It was a typical Sunday morning. The radio was playing love songs, Kepler was chewing his toy squirrel, and the Covid tests were brewing on the side. As I served up the runny egg soldiers, I glanced across at them. Over the past eighteen months, we’ve stuck many swabs down our throat and up our nose. And every result has been the same- one line only. Except this time. This time, one test showed two lines. A positive result. One of us had the Coronavirus.
We looked at each other in shock and disbelief. Eyes wide, mouths gaping, as we both double checked the test. Yep, definitely positive. Then the laughing started. A -wow I can’t believe this- kind of laugh. We shouldn’t have been surprised. In the past week, Phil had been pinged by the NHS app after his first trip abroad since the pandemic; and my Mum had tested positive, after being my first house guest in two years! But after nearly a week of negative tests, we thought we were safe. Out of the danger zone. Hastily, we moved apart from each other! 😉
It was me. As soon as I reported my positive result on the Covid app, the wonderful NHS swung in to action. 🙂 As part of the ‘Living with Covid’ plan, I’d already been identified as of highest risk, due to my immune-suppressant medication. Therefore within hours, three doctors had telephoned for a check-up, and to make arrangements for me to have an antibody infusion the next day. And the home PCR kit that they’d previously sent for this scenario, was quickly posted off.
By then I’d developed symptoms. The occasional tingle in the throat -that I’d been ignoring since the day previous- now became fully scratchy and irritated. My nose started dripping, speaking made me cough, and my lymph glands ballooned into golf balls. The next day, I awoke to find my nose blocked and my pyjama top soaked by night sweats. Yak! I felt off. Full of a cold. But with the dreaded tell-tale tingle that it was moving on to my chest.
Throughout the past two years, I’d sometimes imagine how it would feel to test positive. After months and months of repeated bombardment and reminders that I’m vulnerable, I’m at risk, I might die; I assumed anxiety and fear would floor me. I’d feel sick and cold just thinking about it. But when the day came, surprisingly, it was calmness that filled me. Even though I knew I was among the most at danger, even though my lungs were currently struggling; the chirping birds and panicked voices and shakes and tears didn’t show. For the first time since the pandemic began, I felt strangely confident that I’d get through it ok. Strangely certain. More than any time before, I had the best chance of survival: the Omicron variant was less deadly, I’d had a fourth booster jab in January, fellow PHers had coped alright, and I qualified for anti-viral treatment. No longer did I feel like the odds were stacked against me. No longer did I feel helpless. Now I stood a chance. As I told my family, and chatted to the doctors, I felt at peace, accepting of the situation, whatever would be would be. And even the next day, when I could feel the virus attacking my body; my hope and self-belief was far far far greater than any fear.
Thankfully, a mere twenty four hours after my positive result, the wonderful NHS pumped me full of extra soldiers to fight the infection. Hooked up to an IV line, monoclonal antibodies were dripped in to my blood stream. Forty minutes of sitting still, watching the Covid outpatients ward. Coughs and masks and beeping machines. It felt odd to be there. I’d spent two years keeping away from positive folks, yet now I was sitting among them. Was one of them. After further observations to check for no adverse reaction; I left with an oximeter to keep track of my saturations, an extra army to beat the virus, and a greater belief that I’d be alright. My wonderful body could beat this.
And I did. 🙂 Within hours my symptoms had reduced. And on the day after the infusion, they were barely there. A little sniffle, the odd phlegmy cough, and a bit of breathlessness. I continued to rest and drink and rest and drink; but from the seventh day onwards I felt back to normal. I could even cope with the odd dog walk around the park again!
As promised, the wonderful NHS kept an eye on me throughout. Every other day or so, a nurse from the ‘Covid at Home’ team telephoned to catalogue my symptoms, check on my oxygen saturations and pulse readings, and be a friendly, calming voice. Their regular contact was a wonderful reassurance. I felt supported, not alone. If I had questions, they could answer them. And if I got worse, they had a plan to help. Thankfully, after a week, I could happily report that my ailments had gone, and the line of the LFT was incredibly faint. However, it wasn’t until day fifteen that just one line appeared, and thus I could be discharged from their care. They hurrahed down the phone!
It was only when I finally had that negative LFT that I could trust that I’d beaten it. Complete and utter relief flooded my body. I didn’t realize that I’d been harbouring stress, until the weight lifted and my muscles relaxed. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted it be over, until I spontaneously started cheering and laughing and celebrating around the kitchen. A dance with Lottie, a selfie with my negative test, a few excited town-cries to the birds. I was still full of joy and elation, as we later celebrated with a steak dinner. The reward that I’d promised myself on the first day. 🙂
Two years ago, I’d likely not have survived the virus. But thanks to the scientists and vaccines and antivirals; thanks to the doctors and nurses and NHS; thanks to the vaccinated in society and those who agreed to trial drugs… I was fine. Amazingly, wonderfully, thankfully, I was absolutely fine. So so so much gratitude. 🙂