Claire tells us how COVID19 has affected her and the physical symptoms 10 weeks after she was initially diagnosed.

Massive thank you to Claire for agreeing to be interviewed via zoom :)

so thank you so much for, uh, volunteering or being volunteered to to tell your story. So I I really leave it to you now to just tell us what was it like to have covid. And you know what life is like now, after covid. So yeah

Yeah, OK, um, so just a little bit of background. Um, I work in early years setting, um and I've me myself. My mom is my mom lives with us, and she So we've been really, really good

So we've we've not been out. Um, only to, like, go shopping. Um, we've not met up with anybody, not been visiting family or friends

So, um, I was quite shocked when I did actually get covid. Um, it it did start. It wasn't the traditional

Like what? They say the normal covid symptoms are. And I didn't have a temperature. Um, I had a cough, but at that point, it wasn't continuous

It was just I would have I put it down to I thought I just had a heavy cold. I had a headache, and I had pressure being out of my eyes and nose. Um, and, um, I was sneezing a lot and I had a runny nose

Um, so I'd gone to work the Monday morning. Um, and we is a, um The nursery is in a three story house. Um, So by the time I climbed two lots of stairs, I was really out of breath, and my manager said, I think on the safe side needs to go and get a test

Um, I kind of argued a little bit like, Well, I haven't got a temperature. Um, it's just a code. Um, but she said no, just go and get a test

And so I came home, and, um, I got, um, the health trainer helped me to sort of test out. So I got a test on the Monday. Um, And then the test results came back on Tuesday

And while I was waiting for the test to come back, I suddenly realised that I couldn't smell anything or taste anything. Um, I was drinking a brew, and it just tasted like hot water. It was the most disgusting thing I've had

Um, and then the test results came back very quickly and by the afternoon to say that it was positive, so I to be fair. At first it was a bit of a shock because I purposely was adamant. I had a cold, um, very quickly track and trace got involved, um, and phoned me up and said, You know, we have to isolate I have to give details of my family that I live with

So they was contacted as well because they have to isolate. And then from the day my test result came back, the symptoms got worse. And so by I'd say, day three

So the day after my test results came back, I could barely move, and it it felt like, um, somebody was stood on my chest and like So it was very weighty on my chest. And every time I moved, I was just coughing and I cough and cough and cough. And so I was nearly vomiting, and it just was constant coughing

Um, and it felt like somebody had elastic band underneath my ribs and was pulling it really, really tight. It was really, like restrictive breathing. And I couldn't make it upstairs without um having a massive coughing fit or really struggling to breathe

Um, and obviously my taste had gone, and my smell had gone and I try. Obviously, you still try to drink. I was really nauseous, so I wasn't eating

Um, but even drinks, everything just tasted bland. Um, he didn't want to eat. Um, and it was just literally from that day confined to my bed, I couldn't move

And I was so fatigued. Every muscle, especially my legs just wouldn't just couldn't move out of bed. And the only time I got up was to go to the bathroom, and that was a struggle

And my husband, who obviously my daughter was isolating so to kind of separate the house and to try and keep away from each other. Um, and those those symptoms lasted for a good seven days where I was just literally confined to the bed. I just couldn't leave out in bed, um, because of it

And and it was head pressure. I also got ringing constant ringing in my ears every on and off, which was a really, really, really strange sensation. And it was just basically for those seven days, I was just like, in an hour of sleep, and I'm just just completely drained

Um, track and trace. Um, contact me like every other day and just to see, um, basically that I hadn't left the house. Um, and it came up to I'd say, nine day nine of the isolation period

So we have to isolate for 10 days. And I got contacted by track and trace. Um, and I spoke to a gentleman

Um, and it was very much a case of, um, you know, your 10 days are up tomorrow. As long as you haven't got a temperature, you can go back to work because, um, you're not infectious anymore, and your symptoms can continue for a few weeks to months. And so at this point, I felt a bit like, Oh, I've got to go back to work

I've got to kind of get live with. Got to live with it. Kind of

I think I wasn't ready to go back to work. And I really shouldn't have gone back to work. Um, but I did

Um I lasted a day and a half before my manager sent me back home. Um and I got in contact with NHS 111 and the doctor on the NHS 11. I can't thank him enough

He was so helpful and so supportive and because I couldn't get through to my GPS and I obviously phone reception, he said. You can't have an appointment unless basically, it's an emergency. So I got it

This was the Thursday and the next available appointment was the following Tuesday. It's like five days, but I couldn't get a sentence out without coughing. It was literally coughing and couldn't speak

And the chest was still tight. And so yeah, so I contacted NHS 11. He was really helpful

Um, could Could could clearly hear that I needed some help anyway, because my GPS are open. It's really strange. I had to wait till six o'clock before he could help

Do you know, sign posts me to out of hours. And so he said he did sign posts me to the, um, the Covid clinic in Hazel Grove. Uh, so I attended there, and, um, I had a check up, and they basically just said it

You still it's still covid. Um, so at that point, I was given antibiotics, steroids and strong painkillers for the pains that were in my chest. Um, because obviously constantly coughing in the Tyson chest, he brought on pains

So, um, it was it wasn't severe, but when they came, they kind of took your breath away a little bit. Um, so after after that, the officer said you're not fit for work. And I have to wait to see my GP for five days later to get, uh, you know, not fit for work kind of certificate kind of thing

Which it did end up having another two weeks off work. So all in all, I had four weeks off work. So So what timeline was this was this before Christmas, Clare when you were

So I got I got my test result back on the second of November. So you looking? Yeah. So I went back to work just before the Christmas period

Just before the like, the middle of December kind of thing. Um, yeah. And so I've obviously I I'm in work now

I'm trying to stay in work. Um, however, I have been left with quite a few still symptoms, So, um, I still get breathless when I talk a lot. Um, and I've got the cough and cough

I've got phlegm on my chest that obviously trying to clear all the time. Um, I've got fatigue, So by the time I have finished work, I am I I literally all the muscles in my legs ache. It's almost like my head says, Move

But my body says No, my legs just stop moving. And my husband has to help me out of the chair at night. Time can't just give me a portion of my direction before it can even get me my legs moving

Um, but the main one that I the main one that I am struggling with at the moment is insomnia. Um, I'm getting about two hours a night sleep at the moment. Um, and I'm working an 8 to 9 hour shift a day

So it's it. It feels like at this moment that you I'm in a constant battle with myself because I'm so tired and so fatigued, but I can't sleep. Um, and I've spoken to a lot of people online, and they've got exactly the same thing and insomnia side of it

So how how do you manage your day? Because, I mean, I I don't know. I don't know, because I work with her. Yeah, So I I just I just go through it

I just I just just plod on and plod on and plod on. And so I get home. Which is why, by the time I get home, I'm not fatigued

I can't move. So what is? What's your basically? So once you're home, it's basically just, uh, have some tea and sit on the set or go to bed. Well, yeah, that that's that's that's pretty much it

And you kind of feel a bit guilty because I I've got a young Well, my daughter's 14, So I feel like I've got no energy for her at the weekends. I'm just constantly trying to catch up with sleep, and, um, but it it's the fatigue side of it as well, because it's not just tightness. You, you feel like you've got, um, heavy weight on your head, and your your legs just don't want to move it

You feel like you've run a marathon. It's like every muscle in your in your in especially soy thighs just just ache and just are so heavy you've you, you struggle lifting a leg, and that's that's what it is at the moment. That's what I'm suffering with now, at the moment

But I've also had other symptoms where I've had vertigo. It's not every day, but sometimes I wake up and the room is spinning and I've had very recently, um um, like I had a massive bliss it almost like a burn on on my tongue. And really, really, um, right at the end of my tongue

So every time I yeah, it hurt. And because with the the symptoms of the the no taste and smell, the the with the taste and the very first symptom to come back is was salt. And so anything I all I could taste was salt

So any meal you had, it was like an overwhelming salt taste to whatever you ate. And so that came back that that was the very first taste that came back. And then anything kind of tangy

So anything like tomatoe based or, um, Citrus fruit? It came back, But you can't taste anything else, but they overpowered the meals. And now, with the with my tongue, Now it's salt is still a very strong taste. So it almost feels like it

It strips my tongue, my tongue feel my mouth feels so dry. It's almost like that. The salt is takes all the moisture out of your mouth

And it is just a really strange, strange feeling. So did you sort of adjust your diet with it? Do you just I've just been trying to spicy or Well, I obviously, most of my taste is back now, um, so I get a lot more taste. Um, but you do feel that I don't like to have salt on the meals or anything like that, because it's really powerful

Um, and I've just kind of been eating just because I know I'm working like full time, and I know I have to eat, but I'm not enjoying it. I'm just eating for the sake of eating, Um, because I don't want to be ill basically and just sat with a family and just eating, like would, But at Christmas Per say, we just had Christmas. Um, and I can I can even enjoy chocolate chocolate burnt my tongue

It just tastes like it kind of it. It was really incom feeling, Um and, um and I like to have a drink at Christmas, and I've not had I've had I had one because it just it just wasn't enjoyable. Um, so yeah, it it is quite a strain

And I still I still feel that to this day, I'm still battling on with symptoms. Um, but I have, like, I have booked in with a G to see my GP. I haven't actually got a a GP appointment on Monday to see about the insomnia, but it's just something we understand

GPS are so, so busy at the moment, you just can't get to see anyone. It's a bit a long waiting list, but yeah, that's more or less at the moment. Pretty much

Yeah. So did you get any other support whilst you were ill And with with covid And afterwards. And the only support I had was from family and friends

You know, just messaging to see if we needed anything. Um, but track and Trace did ask when they did contact us whether we needed any support and things out there. But I have, um, family and friends close by

They were very willing to not to go into a shop for or something like that. It it just felt like a case of it was just a case of shut All your doors and just get on with it. Kind of like it kind of is

Yeah. It must have put a strain on the family as well. It it it did, In a way, I think, um, because my mom who lives with us and she had and she caught it as well she got, um, she had it two days after I got it

She got tested positive, Um, as well. Um, so there's only me and her that's had it in the house. Um, but to be, to be fair, I think they're four weeks

I don't remember any bit of it. I was just out of it. Gosh, I feel like it's putting a strain on now because I feel like I should be better and I should be over it

And I should be doing things with my family, and I should be enjoying it, but I just can't, because it the energy levels are just not there and obviously, like exercise. I don't know if I put my exercise things like that. You just get breathless so easily

You know you don't want to do anything. Yeah. Is there anything that you think would help or is it just basically, the advice is it's just taking it day by day, I think taking it day by day

But, um, I do feel that there's not a lot out there of, um, I mean, I've joined recently like a covid support group, and we kind of supporting people through it because everyone gets different symptoms. It's not like because you always feel it's the classic symptoms like the temperature because it's a couple. It's not that for everybody

And you just sometimes just feel like, um, you're on your own, but you're not, because I think it's because you're in closed your own closed doors. You're not going out anywhere, and sometimes you just feel you just got to get on with it. And it's like like the track and trace system you understand

It's like the 10 days, but then you feel after the 10 days you just feel like you're kind of left on your own, so it's just to have that just someone to say. Actually, I felt like that or, you know, just someone to go. Do you know what? I don't feel good today just to have that I think that I think that big? There's a big massive, you know, thing around the support system of actually people who've been through it

Yeah. So what? Where do you access the group? I access it on Facebook, and it's a covid support UK group. OK, that's really helpful to know

Yeah. Yeah. It has been really helpful because people just post on, um, a comment and everybody will just support each other through it and, you know, give their give their version of what happened

What happened with them? Yeah. And I suppose that's quite a comfort, isn't it? Knowing to on being able to talk to somebody who has been in a similar situation, even if the symptoms might have been, might have been different. Yeah

Yeah, there's a lot of, um, I think this as well with the news, and there's a lot of panic out there. There's a lot of people panicking. Um, and a lot of people, um, being told it's just in the It's just anxiety

And quite a lot of the symptoms you're left with are kind of in your head. That's what I'm hearing quite a lot through the group. So it's just to know that you know there, it's not in your head and other people are feeling exactly the same way

So what's the anxiety about just not to be believed or and it not to believe. But I think because what your body goes through, you just feel so it just makes you feel down and depressed and and then you start feeling like any little twinge, or it could be back or you don't want to show. You just start worrying a bit more because you've been through it and you know how severe it is that any little anything that you just think, Oh, what's this, the way I think myself lucky

But I'm I'm I'm I am still alive. I am still struggling, but there's a lot of people out there that didn't make it.

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