I started working from home on 17th March, and I started showing symptoms of Covid-19 on 19th March. I’d been out shopping that morning. Sainsbury’s was busier than I’d ever seen, with queues for the checkout going to the middle and the back of the store. I decided to go to Waitrose instead, which was only marginally less busy. I thought I had hayfever so I went to Boots to stock up on medication, and I went to Poundland to stock up on household essentials like washing liquid and bleach. At this stage, there was talk of a lockdown for London, but nothing firm. There was a rumour in the FT that the lockdown might involve the army, and start on 20th March, but this was squashed by ministers.
That afternoon of the 19th, I started to feel achey, and by the evening, I began to feel cold and shivery. I thought I probably had the flu. I didn’t think I had Covid-19. I went to bed at 9pm and even with two duvets and a hoodie, I felt cold. The next morning, my temperature was up around 39 degrees, and I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed. Two doctor friends from NCT thought it was strongly likely that I had Covid-19. I felt terrible. Achey, cold, shivery, feverish, extremely lethargic, and I had an inability to hold a conversation. I couldn’t even concentrate on a TV programme and even going to the toilet and going for a shower was difficult to muster the energy for. I was in bed for most of the day and night. My smell and taste buds also changed, as anything with vinegar in it such as tomato ketchup smelled and tasted like ammonia.
The online 111 advice was to self-isolate for 7 days and for Angelique and Zach, to self-isolate for 14 days. This wasn’t easy in a one-bed flat but luckily we had super-helpful neighbours who helped us take our bins down to the communal bin area so that we didn’t have to leave our flat. We had enough food to see us through 14 days of self-isolation and one of our neighbours brought us some banana bread and others bought us some lemons and ginger.
The lockdown itself came on 23rd March and it made the self-isolation easier in that everyone was now basically self-isolating. We couldn’t leave the flat to go to the shops or take daily exercise, but apart from that, our experience was now the same as everyone else’s.
By day 9 of the Covid-19 (28th March), I still had a high temperature and developed a horrendous cough. The cough was so bad that it stopped me sleeping at night. It was so loud and frequent that it woke Zach up. It drove Angelique crazy. I didn’t start to feel myself again until around day 13, much longer than the expected recovery by day 7. The cough will linger for a while longer. It’s the 8th of April now and I still have a bit of a hacking cough but I’m just glad that I didn’t have any shortness of breath. That was my big fear, particularly as it went past 7 days with Covid-19. What if my body couldn’t shake off the virus? What if my immune system was just overrun? Shortness of breath would have meant a trip to the hospital, which would have been a bad day because it seems that once you go to the hospital, there’s a reasonable chance that you don’t make it out. There’s a lot of terribly sad stories of people going into hospital, and their loved ones can’t visit them, and they die in hospital with none of their loved ones around them.
We’re allowed out for infrequent trips to buy groceries and medical supplies if needed, and we can go out for an hour of exercise near us. I went to Sainsbury’s on Monday 6th April, and there was a queue outside with around 20 people all spaced 2m apart. It didn’t take long to get in and once in, there was a civilised atmosphere, with people mostly observing social distancing rules. In contrast to before the lockdown, there was a lot on the shelves. I managed to get some chicken, some noodles and even some toilet paper.
We’re lucky to have a balcony and we get sunshine in the mornings until around 12.30pm. We’re also lucky to have a nice park on our doorstep to take an hour’s walk around.