Monday morning 5am, I woke and I could hear Adam’s breathing, it was like he had been for a run. I asked him loads of questions about chest pain, what does it feel like to breath in, I felt his pulse it was bounding. I called 111, to get advice, they spoke to Adam, loads of questions, they will call back. 111 called back, we had the nurse on speakerphone she said Adam needs to go to A & E. I said I was able drive him; I think I was on pure adrenaline at this point, I wouldn’t have trusted me with a matchbox toy car.
I asked 111 if they pre-alert the hospital, they don’t, this brought up some serious concerns for me. I know I am positive for covid, I’m in a panic, about to rock up to A & E, knowing that I am full of this virus and its highly likely Adam has it as well. I contact my manager hastily explain what is occurring, he ring’s me back as I’m driving (handsfree), and instructs me to go straight to A & E. Meanwhile Adam’s panting like a dog on the back seat, I keep on talking to him, I’m scared now, what if he goes off in the back seat, I feel totally useless, I’m supposed to know what to do, I don’t know what to do.
I’m outside A & E, I go to the entrance quickly read the sign, press the buzzer, I am aware that there are two people behind me getting closer. I tell them that’s far enough, as though I am communicating with some kind of hostage taker. I suddenly blurt out I’m covid positive, like I have a gun, they take one giant step back. I quickly explain to the person who answers the buzzer what I am there for, she said she will arrange a wheelchair.
I go back to the car, Adam’s opened the back door he is worse, I’m trying calm him, to slow his breathing. Then a sister and a nurse appear with a dynomap and surgical masks, I put one in Adam and then me, saturations, blood pressure and heart rate are shouted out. I know his numbers are worse than terrible, a doctor comes out wearing shorts, I have no idea why I remember this.
Adam is wheeled away in a wheelchair and I’m standing there, hot tears falling down my face into the mask. The sister shouts out to tell me to book Adam in at reception. I go in, like a small child being sent to headmaster’s office to be told off, the flood gates have fully opened. The receptionist asked me loads of questions, I can’t speak, my mouth is opening but only a cry comes out, it doesn’t help that I am wearing a mask, so any lip reading the receptionist could do is lost behind the mask. The receptionist tries to verbally pull me back into shape, so I can answer her questions, I’m not sure what I am saying, my brain fog is clouding my thoughts, my tears are muffling my words.
I walk back to the car, start the engine and leave, now my face is burning from the tears and I can’t see, and I’m driving. I pull over and make the phone call I was dreading. I’m calling Adam’s mum, I can barely speak I’m crying so much, I can’t answer her questions, I just don’t know the answers, I should know the answers, but I don’t, I drive home, empty, lost, bereft.
I am alone, I’m frightened, no I’m petrified, I can’t go anywhere, I can’t see anyone, I want a hug, I want my mum, I want Adam to be here with me, he will know what to do. I realise I am totally on my own, I feel empty and totally useless, did I miss something, should I have taken Adam to hospital earlier, should I have insisted on an ambulance and not drive him in myself, bloody hell I could of crashed the car.
At home, I recalled Adam’s mum I’m more composed, I still can’t answer her questions, I promise to update her as soon as I know anything. I contact my family and let them know what’s happening. The cat wonders in the sitting room, she hasn’t had her breakfast yet, I’m meowed at to remind me.
I return to the bedroom, exhausted physically and emotionally, in one swift movement, I strip the bed, I have no idea where this energy has come from, I’ve been struggling to walk to the bathroom for the past week and the stairs have been a once a day excursion. Adam and I have both been coughing in this bedroom cocoon for a week, I’m worried about germs loitering in the duvet cover, on the bedside table, on the chest of draws, on the window and windowsill. It takes time to put on the new duvet cover, I have to sit down a few times just to get the job done. My friend video calls me, she can see the state I am in, breathless, coughing, fearful and tearful. She tells me off, telling me to sit down, rest, I can’t my mind is all over the place and I don’t really want to give my brain time to think about what has happened this morning. Plus, the bathroom needs its daily clean, I think to myself I’m going to have some issues with cleaning.
Adam sends me a WhatsApp selfie, telling me he is OK, I can see in the picture he has a non-rebreath oxygen mask on and a bag of fluids hanging up behind him. I tell him he scared the shit out if me, but I love him. I know he is in the right place, getting treatment, I update everyone and tell him to contact his mum. Later that day he is moved to a ward, put on IV antibiotics, they think he has a bacterial infection, he is also told he is positive for covid-19. I’ve settled down and take a rest from this madness. We exchange messages for the rest if the day, a consultant tells him, he may need to go to ITU if he gets worse, but that is a last resort. Those words ITU, hangs there in the back of my mind, you don’t want them to, but they do.
I switch on the TV, I can’t watch it, its full of news about coronavirus, every word that is spoken makes me feel down and upset. The infection rate, death figures, testing, the politicians, the so-called experts, they have absolutely no idea, what this is doing to people, how they are feeling, how they are coping. The reporters are magnolia in their approach to questions and just accept the answers without question, no rebuffle, it’s too easy for them.
In the afternoon a letter has arrived for Adam, it tells him he is positive for covid and needs to self-isolate for 7 days, it makes me chuckle and reminds me of when my mum was receiving treatment for breast cancer and she had a letter for breast screening. I let Adam know about his letter, pointless I know.
I’m getting messages posted on my Facebook, I ask Adam would he mind if I post something, he doesn’t and spends the next 30 minutes WhatsApping me, wanting to know what I have written for the Facebook post. It takes time for me to write it, the brain fog settles in and I am struggling for words, the right words. I use the picture that was taken New Year’s Eve, we were both in work. I start by saying we are supposed to be in work, but we can’t go to work as covid-19 has been paying us a visit. As soon as I press post, my phone goes berserk, I send Adam a message apologising, he tells me his phone is on silent and he had dropped off to sleep, he cracks me up.
I Put Netflix on, I can’t watch the end of Ozark as Adam isn’t here, I put on the Crown, I’m watching, not watching, it’s not even bubble-gum for my eyes or a distraction for my brain, I try and stay awake, but the tiredness of overpowering me. I wake up to words on the screen, Netflix is asking if I am still watching, I kind of am and I’m not, I press ‘continue watching’ just for the noise of people talking, just to make feel as though I am not alone.
When I wake up the next day Adam has sent me a message, I’m cheesed off at myself because I fell asleep, his message is at 3.43am. We exchange messages, neither of us have eaten, we both don’t feel like it. The news reports The Prime Minister has been admitted to hospital. Adam’s doctor has called me, he says he is happy with his progress, but is concerned that his oxygen saturations drop off and he may need ITU support. I update the family, I’m worried, but I can’t tell anyone I’m worried, because they will worry, and I will worry more. This is a never sending cycle of worry, I try and stop worrying. The irrational part of my brain is starting to twitch, all scenarios go through my brain, none of them very good.
I go in the shower, the steam makes me cough quite a lot, hanging onto the tiled wall provides no anchor for me. I return to the bedroom and rest on the bed, my friend videos calls me, I’m breathless, trying to catch my words and coughing. She is obviously concerned, I reassure her it happens every morning and it’s just the shower causing my immediate symptoms and it will wear off. I promise to call her later, after I’ve done the bins.
I spend the day filtering through messages to Adam, offers of smuggling in sweets and fruits, I know we won’t be able to do it, but it kept us amused.
Adam messages me in the afternoon he isn’t feeling well, his oxygen saturations have dropped, and he has had an accident, one of those accidents, it’s not surprising after the amount of IV antibiotics he has had pumped into him. I try and make light of the situation, but I know how he is feeling, something’s your dignity never recovers from.
I have finally plucked up the courage to do the bins, there are steps leading up to my house, 15 of them, never bothered me before. But now carrying one bin bag at a time down the steps and having to stop and rest before going back up the steps, is like a walk up Pen-y-Fan. I really hate bin night today, its showing my weaknesses and I feel like a pensioner. Let my friend know my first world struggles with the bin bags, in our phone call.
Adam messages me in the evening, he said he is struggling a bit, I messaged him back straightaway, ring him, no answer or response. I’m panicking now, what the hell has happened, reluctantly I ring the ward, I know they are busy and must put on PPE every time they enter the ward areas, but I have no option. The staff on the ward tell me that he is alright and sleeping, I start crying, I am relieved. I go up to bed, the cat has trashed the bed, duvet cover all over the place as though five people have been sleeping in the bed, I have no idea what the cat has been doing up here, must have been a cat party for one and a packet of dreamies.