Wilbrahams Covid-19 Jackie and Malcolm Grant

A further item in our Wilbrahams Covid-19 series from the Grants who were the first (as far as I am aware) in the villages to have what they think is the coronavirus.

COVID 19 A personal experience

How strange that we were in Wuhan this time last year. It was a one day stopover on our trip to China. It is a city of eleven million people and the largest manufacturer of fibre optic cable in the world, a place no-one else had heard of. Our guide was very proud of his home, and took us to a beautiful park where friendly people invited us to dance with them on the shores of a lake. We both came back with chest infections that lasted for weeks and in Malcolm’s case, for months.  Surely just a coincidence.

On 16th March I started to have a cough and a slightly raised temperature. Over the next few days I felt fine and then more ill in waves. After one week I was definitely worse. The 111 website and questionnaire were useful in reassuring me that I wasn’t ill enough to go to hospital. I was not in bed all the time, but there were days when I got up and just lay on the sofa for hour after hour, in a dreamlike state, just existing and breathing. Later the same day I could read, knit and prepare a meal. I felt reassured that I couldn’t be so ill if I was able to do these things. We were lucky that our high and lows seemed to run on different timetables, so when Malcolm was tired I could look after him and vice versa.  If we had both been fatigued at the same time, there was nobody we could ask to help, we were alone with this.

My cough was never really bad but for the first time in my life I found that any exertion left me out of breath and slightly panting.  My temperature was not really high, just a degree or so above normal.  This phase lasted about two or three weeks. I started to get better and enjoyed walking round the garden but was still feeling really tired.

Then my breathing once again felt laboured, my temperature was rising slightly and I got really worried. I was frightened that I could end up in an ICU.  I wasn’t bad enough to go to hospital at that point but decided to call our GP. Over a telephone conversation he advised that he thought I had a lung infection and prescribed antibiotics. Apparently COVID can weaken the lungs so that it is easy for an infection to take hold. He must have been right because the antibiotics got rid of the symptoms.

Just before I showed symptoms we had been preparing for some sort of isolation, we stopped going to our Spanish and art classes and shopped for some extra provisions. As Malcolm’s symptoms started the day after mine we think we both picked up the virus while out shopping, either at Tesco or Scotsdales. We now wear a mask and gloves while in the supermarket. Of course, we were not tested so we can’t be sure that the illness was COVID.  Certainly we won’t be added to any statistics.

So, nearly five weeks after the first symptoms, I am not completely recovered, I feel more like I am convalescent . I get tired easily and can’t walk as far as before without feeling a little breathless. I am very lucky to have recovered.  During the hardest time our kids were great at staying in touch and lifted my spirits with their love and care. Now I really appreciate my garden, the lovely village we live in and the kindness of friends and neighbours.

Jacki Grant

My experience was not as severe as Jacki’s, a bit breathless a bit of a temperature sometimes a bad headache and overall complete listlessness.  But unable to do much at all for the best part of a month. Feeling better now but a morning’s activity can still wipe me out for the rest of the day. We’re both a lot better but can’t really say we have recovered yet, even after five weeks.

Malcolm Grant