Well here I am. It’s the middle of September and I’ve just had my ninth time in an ambulance since just before Easter. Flashing lights,sirens screaming and me in the back wired up to the ECG and oxygen. My Google timeline since then has been from home to hospital then back over and over again. When coronavirus hit I was shielding because I’ve got a dodgy ticker. Five heart attacks. Heart failure and have an ICD fitted(yeah I didn’t have a clue what it was either,it’s a pacemaker and defibrillator)so I was already starting at the back,bit like one of those outsiders in the grand national,legs shaking at the first hurdle. Easter Saturday I was walking down the stairs when Bang!!the defibrillator kicked off. White light. A terrific whack in the chest then at the bottom of the stairs,scared and not knowing what had just happened. The old ticker going ten to the dozen. Paramedics turned up quickly and sometime in-between being wheeled into that ambulance to leaving hospital some four days later,I caught coronavirus.
These last five months have been toughest of my life. The days never ending. One of the reasons I’ve started a blog is to keep me from not going insane and keep the gray matter from crumbling. And as for my body,well let’s say it’s seen better days. I can’t walk far without panting like a pit pony,and my heart doing strange jumps. When I came home that first time, the hospital was already in panic. Covid was really winding up and everybody in there from cardiologists to cleaners were masked. But I was actually pretty confident I would be ok and wouldn’t catch it. The cough started first,just a daft tickly thing more annoying than anything else and I was very tired. Everything I ate and drank started to taste bitter, horrible and the headaches were a dull pain .But when the fever hit,that’s when it really started.
It’s hard to describe now,looking back, but the very bones of me were burning and my skin frozen. I,ve never felt anything like it,even the five heart attacks.I wrapped myself in a duvet to keep warm but it felt like I was walking through a blizzard. I didn’t think it could get any worse but the fever made my ICD fire off again and again. It was only doing its job. To get my heart back into some sort of steady beat,and it did it well. Every couple of weeks or so it would fire off as more fevers hit. So it was into the isolation room on the cardiology ward. I ended up going from there to a covid ward as my symptoms changed constantly. I felt toxic,every breath poisonous.And the breathlessness started to get worse as did the fever. At times I was delerious as were many patients on that ward. Not knowing where you are or even who you are is literally a nightmare. Its left me with broken sleep and a bad dreams that play over and over to this day. I thought the fatigue, flashing lights in the corner of my vision, tinnitus,headaches, brain fog, palpations and not being able to take a full breath and many more weird and wonderful things would have long gone but no,the virus has other ideas.
And in all of it,I was never on the critical care wards. I might have had a bit of oxygen when I was away with the fairies but can’t be sure. People may think that only patients died in critical care but that’s not true. A woman passed away in the four bed ward next to me and I could hear here through the thin walls. She was delerious, screaming, laughing,crying out till the early hours then it went quiet.And she was one of many,many more in hospitals up and down the land.
I tested positive in April and then again, strangely a month later. The doctor was surprised because my numbers were still high. Since then I’ve had several tests,all negative.But the problem is now I should be clear but no,I still have the symptoms. I’m one of the growing group of unfortunates called Long Term Covid. Its a club I don’t want to be in and if I could revoke my membership I would happily do so. Physically it’s awful and mentally it breaks you over and over. You have a couple of half decent days then wallop,the breathlessness kicks in or your heart decides to try and jump out of your chest. Its a bit like a strange game of snakes and ladders.You may get up a couple of small ladders,maybe get a good roll of the dice the all of a sudden you’re sliding down that snake back to square one.
Nobody really knows yet what it actually does long term,but a picture is slowly building up. Various organ damage. In my case my left lung is damaged. Scarred the Doctor said. My heart does the strangest beats and I’m panicking the ICD will boot me in the chest again. I’m not one of life’s worriers,but now it’s a constant. When will it start up again? What if this crappy lung packs in? Will the brain fog ever stop? (this blog has taken a loooonng time!) and of course the biggest one of all,what future do I have?
I’m one of the lucky ones though. My wife isn’t a widow and the kids still have a dad. Nearly 58.000 people have died in the UK with covid on the death certificate. The government thought this was far too high so they changed it to people dying in 28 days after a positive test. I don’t know who thought that one up. Maybe Dominic Cummings had a brainwave when he went for that thirty mile drive to check if his eyesight was fine and dandy. So now it’s around 42.000 dead. To give you an idea of the size that’s a similar number of runners in the London marathon.
And these crazy symptoms are having a race too in a way. At the moment it’s breathless out in front followed by fatigue with palpations a close third. Catching up quickly is headache then brain fog followed by chest pains. Tomorrows race may have a different winner…..And this race just goes on and on with no finishing line in site. I wish I could get my old life back. Not only does it Rob you of your health but it wipes away your personality too. My usual happy nature has buggered off and rode off into the sunset,at least for now.
And to top it off some people out there that think it’s a hoax,or some wild conspiracy. I presume this bunch are also members of the Flat Earth Society and the moon landings never happened. I read some quote awhile back which I think applies quite well. ‘Its difficult to win an argument with a very intelligent person but impossible to win with an idiot’. if I had my way I’d take the ringleaders to a covid ward and let them mingle for a couple of hours. Have a few chats,let the patient breath on them for a while then see what happens in a week or so.
It’s amazing in this day and age of technology and science all the trouble is from a tiny beast of a virus,a microscopic thing with no brain,no feelings. All it wants to do is hijack your cells,work it’s magic then move onto the next host. No one has any real idea when it will eventually leave us,if at all. It’s a simple thing really,the more people that get together the more chance it has to do it’s thing and so maybe our lives will have to change for a long time,maybe for years. A vaccine could well be around the corner but let’s face it nobody really knows when. I hope I’ll get better. I hope for the best,and hope is all we’ve got I suppose,for now anyway,until that day comes when we can all literally breath easy.