Contracting COVID-19

It’s been over a month since I’ve last written a Trusty Water Blog post and the reason for that is, a few days after my last post, I contracted COVID-19. The first symptom was just a mild cough and, being a young person with no existing health problems, who didn’t smoke, lead an active life and was not overweight, I didn’t imagine things would get a great deal worse.

As it happens, things got much, much worse. Some readers may recall that I wrote a post addressing the conspiracy theory that COVID-19 is a hoax and used logic to explain why that wouldn’t make sense. Well, now I can say, from first hand experience, that this is a very serious illness which can affect anybody, even those who might expect not to get such a bad case, like myself.

Once I’d moved beyond a simple cough, I found myself having a terrible fever, having all my joints ache immensely, having my sense of taste turned on its head and getting completely out of breath from the smallest tasks. The fevers were so bad, I found myself hallucinating: I was seeing white or black flashes in my vision wherever I looked. Though that may have partially been down to dehydration, because sadly, even delicious water was hard to consume, because my changing sense of taste made it taste foul and I didn’t drink enough in the first few days.

After a week of this, I was sent a device to measure my heart rate and blood oxygen levels so that doctors could keep an eye on me remotely. As it turns out, as soon as I tried it, my blood oxygen was below the safety line and my heart rate was too high, so they sent a doctor to come and see me… who ended up arriving at 2am in the morning. When she arrived, they identified that COVID had caused me to develop an infection in my lungs. To treat this, I was given antibiotics.

Over the next week, I slowly, but surely, started to get a little bit better. It was a very slow process, but I have to admit I started to see improvements. I thought, maybe, I was finally on the path to recovery… but then I started to get a pain in my side and my GP told me I had to go to A & E in order to have them check for blood clots. Though it was difficult, I got myself to A & E and waited for them to see me – after two hours they did. I thought, at last, maybe I’ll get a bed and can lay down. I was absolutely exhausted from being out of bed for so long. Unfortunately, they noticed I had a fever and then asked me to wait outside in case I was contagious. As I had lost the strength to stand or sit, I ended up lying on the floor outside the hospital for some time between three and four hours and considering I was already in a lot of pain, this wasn’t a positive experience.

Anyway, eventually they saw me and ran a number of different tests and determined I’d suffered a pulmonary embolism, giving me a large number of blood clots in both lungs. They also identified that one of my lungs had been damaged by the virus. Ultimately, they kept me in the hospital, even keeping me on an oxygen machine for a couple of hours on the first day. I honestly spent most of the time either sleeping or just dosing in the bed, I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired for so many days. On the third day, they gave me the choice between staying in the hospital and recuperating at home, so I chose the latter.

Now I’m looking at a recovery process which could last for several months, while also having certain symptoms and weaknesses that will be with me for my whole life. It’s frustrating being so weak and I often have to nap in the middle of the day if I do anything. I’m very grateful that I have a very kind and helpful house friend who has helped to look after me, but I also hate to take so much from somebody who has a life of their own to live, with its own stresses and struggles. I’ve tried to be very careful throughout the pandemic, yet this happened anyway. This could happen to anyone. So let this be a cautionary tale to you: get vaccinated when it’s available to you and make sure you don’t take any actions which could cause other people to catch the virus. It’s no exaggeration to say that this could have cost me my life and I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone.

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