When the whole coronavirus crisis started, I was afraid for the NHS and the economy, but I wasn’t afraid for myself. Because I am the healthiest person I know. I genuinely don’t ever get ill. The last time I was ill was 2009 – with a mild virus, including a headache and temperature – which lasted about three days. So somehow I thought I wouldn’t get coronavirus.
We’re lucky that we have been able to stay at home, apart from exercise and to go to the supermarket. Nobody has had to go out to work, so I felt very safe in our little lockdown bubble.
Of course, my son had been travelling and I was worried that multiple countries, aeroplanes and airports would put him (and therefore us) at risk. Two weeks after he got home, I allowed myself a little celebration that he hadn’t got ill.
Then, last Wednesday, I was sat in the garden and I felt a bit weird. Maybe I’d got too hot in the sun? My temperature was slightly higher than normal, although not actually a proper temperature. The strange feeling lifted after about an hour and I thought nothing else of it.
But the next day I actually did have a temperature of 38. And I was getting the beginnings of a dry cough – the two key symptoms of coronavirus.
I slept very badly that night. I genuinely don’t think I got to sleep until nearly 4am. At one point I washed my hands carefully and went to get the thermometer and paracetamol, but then I couldn’t be bothered, so I went back to bed. When I got up, I had a headache and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to stand up for long. As I ate my breakfast, it seemed to get stuck in my throat and made me cough. I don’t think I’d every experienced anything like that before.
I felt ill on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, I lost my sense of smell. On Sunday, I felt slightly stronger and less tired, but I was coughing more and there was a slight discomfort when I breathed in hard. I must admit, I allowed myself to become frightened for just a few minutes. What if my initial mild symptoms had lulled me into a false sense of security and now I was going to get breathing problems?
I veered between telling myself I definitely had coronavirus and definitely didn’t have it. But, on balance, I think I almost certainly did.
On Monday, I felt a bit better and on Tuesday I felt pretty normal, apart from the cough. Obviously self-isolation meant I had no way of going out for a walk or run to see if I actually was better. And there was still that nagging fear that things could go backwards again. So I walked 7,500 steps around the garden. Doing 10,000 at this stage seemed a bit foolish. I’ve got all the time in the world to get my fitness back gradually. If my marathon had still been on, it was going to be this Sunday. I don’t think I would have been able to run it
So where had I got it from?
It had been a week since I last went to the supermarket and the social distancing and hygiene there is so good. But we don’t clean and quarantine our shopping like some people do – mainly because we don’t have enough antibacterial spray or wipes, as we haven’t been able to buy any since people started panic buying at the end of February.
Or had I caught it from home? A couple of weeks previously, my eldest (yes, the one who had been travelling) had spent a couple of days saying he felt ‘under the weather’, but he didn’t go into much more detail than that. I’d had a cold, so I assumed he’d caught that. But what if he’d had mild coronavirus?
A few days later, my younger son said he felt ill. Again, he didn’t go into a lot of detail. He just felt tired and weak – and he’d lost his sense of taste (another symptom of coronavirus).
Neither of the boys had a temperature or a cough.
Finally, my husband had a strange feeling in his chest. He said he’d never felt anything like it before. He said his lungs were aching too. But no temperature and no cough. He’d started feeling like this the Wednesday before last and was well enough to do our family non-parkrun parkrun by the Saturday.
So had all the menfolk had the mild coronavirus they talk about on the news? Amongst all the talk of the tragic deaths and the NHS heroes working tirelessly to save them, risking their own lives, we’d seen an item on a doctor’s family who had all had mild (and different) symptoms. Maybe we were the same?
But sadly for my family, I was the first person to have textbook symptoms, so that means self-isolation for them for 14 days, which my eldest in particular is very cross about. As I keep telling him, he is very lucky that we have a garden, so he doesn’t have to just be stuck in the house.
Of course, we won’t ever know for sure if some of us, all of us or none of us have had coronavirus (unless the antibody tests become very widely available), but in my case I’m as sure as I can be that I have. And I am very grateful indeed to have had the mild symptoms.