Apart from a really rather weird minority, I think it’s generally accepted that having COVID isn’t the most enjoyable way of spending a fortnight.
Our whole household went through the experience recently and I would definitely not recommend it. We got lucky in that we made our way through it without the need for any hospital visits but still – it was definitely the worst I’ve ever felt and we’re still not back to normal over a month down the line!
So sit back, relax and live through the miserable details of when COVID came visiting chez Hopes. Unless you have yet to be vaccinated, in which case go out, get vaccinated, then read it. Unless you don’t believe COVID exists, in which case purchase a brain, get vaccinated and then read it.
Right then, the disaster all began, as it does so often, with a Saturday night out in Reading. We were out for Sarah’s early birthday celebrations which involved an Italian restaurant, some indoor mini golf at a new bar and a last minute decision to visit Popworld. It was the first time Sarah and I had been out together with friends since before Lockdown #1, so we thought we’d make a decent night of it.
The only other time I’ve been to a Popworld was a few years ago in Newcastle after a work deployment. It was packed out with a massive 8 other people, one of whom was inexplicably helicoptering his penis on the dancefloor. But the shots were cheap and the music was pleasantly horrific.
I digress. Anyway, it was a good night out, we kept in our little group bubble, didn’t mix with other groups where possible and found our own little corner in Popworld so didn’t spend more than a few seconds close to anyone outside our group.
A jolly good time was had by all and we were all fine for the next few days. We both took a lateral flow test on Tuesday evening after I came home from football and all was nice and negative. We were due to go away on holiday the following week and life was rosy.
I went to work for a late shift and had another lateral flow test at the start of my shift like I always do and it was negative like it always was. Sarah was feeling a bit sinusy when I spoke to her on the phone at about 730pm so I suggested she might as well take another lateral flow test just in case. And BANG! BOOM! POW! It turned instantly positive. Balls.
Not that I had any legal basis for doing so anymore, I decided to exit the office quick sharpish and head home to avoid potentially spreading anything to my colleagues. I’m nice like that, you see. Admittedly I did finish eating my fish and chips at my desk first – I’m not THAT nice!
Sarah booked in for a PCR test the next morning and Joshua and I had one too just in case. I worked from home the next day whilst awaiting all the PCR results, although again I didn’t technically need to given I’m double-jabbed, so I could have gone in and coughed over some strangers if I felt the urge.
Saturday morning and the exciting results came in that Sarah was indeed positive whilst Joshua and I were still negative. Given Sarah had been ‘shedding her viral load’ over me and everything around me for a few days by that point I assumed I may also come down with it pretty soon, but I laterally-flowed myself into oblivion all weekend and still nothing. Would I get away with it? Would my awesome immune system, coupled with my two lovely jabs be enough to keep it at bay? In short, no, but let’s not skip ahead too far just yet…
Where were we? Ah yes, Sarah’s PCR test had come back positive exactly 24hrs after her test, at 830am on Saturday 21st – the day before her actual birthday. She had what felt like a sinus infection, along with a loss of taste and smell, a cough, fever, general exhaustion, tight chest, ached all over, shivers and also had really sore soles of her feet. All pretty classic COVID symptoms.
She isolated in our bedroom in the hope that no one else would catch it and I brought food up to her and put it through the feeding hatch which I’d hastily carved into the bedroom door. Not strictly true, but I think it adds to the drama.
Given I was still testing negative, had no symptoms and could legally go anywhere and lick as many strangers as I wanted to I was able to do a Sainsbury’s shop and teach my mum how to do a home lateral flow test just in case! This would prove handy a few days later…
The tricky part was what to do about the holiday we had booked. On Monday 23rd we were all due to be heading away on a Hoseasons short break along with my mum. Joshua was very excited about going and given it was the last full week of the school holidays we couldn’t really rearrange it either. We also weren’t sure whether we would be able to get a full refund given that legally 3 out of the 4 of us could still go!
Sarah was feeling pretty rough on the Friday and Saturday, but starting feeling a bit brighter on the Sunday so she said the rest of us should still go the next day as planned as she didn’t want to ruin Joshua’s only chance for a Summer holiday. So we got everything packed and decided to make the final decision on Monday morning. I tested myself again on Sunday night and was still negative, as was my mum.
As I still felt weird about going away on holiday despite living with someone with COVID I decided to take one final lateral flow test at midday before setting off. And that’s when this happened…
Almost invisible positive line appeared almost bang on the 30 minute mark. Balls. PCR tests were booked for me and Joshua and cases were unpacked (or rather left in the bedroom to be unpacked at an undefined later stage!).
When I contacted Hoseasons that afternoon to say we wouldn’t be coming and tried to get the holiday money back they initially said that government advice was that I didn’t need to isolate whilst awaiting my PCR result so I should still come! However once I said I had developed a bit of a cough so couldn’t legally leave the house they were ‘happy’ to give me the refund. Phew!
My PCR came back positive the next morning, but Joshua was still negative so to give him a fighting chance of not catching it too my mum took him back to her house to stay. All legal of course these days and we really didn’t want Joshua getting ill just because we’d decided to go out for some golf and a dance a few days before!
Anyway, I’m properly dragging this out now, so let’s cut to the chase. Sarah felt a lot worse over the next few days with all the symptoms I mentioned before and we even had the paramedics out one morning as she was feeling really light-headed whenever she tried to stand up.
I was feeling gradually shitter over the next couple of days, so we were very glad that Joshua was away at my mum’s rather than jumping over us, constantly talking about Minecraft and demanding that I bounce on the trampoline!
Obviously as soon as we discussed the fact that we were glad Joshua was away, my mum rang up on Thursday morning to say that he had tested positive when they did their lateral flow tests. I booked some PCR tests for them both and told my mum to drop him back to us after the test in the hope that my mum would be saved from catching it too.
It was lovely having Joshua back in our house of germs, filth and abject misery. Not that I got to see much of him as by the end of the week I felt so shit that I could barely get from the bed to the toilet and back! I didn’t have the sore feet or loss of taste and smell that Sarah had but I did manage to successfully tick off a few decent symptoms.
Fever – tick. Achy all over – tick. Asthma playing up – tick. Completely knackered – tick. Couldn’t sleep much due to shitty recurring dreams about Minecraft – tick. No appetite – tick. Headache – tick. Shaking and shivering like a shitting dog – tick. Generally pissed off with life – tick.
I virtually never take painkillers but I was popping them like they were going out of fashion for a solid two weeks in a bid to keep my temperature down. Given my lack of appetite I think that by the end of week two I was 90% comprised of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen.
Here’s a thermometer, in case you haven’t seen one for a while…
Joshua never suffered any symptoms at all throughout the whole ordeal and carried on as if nothing had happened. Which was great, of course, but at the time it felt as though perhaps it would have been nice if he had slowed down just a little bit and just wanted hugs and snuggles whilst watching films!
This is Joshua, really struggling with COVID…
Anyway, I’m really dragging this out now, but suffice to say it was the shittest couple of weeks health-wise that I’ve ever had. I’m glad we were both double-jabbed as I’m assuming if we weren’t it would have been even worse. I’ve no way of proving that of course but I’m sure it must have helped a bit, because we both ended up not going to hospital, which was a definite bonus!
It was lucky that we didn’t both come down with it on the same day, as fortunately Sarah was feeling a little bit better by the time I hit my worst, and I was feeling OK still when Sarah hit get worst on about day 6.
Annoyingly, when the ten day isolation period ended we did not immediately go back to being well again. I’m sure I read in the COVID brochure that after ten days I would be fully recovered, so this little hiccup was very disappointing and would definitely put me off testing out COVID again.
Instead of feeling rejuvenated and ready to return to work and general life I continued to feel like absolute horse shit. The fever and most of the main symptoms had gone fortunately, but the exhaustion draaaaggggeeeeedddd. I needed at least ten hours of sleep each night to function at all and then an hour or two nap to recover from doing anything strenuous – like pairing some socks or walking round the garden. I even fell over a sun lounger in the garden when I lost my balance trying to kick a ball. Smooth.
It’s now been exactly a month since I tested positive and I still have hardly any energy and need a load of sleep to function. I’m still taking much more asthma medication than usual and I still get knackered walking around a shop for more than a few minutes. All a bit shit.
My sick note runs out at the end of this week so I will be back to work next week. This means I need to find a way of waking up at 430am again rather than getting up briefly for the school run and then going back to bed until midday! Hopefully they won’t find me asleep on my desk on the first day…
Overall, I would rate my COVID experience as 1/10. Not recommended to anyone.