On the evening of Tuesday 14th June, I tested positive for Covid-19. It’s actually the second time I’ve had Covid, but as the first was in April 2020, when testing wasn’t a thing, I’ve never actually tested positive before.
I started feeling under the weather on the Monday morning. My throat felt strangely dry and tight. It wasn’t sore exactly, but it felt like a struggle to get my words out. I also felt quite nauseous, but I put that down to eating too much of the wrong food over the weekend – with my parents’ belated golden wedding party and my husband’s birthday. But I did a lateral flow test to make sure. It was negative.
With both kids doing exams, I was kept busy with driving them around places. The car has to be the worst place to spread Covid, right?
On Tuesday morning, I had a bit of a headache and just felt a bit rundown. It felt like a cold, but with less actual cold symptoms than usual. I was sneezing a bit, but then I sneeze quite a lot anyway.
I did another test. It was negative.
I struggled to run, which is unlike me. I always run with a cold and it’s never a problem. I thought maybe I’d take a day off running the following day.
By the evening, my head and throat were still hurting and I was coughing a bit. My ears were hurting and my face was aching (possibly my sinuses?). I went a walk with the family and did my usual chores, but everything felt like an effort. I wasn’t actually feeling hot, but on a whim, I decided to take my temperature. I was very surprised to see that it was 38.5 degrees.
So I did another lateral flow test.
It came up positive within 45 seconds!
I immediately took myself to my bedroom and opened all the windows. My husband moved into the spare room.
The most important thing was to stop the kids getting it. My daughter only had three (of 21!) GCSE exams left, but my son still had six out of 12 A Level exams.
I slept badly that night. I woke up for short periods of time a couple of times an hour. It was to be expected as I was ill and worrying about the kids being ill. There was no point also worrying about a lack of sleep.
In many ways, I actually felt better the following day. I was isolating in my bedroom and able to work. It just felt like a bad cold with a bit of added fatigue. Not having to sort out washing, cook tea or walk Hetty meant I didn’t wear myself out. The weather was absolutely beautiful. I had the window wide open and looked at the garden.
I slept a bit better that night, but woke up feeling worse. I was very tired. I also inexplicably burst into tears about my car (more on that soon) and was worried about being left on my own, even though it wouldn’t be for very long.
That afternoon, my eldest tested positive. He wasn’t ill. He’d only taken a test because they wouldn’t let him go into work otherwise. That was bad news for the younger kids, as he’d obviously been around the kitchen and bathrooms with them.
Even though I know that nearly everyone is fine with Covid, doesn’t everyone still have that ‘what if I’m not fine?’ panic? I had those few minutes where I imagined becoming extremely ill and ending up on hospital or alternatively having long Covid and being unable to recover for months.
One of the good things about isolation is also one of the hardest. It’s good for my husband and kids to actually realise how much I do for the family – washing, shopping, cooking, giving lifts, looking after Hetty and the guinea pigs, emptying the dishwasher, making appointments, sorting out the bins and recycling, cleaning the bathrooms etc etc.
I felt like I spent the whole time texting reminders and requests to them all. And even though I don’t like doing most of those jobs, it’s good to have the freedom to just do them at the right time. It’s also hard to be totally reliant on other people for food, drink and medication. I had a two litre bottle of water in my room, so that helped, but it’s hard not to just be able to get the lunch and snacks I want when I want them. After a bad day on Thursday, when the kids abandoned me for too long, the two litre bottle was upgraded to a five litre one.
I missed the kids and I missed Hetty. Being with Hetty would have meant being in rooms other than my bedroom, so I didn’t go near her for days. I enjoyed watching her out the window though.
I slept really well on Thursday night and woke up feeling like a different person on Friday. Apart from a bit of congestion and fatigue, I didn’t really feel ill at all. It was 30 degrees outside and I spent a lot of time in the garden in the afternoon and evening.
I kept working the whole time I was ill, just doing slightly less than usual. I’d been looking forward to the weekend and not having to work, but then my family were out most of the day on Saturday. So it was just me, my books and iPlayer – I’ve been bingeing The Outlaws in isolation. I felt very sad and spent some of Saturday afternoon crying. It’s always my dream to have uninterrupted reading time, but not when I wanted to be doing something else!
Isolation makes Covid especially hard. As if being ill wasn’t bad enough, you have to cut yourself off from everyone else (and I know you don’t have to, but you do have to if you’ve got two kids doing exams!). And it’s the only illness where you have to keep acting like you’re ill when you feel better, because the lateral flow test tells you you’re not better.
Although as there is no longer a rule about staying at home, I took myself out for a walk on Saturday afternoon and encountered precisely nobody. It made me feel happier. I felt like I could walk forever or even run, but I kept to a sensible mile.
I took another lateral flow test on Sunday. I wasn’t expecting it to be negative, but I was hoping to see that the line had faded. Although the result was slightly slower to come up this time, the line hadn’t faded AT ALL. I wasn’t happy!
So here I am, a week on from testing positive, still largely stuck in my room and still entirely avoiding my family. Fingers crossed for that negative test soon.