One step forward and two steps backwards; Day 6 was incredible, I felt like myself; the light at the end of the tunnel was lighting up my fingertips and then Day 7 hit!
South Africa (03 July 2020) – Stop the COVID-19 rollercoaster now, I want to get off! The last you heard from me, it was Saturday the 27th of June. I had shared a full breakdown of the symptoms I had from my symptom day one to symptom day 8.
I had written that I started my morning completely symptom-free but by 11 am that changed! I was due on a zoom call with the family and I could feel I wasn’t up for it. I pushed on and sat smiling and nodding along as everyone spoke and reconnected. The nausea just wouldn’t relent so the rest of the weekend was spent in bed sleeping.
I emerged on Monday morning feeling better than I had felt the last two weeks. I worked a full day without any nausea or other symptoms. It was so fantastic… And then I woke up on diary day 7 (symptom day 11) and a brick wall collapsed on me. My fragile emotional state couldn’t hold up to experiencing one more day of nausea so I retreated to bed and spent the last 48-hours hiding from the world.
Today is diary day 11 and symptom day 14, I can feel the fog lifting. My mind feels clearer and my body, while a little tired, feels right. As I have explained before, when you have COVID, you can just feel something in your body is wrong, but you can’t pin it down exactly.
A few interesting things happened while I was missing in action; so let me fill you in.
I got a call from the health department! Yeah, that was a stressful one as I had to give a full account of my days leading up to my COVID-19 test, pass along all the contact information for anyone that I came in contact with and had to detail my symptoms.
The woman who called was actually wonderful. She was patient as I pulled up dates and contact details. She was compassionate about my symptoms and kind when I expressed my frustrations about the ordeal. We ended our call with her passing along her mobile number and requesting that I contact her if I needed anything.
She did rock the boat a little in our home though. Turns out I calculated our isolation dates incorrectly. I worked from my first symptom day and she worked from the day of our testing so our isolation was extended by three days.
My partner has remained symptom-free the entire isolation which has meant, as an essential services provider, many important jobs went undone. The frustration and cabin-fever have reached a boiling point so the news of missing a further three days of work came as a shock.
Other COVID-19 updates and a splash of advice!
My domestic worker and I managed to have a very good chat on Saturday evening. She said her coughing had started subsiding but that her breathing was still a struggle. She still expressed fears and I did my best to ease them.
What frustrated me most was that her nurse at the clinic did very little in the way of providing information on treating symptoms. She received no medications or even helpful advice relating to COVID treatment. So when she asked me what she should do, I only had a few practical tips.
For a start, I have personally found that having steaming showers with Eucalyptus, to be quite relieving. So I advised my domestic to boil some water and rub Vicks on her chest. Then to steam until she felt her chest clear a little. A small comfort and using tools I know she has at home.
We have all seen those posts being shared about what to do if you have COVID, while I still fully follow the advice from my doctor, I did spend a good 15 minutes in the sun each day. I have stayed hydrated by keeping a full glass of water at my side, at all times. I have been drinking lemon, honey and ginger tea (a wonder for treating the nausea) and I have been eating lots of fruit like bananas and oranges.
We were sure to introduce more leafy greens at dinner and overall, tried to take as many vitamins and minerals as the guidelines would allow.
The final COVID-19 call
My doctor made her final call this morning. She feels my symptoms have run their course and that I will now truly be on the mend. She has said her door is always open should I need it but she has faith that we are through the thick of it.
I cannot wait for this process to be over! It has been tough but not the worst thing I have had to go through. I wake up each morning thankful that my COVID-19 experience has been mild in comparison.
What I am taking away from this is that keeping your body healthy, is key! We have lived a life where we ate a little too indulgently and drank a little too deeply. We compromised our workouts for late nights and lazing on the couch.
I personally plan to walk the dog a little more, to really invest my time in healthier pursuits. We hope to spend more time with family when the lockdown is over, to travel a little more around our beautiful country and to invest more in local suppliers.
Not only did I get my final call from the doctor, but I also got a really big wake-up call. It may sound far too philosophical but it is true. I was never at any risk of losing my life to COVID-19 but I became very aware of the risks and how one bad day could change everything.
We don’t know how long COVID-19 is here for and we don’t know how it may affect my health in the future but what I do know, is that I have the chance to share my experience; shine a light on the scary parts and hopefully help a few people in the process.
I hope these diaries helped you understand COVID-19 a little better. Please just remember this virus is different for everyone; you know your body so listen to it!
If you would like more information, the South African COVID-19 website is a wealth of knowledge and zero-rated so you don’t use data accessing the information. If you too test positive, you can access the NICD isolation information here, and remember, don’t panic!
If you missed the previous diary entries, you can find them below.