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Jackie's Story

Jackie’s Story

Published 03.05.21

Covid kicked in on 30/01/2021 I had aching body, low grade fever, bit of a tight throat almost like swollen glands. Test completed on 01/02/2021 and confirmed positive on 03/02/2021.

My symptoms progressed to extremely cold and painful legs, headaches, buzzing in nose and weird sense of anxiety to the point I could not relax or sleep very well but no cough,high fever or difficulty breathing. I could still taste food although appetite was affected by nausea.

Two weeks of strange symptoms followed. Deathly pallor, extreme fatigue like walking through water, headache, diarrhoea, nausea, sore eyes, extreme vertigo almost like sea sickness, strange buzzing in nose and ears and highly anxious state as if my brain was being affected but no cough, high fever or difficulty breathing. I could still smell and taste but felt like I had swollen glands in throat.

Week three things were starting to improve. I noticed things didn’t taste quite right but assumed I could still smell as I could smell certain things like oranges however eventually realised my sense of smell was greatly reduced and I could in fact sniff deeply in to a whole pot of black pepper and not even sneeze.

Some foods tasted foul such as coffee, chips, bread and pasta other food just tasted less flavoursome. Unfortunately for me very sweet and salty flavours were the ones least affected and I was worried about weight gain. However as the weeks have rolled by that was the least of my problems. It’s been over two months since testing positive and in that time I have not returned to my former self. Previously as a carer for my adult son who is tetraplegic and also having a teenage son I prided myself on the fact that I was incredibly resilient and fit and healthy for my age. I rarely get ill and when I do I recover quickly. It was this confidence in my health that perhaps gave me a false sense of security and may have contributed to myself, my teenage son, my paralysed son and his team of carers all contracting the virus.

Bizarrely despite being classed as extremely vulnerable my disabled son had a relatively mild illness and recovered quickly. In fact I am the only person from that group to still be suffering ongoing symptoms. As a result I feel other people struggle to understand and they don’t always take my symptoms seriously. It has been a nightmare as at the beginning of March I developed a severe throat infection and a large ulcer on the roof of my mouth that made me feel even more unwell. I still had swollen glands in my throat and behind my ears, headaches, aching limbs, extreme fatigue like trying to walk underwater. My energy levels were so depleted with significant fatigue on exertion that I could not complete my normal routine. Shopping, or giving the dog a short walk caused breathlessness, headache, vertigo, shaking and my exhaustion to return. Previously I exercised 5 days per week but that would be impossible now and I am so worried that at 62 I will never regain my former health and fitness.

Whilst I have been depressed and worried about this I would like to impress that I am definitely not the sort of person to become overwhelmed by illness or stressful events. I have responsibilities and commitments especially to my sons and I simply want to return to my normal routine. Unfortunately whilst the sore throat and swollen glands have settled down I am still suffering from extreme fatigue especially on exertion (for example just trying to prepare and cook a meal) causing shaking, breathlessness, heart palpitations, aching limbs, headache and overwhelming fatigue.

I still cannot smell or taste properly although that does seem to have improved slightly. I still try to do as much as I can and have managed to increase my daily walk but I have now accepted that my mind can no longer dictate to my body and I need to listen to it more carefully. Now when I worry about recovery I just remind myself of all the people who didn’t make it through this terrible virus and consider myself and my family blessed to have survived.