I am in a window of energy that is likely to last no more than 2 hours, in my 2nd day out of isolation from covid19. The last 12 days of my life have brought into sharp focus who I am, what defines me in this world and what really matters to me. I am blessed to be entwined in an intricate world that scaffolds me as a Mum, wife, sister, aunt, niece & friend to so many. I love and I am loved.
Being connected to those I love has sustained me through these last 12 days. I am also an experienced nurse, nurse educator and a doctor of my professional practice. Lastly, I have a rare auto immune neuro muscular long term condition called Myasthenia Gravis, that I have had steroid / immunosuppression therapy for over the last 6.5 years, to keep me well. All of the latter shapes how I view & experience life.
Categorised as at the highest clinical risk from covid19, I shielded, followed all advise and received my 3rd booster vaccine on Friday 8th October 2021. However on Monday 11th October, I became unwell with covid symptoms, rapidly deteriorating from my usual multitasking, Mum, Lecturer, Wife, swimming through life ways to unable to move of the sofa due to shortness of breath. PCR test confirmed covid, complete bedrest, with fevers, loss of taste/ smell/ at best enough energy to walk to the toilet & back, at worse no energy to open my eyes or speak…but at home. In the last 12 days, my flatness in life, radiating chest pain and shortness of breath have led to 3 paramedic assessments, a & e and 2 days in the covid ward. I believe, I was most likely one of the most well on the covid ward, but I was terrified of the combination my myasthenia and of this nasty virus, every healthcare professional uses the word nasty to describe covid. I have no idea where I contracted it, my world has shrunk post covid, I have not been in crowds, I swim every day in a covid safe pool, I predominantly work from home online, any time I have been on campus in an empty office and I get my groceries delivered. I was just bad luck catching covid despite doing all I could to avoid it. Today, I feel I can ‘talk’ so I want to share these experiences and thank those who I believe might not realise how much I appreciated their help when I felt the most weak and vulnerable ever have in my life.
I want to thank every person I have had contact with in relation to my covid19 experiences, except maybe the person who gave me it! While in my own home, everyone on phonecalls around track & trace, to 111 call handlers, nurse assessments, to paramedics, GP receptionists and neurologist medical secretaries have exuded compassion, concern, safe, person centred and effective care thank you. The ambulance that took me to acute care was driven by military personel, I listened to criticism around on the radio while in hospital about bringing in the military…Why? It got me to hospital safe, fast and allowed my experienced paramedic to reassure me, so once more thank you.
Once in hospital, the teamwork and support for each other shone in the darkness from the corridor into my single isolated room. The domestic supervisor thanking his staff for moving to this ward because their usual staff member was off sick, the Health Care Support Worker who sang & joked in the 11th hour of a 12 hour shift. The other Health Care Support Worker who said how nice my room smelled, after my 1st shower in 3 days, when I could smell nothing. The domestic who came to clean my room, but eroded the silence that deafened me with fear by showing me how to have hospital radio on and how to charge my phone from the hospital tv, these tasks were not on his to do list, he did them to be kind, so thank you. The cups of tea from people from around the world who only ever had to be told once, how I took my tea, thank you. The doctors who eased my big worries around covid complications once they had full pictures of my medical assessments, their honesty around still learning about covid humbled me, thank you. The pharmacist who patiently listened as I slowly, breathlessly explained my unusual medication regime and planned accordingly, thank you. Special thanks the Porter who took me to get ct ‘d who recognised me from working together at woodend 21 years ago ! I did not think I looked, sounded or seemed me, but he saw me. Thanks also, to the radiographer who helped me to the toilet,waiting outside pre ct, when I most likely looked like I was about collapse! My most privileged thanks, though go to the nursing team, who cared for me, who I had taught during their degree. When I was most scared it was because I felt like the very essence of me was dissipating before me, no strength to talk, move, having to concentrate to swallow; all related to covid exacerbating my myasthenia, I believe, the nurses looked after me with such compassion. I felt so weak, they told me they could see I was strong. They thoroughly assessed, intervened and cared in the way that suited my version of covid, I improved. Thanks to all of them, I’m able to say thanks from my own bed. The teamwork was simply amazing, from a team who most likely are all completely exhausted. The NHS is such a wonderful institution, yes it’s tired, yes it’s stretched, but lets remember it is still doing it’s very best and instead of criticising, be grateful for it.
Motivation – Get vaccinated
Some friends and family have said, oh me you got so unwell and you had your vaccines. I said to all, if I had not had my vaccines I have no doubt I would have ended up in ICU. My auto immune neuro muscular condition and years of on / off steroids/ immunosuppression, to keep me well, impacts on how I am protected from covid but I did have some protection, thank God! Remember when this all started, the initial deaths all said the person had underlying medical conditions as well as covid, the vaccine meant I did not become one of those statistics. So if you have not had your 1st or 2nd or are wondering about your 3rd booster, go get it as soon as you can. This could mean you never have the experiences I have had in the last 12 days. It also means you will not add to the worst winter in the NHS that is being anticipated. Get vaccinated for you, all those you love and for our precious NHS.
Having covid has made me realise the love of the people you love, really that is the most important thing of all, so protect you, them and our NHS.
PS : Any typos, grammar errors = covid brain fog, forgive me 🙂 Now it’s nap time…AGAIN!