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Michelle’s Story

1st confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK were on January 29, when two Chinese nationals fell ill in York. On February 6, a British businessman in Brighton was diagnosed with the virus after catching it in Singapore. But this is just not true….they were not testing anyone who called 111 or the doctor with symptoms unless you had travelled from Wuhan or Italy. I know this 1st hand.

I landed in Las Vegas 26th January, fit & healthy prior to flying and unhappy because I broke a nail below the skin line prior to arriving at the airport, but still excited ? when arrived at hotel there were hundreds of Chinese with face masks on, celebrating Chinese New Year.

6 hours of landing I had major diarrhoea and pain in the stomach, thought likely from the plane meal. After this we hit the casinos until about 2.30am and headed back to the room.

When I tried to lay down in bed I had major pain, like being stabbed in the heart, I wasn’t able to catch my breath, so ended up sitting up, pacing the room and using partners asthma pump (never used prior) I felt in real need of medical attention and was a little scared, but didn’t want to over react in case it was heart burn. Unable to get showered when partner woke, due to pain in chest, I sent him out for pepto-bismol and electrolytes drinks.

I didn’t feel right for a couple of days, really short of breath, no appetite.

31st Jan whilst walking down the Vegas strip my partner became ill….quickly! Shivering, sweating, body shutting down and he had to go back to the hotel room immediately leaving me in the casinos for the night. Extremely unwell the next morning, he consumed vast amounts of alcohol to enable him to get up, pack and spend the last day in Las Vegas. He must have drank a bottle of vodka that day to get through it, before arriving back at airport for trip back. He fell asleep before takeoff, we were unable to wake him until landing 10 hours later, which needed air hostess help.

Next morning, back to work for me, dropped daughter off to school, picked dog up from kennels, feeling right as rain until 11am then was unable to view things on my computer, headache, shivers and body shutting down, the same as my partner. So had to take myself to bed.

Later, unable to breath, with feeling of someone sitting on my chest, rang doctor and told to ring 111. I knew this was something different to flu but they told me it wasn’t, but not to go to Doctor or hospital, but to use partners asthma pump.

Unable to move from bed to bathroom without fainting, I asked my mum for help but I knew what I had was not right, so told her not to come near the house but pick my daughter up outside (so glad I did now).

Rang 111 again as unable to move or breath, again, told not to see doctor or go to hospital!

I returned to work following week 9th Feb, still exhausted, short of breath. Had to return as I look after NHS contract for catering food to them. Then the onslaught started and I knew there was a problem as hospitals were suddenly requiring different types of menus for 24 hr feeding of staff.

I warned my family and friends not to see their elder relatives well before any government announcements. I was working 16 hour days to keep up with things with the NHS. Every night exhausted, missing full meals as too tired, sleeping all weekend, thinking it was stress from work.

RASH appeared on the inside of both arms 23rd March, nasty, raised red area with red spots within, same day lockdown was announced, well after the huge increase in numbers! NHS already struggling! Furlough scheme announced, putting further pressure on those left in any businesses on the frontline. Assumed my exhaustion and rash was due to stress, Doctor telling me it was and rash likely to be psoriasis. I also noticed problems with my vision, unable to make words out on my computer, then getting ulcers in my eyes and stinging, yellow muck in them. Again, I thought it may be stress.

Mon 20th April about 3 weeks of rash appearing, went to bed, but upon laying had heart palpitation taking breath away? Then followed by another, but this time 50 seconds, unable to catch breath, felt like I was fainting, even though laying down! Next morning felt unusual, pressure on chest, difficulty breathing and mentioned the episode to a work colleague, who advised I shouldn’t ignore it. Again thinking it was stress, pushed on until Wednesday evening when I called it out to my boss, saying I wasn’t right.

Wednesday night when going to bed, I was unable to lay down, with the same stabbing pain to my heart, as I got when landing in Las Vegas! 3 months after initial symptoms? Unable to catch my breath, very shallow breathing I paced the night until the major pain in my chest became unbearable, even after cocodamol.

So I called the Doctor again in the morning, but again, they would not see me, told to call 111 who suspected a heart attack! Told to take aspirin immediately, Ambulance sent. Crew great, with me for 3 hours, didn’t suspect Covid as no temp, blood pressure high but no heart attack detected. Pressure came off chest while they were with me, (which I now know was due to taking aspirin) suggested they take me to Hospital but warned I would go straight to Covid ward! This I was scared for and was happy when they agreed to speak to my doctor, and agreed it might be more advise able to get antibiotics and asthma pump prescribed.

Frid night, now unable to lean forward, lay down or breath! I was in real trouble, now frightened and felt I was fighting for my life! Unable to breath in or out without major sharp pain in my heart…was this it!?

Taken to hospital, but still no sign of heart attack. No Covid test still? Xrays of chest showed no fluid on lungs, unable to breath though! Told symptoms were pericarditis, swelling of the sack surrounding the heart. But not even a stethoscope was put to my chest, I was told the rashes all over my arms were not linked!? Was completely shocked when told I should go home!! But I couldn’t breath and was in major pain! I was told complete rest and anti inflammatories!

Propped up with cushions all around me, on the sofa in an upright position, with the use of a neck pillow for flying, was the way I spent the next 3 weeks! Unable to move, lay or breath without thinking I was dying!

I started to research Covid and the heart where I found medical evidence from America, Italy and China of the virus attacking the heart and blood vessels but doctors just shunned me saying it was coincidental and they had no evidence of this.

I sent pictures of my arms covered in rashes, explaining I was losing the feeling in my arms below the elbows, again they told me it was not linked and to take antihistamines, but still no one would actually see me, even though I asked to use my private medical insurance!

So I investigated rash and Covid, where I found detail of 5 rashes in Covid patients. One of these was identical to mine Livedo or necrosis. Where circulation in blood vessels is impaired, referring to the death of tissue, suggesting occlusive vascular disease, limiting blood flow to the body and extremities.

Why was it the doctors and hospital were still not aware of these when I was able to find out the information on-line? Why would no one see me but only talk over the phone, why was I sending them the information and links from the internet before they listened to me!?

Then I started to get major heart palpitations, heart racing, missing beats, making me feel nauseous and faint, still unable to lay down, trying to get the odd hour sleep, sitting up! Unable to speak, laugh or breath without stabbing to the heart!

Doctor finally sent for advise from a cardiologist but I was told I was still unable to see anyone! I had to have Covid test to prove I didn’t have it at this time because I had developed a continual dry cough, when trying to move or speak, so they didn’t want to have me enter the doctors for further blood tests. This was now end of May, my Covid result was negative, which I expected and pointed out, I got this end of January.

I told them all the symptoms, and others that were now developing, ulcers on my gums, in my eyes, loss of feeling in my arms and hands, pain in my calf’s, extreme exhaustion, loss of appetite and hearing, unsteady when standing, heart stopping! By body stopping!……then a few seconds later, sudden sharp intakes of breath which were uncontrollable. I was frightened for my life but no one would see me or listen to the link in my conditions!

Finally I am asked to see a nurse for further blood tests, who when saw the state of my arms said I must send pictures to doctor as no one would actually see me and see all the issues that were evident! I sent the Internet links to Rash and heart conditions again to the doctor who then decided to have a mobile heart monitor scheduled, but again I was still unable to see a Doctor and it was fitted by a nurse at another practice who didn’t know about or have any medical notes on me. I had it on for a week and had to post it back in a letter box. To this day I still do not have any results from this!

I decided I must try to get a anti viral test, to prove I got Covid whilst flying to Las Vegas, this may be the only way anyone would take notice, so I sent for one privately at the end of May as NHS were not allowed to give the test to the public and were struggling to get the test for themselves.

A week later, the private company explained the government had stopped all private tests going out and had asked them to get CE approval and further tests to be sent to government before they would let them send them out, even though this was a vital piece in the jigsaw. To this day, they have still been held up by government so not sent?

FINALLY saw a private cardiologist on 29th June! 5 months after initial symptoms and 9 weeks after suspected heart attack.

When he saw all the other conditions on my body, he was concerned and agreed that my heart problem was a likely cause from a viral infection and agreed it was likely from my trip to Las Vegas in January. He also believes the viral condition has not worked itself out of my body and that I am now likely to need to see viral specialists and other specialists in lungs, skin conditions as he could only deal with my heart. The vital piece of information he needs from me is whether I did have Covid back in January, or whether it may have been another virus. This would then help them decide on who I need to see and best course of action going forward. He also said that if it was Covid then the way forward may not be clear as there is so much still unknown about the virus. But again he could not give the anti viral test?

He is chasing further tests, echocardiogram, CT tests of the whole chest area, to understand the damage that has been caused, but there is a huge waiting list.

I have now been off work for 14 weeks, heart racing from 74 BPM to 119 BPM just sitting, doing nothing! When my resting heart beat prior to illness was 62 BPM.

When I try to climb the stairs my heart feels like it is going to come out of my chest 130 BPM. I wake, unable to breath, exhausted all the time, continual dry cough when speaking or moving making me gasp for air, heart palpitations that are frightening, and heart pumping so hard and fast at other times, it feels my chest will explode! Still not able to go for a short walk, stuck inside since 24th April apart from drive to see nurse and other medical appointments.

I have a couple of good days and get excited, then exhausted and short of breath again, the rashes lessen and flatten, looking more like bruising, with “no feeling” to affected area. Then they raise nasty again and I know the palpitations, heart racing will start again and the shortness of breath when sitting doing nothing. I have been taking anti inflammatories since calling the ambulance and when I stop I get the pressure and pain back on the heart.

My daughters 12th birthday 25th July, I felt I needed to celebrate in some way, so took her to local Zoo, but after trying to walk for 10/15 minutes, I felt I was relapsing again. Muscle aches, weird shivers, vertigo, continual dry cough and feeling of lump coming into bottom of throat. I rested every 20/30 steps to slow my heart rate and gain my breath. Again, I’ve been back in bed exhausted, feeling extremely unwell from that afternoon. Today 30th July I am back up, but short of breath.

My broken nail from 25th January has never grown back to this day!? I still have ulcers on my gums. I still have the nasty rash and a very white tongue, which I have treated with all sorts of medication.

Why can you now shop, see a hairdresser, go to the gym, go swimming indoors, eat at restaurants, go to the pub, but still not be able to see a Doctor face to face?

Doctor finally rang me to ask me to go for antiviral Test last week, he wasn’t sure if he was allowed yet, but agreed it is vital to know the way forward in my treatment…finally!

I am now 6 months after having initial symptoms…

I hadn’t shared my story with anyone but my closest friends and family, felt alone, frustrated and frightened. It has felt like there was no understanding from the Doctors. I was having to send medical evidence, pictures etc to them, for them to listen to me. My Doctors certificate says “numerous unexplained conditions” how can this be?

I had spoken to my family and friends at the end of April, saying there must be thousands of people like me. I can’t understand why this is not being recognised.

For those of us that contracted this early, there were no tests. If you wasn’t admitted to hospital, with positive result, there is no rehabilitation support. We are not able to be involved in trials. But we have a longer timespan of conditions.

I have diarised my daily conditions, with times, conditions and picture evidence since the ambulance was called. I am sure this would help with further understanding, but I have no where to share this. It was only last week I fell upon the Facebook groups which also led to this site.

My results came back negative for anti bodies this week, was I surprised…no. The Doctor explained that only approx 20% of people who did previously have a positive Covid result showed positive for anti bodies. It also appears anti bodies only last in your body for a short time. So for those of us that contracted this early we are unable to give any evidence of having it.

This week I have also been prescribed a steroid inhaler, which I hope will help. I am delighted to have been finally contacted by the hospital for respiratory referral, but waiting list is long. I was also contacted yesterday and given appointment for my echocardiogram next week, 3 months after going to A&E with major chest pain. Although I am not hopeful on any results, as the more I read and investigate the more I see that people are not showing any conditions in tests.

I purchased an Apple Watch to help me track my conditions with heart and BPM. I have continued to take supplements that I took well before having this. High dose Vitamin D and C. Multi vitamin B complex, daily collagen, Amega 3, Turmeric capsules and plant steroids. I don’t drink caffeine and have increased my intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.

I have still not been able to get back to weight prior to having this and still have 2 to 3 days at a time where I do not have an appetite, also same times I lose taste.

I long for this to all go away, am desperate to resume normal life again. Bringing me back to health that I knew before January, now appears a long and difficult road.