“Read and follow the instructions on the wall, ensuring to take care when doing the swab”, the NHS Test and Trace worker advised me, when I went to take my PCR test at a walk-in COVID test centre on the 20th January.
Firstly, thank you for all of your messages and support across social media, via text and in person, they mean a lot. I’m sharing this as my own personal documentation of having had Coronavirus. Many people don’t show symptoms, other people might have the same, different or worse symptoms than me, but my snapshot is below.
My other half had a lateral flow test on the Monday, which came back positive. She had a PCR test provided by her work and was subsequently sent home. At this moment, I felt a little under the weather, but felt fine enough to work from home and that’s what I did for three days.
On the Wednesday, I woke up feeling absolutely awful. Still intending to work from home, I took my own lateral flow test, which came back positive for Coronavirus.
I immediately got onto the NHS Test and Trace website and looked to book myself in for a PCR test at a walk-in test centre. There was a slot available at 09:30am the same day, so I booked and attended. The test centre was big and well laid out. I was the only person there having a test. I was in and out within 10 minutes.
Back home, I felt absolutely awful. I felt cold, achey, shivery. I had sinus troubles, the feeling of wanting to vomit and be sick all the time and a hacking cough. This isn’t a normal cold, this isn’t even the flu, this is something I’ve never experienced before and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through either.
I ended up sleeping on and off for most of the day and have a couple of calls from Test and Trace, one telling me I’ve been a contact with someone, the other telling me I’ve tested positive. Once they merge the accounts together, they tell me I can leave self isolation on the 29th January 2021, but right now, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
Two days in and amongst all of the previous symptoms, I’ve now lost my sense of taste and smell. The hearing in my right ear begins to go and I can’t quite put my finger on whether this is part of the Sinus issues I’ve got, earwax build up, or something more sinister – there’s been one reported case of someone having Coronavirus who permanently lost their hearing.
I’ve lost quite a bit of weight having had Coronavirus, along with my appetite. Not being able to taste or smell means whilst I may be hungry, I simply don’t see the point in eating. I’m exhausted, so would much rather sleep than put something in the oven or cook a meal. I do, however, continue to drink plenty to keep my fluids up. Luckily, I only really drink water, which apparently doesn’t taste of anything anyway!
The team at Test and Trace call me a few more times to find out how I am. They call them ‘welfare calls’ and the people at the other end of the phone are lovely. They are, however, made to ask questions that are quite obvious. “You’re not going out anywhere today, are you?” Is one question I got. “No” was my reply, having told her my symptoms. “I know, but sadly it’s a question we have to ask”, she replied, accepting how silly the question sounded.
Fast forward 10 days after my positive PCR result and here I am, writing this post. I still have a hacking cough, can’t taste/smell many things, though I have managed to get out to see an audiologist about the hearing in my right ear. Turns out that the eardrum is inflamed, so I now await a call from 111 to see an Out of Hours GP, to hopefully prescribe antibiotics.
I don’t know where I got Coronavirus from and I’m thankful it didn’t lead to hospitalisation. That thought did run through my mind a few times. I wouldn’t wish Coronavirus, no matter how severe the symptoms or not, on anyone. I get the feeling I’ll be dealing with some of the aftereffects of this for the next few months.
I can’t fault the NHS Test and Trace system. For me, it was quick and efficient. The call handlers on the welfare check calls were courteous and polite, a friendly voice at the end of the phone.
Fingers crossed this is the one and only time I’ll knowingly have Coronavirus, but I will continue to adhere to the guidelines and hope we can get back to some kind of normality in the next few months.