, I felt like I had a two-day hangover. The children came home from school and we went into isolation, just in case.

By Thursday, I knew I had something different. Still no meaningful cough and only minimal increase in body temperature, but I had a peculiar sensation of something settling deep within my lungs, almost like breathing in talcum powder. I wanted to cough but I couldn’t. When I did cough, it was dry and unproductive. I noticed that I felt fine when I
rested (although I still had a heavy head) but breathless even after minor exertion, like having a bath. My feet and hands felt cold although the rest of me was warm. I can’t say for sure, but my blood pressure seemed to rise too. When I looked in the mirror, my face looked red and puffier than normal.

The original carrier was sick in bed with what she described as a bad case of man flu

This was when the hostess of the party called to tell me that she was sick as were all the guests. The original carrier was sick in bed with what she described as a bad case of man flu. It was probably Covid 19 since there was a direct line of transmission to a known case. But we wouldn’t get to know for sure since no one is being tested unless they are hospitalised.

By Friday, I had sensations that a heavy weight was placed on my chest.  I have mild asthma, so I recognise this feeling. It’s what happens when you are exposed to an allergen or have unrelieved asthma – the chest tightens. This, it seems, is the really unpleasant bit about Covid 19 since it can happen to many people who get the disease, whether they have asthma or not. Actually, the sensation is deceptive – you can actually draw breath if you stay calm and don’t panic. I lay on my side in bed, in the recovery position, with one of my knees drawn up. This helped relieve the sensation, which tended to get worse in the evening and at night. I felt fine as long as I stayed in bed but tired and a bit dizzy if I tried to do much else.

When I woke up this morning, I felt the band of tightness was relieved somewhat but I now have a deeper more productive cough and I can feel the arrival of impending ear infections due to gunk building up in my Eustachian tubes. I know that this disease can take a turn for the better – or the worse – in the next few days and am hunkering down to await what happens next. Luckily, I have friends and neighbours leaving fresh milk at the door and the local shop is delivering the papers. We have a big enough garden for the dogs to run about and we’ll all get through this. I’ll keep you updated on progress.

Thea Jourdan

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