We both have a disturbed nights sleep, it’s a different environment for Adam and he hasn’t been able to get comfortable, no matter how many times he shuffled the pillows in the night. I spent the night listening out for his breathing, the slightest odd noise or cough and I’m awake, watching and listening. Plus my legs were hurting, I didn’t know where to put them, I tried resting my legs on one of the pillows, that just encouraged the cat to sit on them, scrutinising us both from her higher position on the bed, or is she doing the same as me, listening to Adam’s breathing, waiting for a change, ready to pounce, to do some cat CPR.
In the morning, we decide to tackle Adam’s hair and facial hair, it’s quite long and I can pull at his beard hair, much annoyance to Adam. I shave his head, number zero all over, he looks worse without hair then with hair, with a full face of hair, it’s like an upside down head. I have to take a rest on the bed with the cat, we both watch him shave the hair off his face. Adam has one of those electric beard shavers that came with a plastic type sheet, where you use sucker connections on the mirror to catch the shaven hair. The cat managed to steal one of the sucker pads within its first use, we can’t find it anywhere, its secreted in her hidden cache of other exciting things like deodorant lids and cotton buds. The cat is more interested in watching the shave, as she is executing a plan on how to get the other sucker pad.
I get in the shower first and cough all over the place, Adam comes into the bathroom when I’m out if the shower. My shower is over the bath, its quite a big bath as well and it’s very deep, he holds on to me to get in the bath, I can see that he is weak, his legs are wobbly, he is having difficulty standing, he won’t be able to do this on his own. I get in the bath with him, there’s not much room with both of us in there, but it is all we can do, I’m holding on to Adam with one hand and help him wash, Adam is holding on to me to steady himself, we are laughing at each other, we have turned into pensioners. He holds on to me to get out of the bath, we are both tired out and sit on the bed in our bath towels, resting, coughing and catching our breath. This is going to be a lot harder than we thought and its not helping with me being unwell as well, I feel so weak, I have no strength at all. We discuss having a bath instead, but I don’t know if I could physically get Adam out if the bath if he can’t do it himself, so we dismiss the bath idea.
Neither of us are big breakfast people, I only started eating in the morning after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, otherwise I wouldn’t bother to eat until about 10am. My appetite is non existant, we both eat fruit, I still can’t get over Adam eating fruit, its like a different person has come back to me. I can’t taste anything and basically give up eating, much to Adam’s frustration. I just don’t want food, I don’t feel hungry at all.
Adam takes a selfie of us together and posts this on Facebook, I look at the picture now Adam with shaven head, his face slimmed down, mine face is the same and we both have the pallor of a cadaver, we look rough.
Adam’s parents want to visit, they haven’t seen Adam for over 3 weeks, it’s been hard for them, only being able to see Adam on a small mobile phone screen, I know the feeling, its it’s just not the same as seeing someone in person. The country is still in lockdown, we have to manage this carefully, it will be an outside front of house meeting and no touching, we had to be clear about this, we don’t know if we are still shedding the virus, neither of us want to put his parents at risk. I’ve already got a bench at the front of the house, we put 2 chairs outside, about 3 to 4 metres away from the bench. We know exactly what time they are arriving, I make tea and coffee and it’s out the front already for their arrival.
Adam and I are sitting on the bench, his parents arrive, it’s so weird being in the company of other people, even though we are at a distance, it just feels weird, we just want hugs, but we can’t do it, it’s too risky. Adam’s dad said that it was hard watching me go through it on my own, they just couldn’t do anything for me, I would of put everyone else at risk. It’s a warm day, but I’m sitting there shivering, I’ve got to put a hoodie on just to try and keep some heat in. When Adam’s parent’s leave we have to go to bed, it was so nice seeing them, but we are exhausted.
Adam and I both get sent video’s of his discharge from hospital, it brings all the emotions back watching them. I didn’t know, what I was apart of on the ground floor of the hospital, also occured on the first floor of the hospital, when Adam was wheeled out of the ward and along the corridor, all those staff clapping Adam home, you can see in the video how emotional Adam is. We are both so grateful that people recorded the moment for us, we send the video’s to Adam’s family and my family, Adam’s mum calls us, she said you never said it was like that, we did try but just couldn’t find the right words to describe what we were apart of. We put the videos on Facebook, just to spread the good news again, one of our friends makes up a post and it is shared multiple times. We have lots of messages to go through as well, everyone is so thoughtful, so caring and so pleased that Adam is able to go home.
In the morning Adam receives a message from a DJ who works in a local radio station, he has seen the video’s and is asking to interview Adam, I started laughing, then coughing, Adam doesn’t know what to do. At the moment Adam can only say a few words and then starts coughing, I said they won’t get much out of you, apart from a cough. Adam doesn’t want to seem ungrateful, but he just isn’t ready to talk about what he has been through, it’s all too raw at the moment. He starts to write a response, he is struggling for the right words, I take over the message and send many thanks for the support but at present Adam is still coming to terms with what has just happened to him, we thank him for his kind offer to tell his story, but he isn’t ready yet.
We have one of those white boards in the house, it has the days if the week along the top and our names down the side, normally it has our meals for the week and our shifts written on it, a part for a shopping list and birthday reminders. This board hasn’t been changed since week commencing 16th March, it’s just sitting there suspended in a week, where my birthday is on Friday the 20th March. We were supposed to be going out for a meal for my birthday, my choice was Turtle Bay, I love the food there, I normally end up ordering 3 starters, crispy squid, pit prawns and fritters and I can’t resist the sweet plantain. It’s a great atmosphere as well, the decor is a Caribbean vibe, although the tables are very small, my starters always take over the space. As that week moved on, I became more and more uncomfortable about going out that night.
The Prime Minister had made announcements that week, asking people to stay at home if they had any new symtoms of a high temperature or a cough, limit non essential social contact and asking people to start working from home. On Friday 20th March Adam and I watched the Prime Minister’s statement on TV, we watched in silence as he requested cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, theatres, gyms, cinemas and leisure centres to close tonight and not open tomorrow. We decided not to go out for food, we didn’t want to take the risk exposing ourselves to the coronavirus and we expect the town to be extremely busy, with people having their last night out. Although Adam and I were still required to work, we still didn’t want to take that extra risk.
I wasn’t bothered not going out, but I started putting my trainers on, Adam said where are you going? “The garden centre” I replied, “we need some compost”. My own garden is at best is on a hill and very difficult to garden in, we have been lucky as Adam’s parents agreed to Adam and I to take over their garden about 2 years ago, we turned it in to a vegetable garden, managed to source a greenhouse for free and the garden had been producing some great home grown produce. March has been the start of the season for us, we already have garlic and onions in the ground, but we still needed to prepare some of the raised beds, plant out seedlings and start off some seeds.
Whilst purchasing items and talking to the cashier in the garden centre, she said they expected that they would closed by the end of next week. We took the compost to Adam’s parents home, we had already started social distance some 2 weeks before, Adam and I didn’t want to put his family at risk, the rule was whilst we were in the garden, they stayed in the house and we didn’t go in the house, harsh rule but it worked for us, plus we wouldn’t feel guilty if they caught anything, it wouldn’t be from us.
Over the weekend we prepared beds, planted out cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprout seedlings, all grown from seed, I over planted the area, but it didn’t matter they were in the ground. We planted out the pea seedlings under our make shift pea frame, we had grown the pea seedlings from seed a few weeks before. We planted multiple seeds in the greenhouse, cucumbers, courgettes, squashes, tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, some flowers and potatoes in bags. I already had some tomato seedlings, grown from seed, I put these in bigger pots. We intended to show some of our vegetables this year, it would of been our first year doing this, so we wanted to get things going as soon as possible, plus with work commitments we didn’t know when we would be able to get back in the garden. Adam’s mum was left in charge of the watering. What we didn’t know, was that we would both get sick and this would be the last time we would be in the garden for a very long time.
We rub off the writing off the white board, that week is no longer suspended in time, the shopping list part is replaced by important dates. The date we became Ill, the date Adam was admitted to hospital, the date he was discharged, we know at some point we will be asked, what was the date? we have it.
My covid buddy and I have a catch up, she is now on medication, we are both struggling doing everyday tasks, laundry, emptying and filling up the dishwasher, fluffing up cushions on the sofa, general cleaning, everytime I do something I get breathless, get tired and have to take a rest. It’s frustrating, the normal everyday tasks are taking longer to do, I feel like I’m in slow motion, the 6 million dollar woman, without the power or strength.
One night Adam says he fancies fish and chips for tea, I’m not sure what fish shop is open, he finds one and I am dispatched out to pick up our tea, I dont fancy it at all, but go along with Adam’s request. Normally the smell of fish and chips creates a bit of stomach excitement, I still can’t smell things, I sniff the paper wrapped goodies, nothing at all, I’m not going to enjoy this, upon eating I discover a small achievement, I can taste salt, everything else I go by texture, but I can taste salt.
Adam has been contacted by PALS from the hospital, they have offered Adam some counselling when he is ready, Adam has started to talk about his experience whilst in ITU, it has hit him hard, he heard and saw so much, it really has had an effect on him. I’m really glad he has started talking about his experience and that he feels able to talk comfortably about it.
I can’t make it through the day without a sleep in the afternoon, one day I push myself and stay awake all day, that resulted in an early night at 6pm, we’ve been going to bed about 8pm ish anyway. Sleep is a new commodity, its precious, its vital and I dont feel refreshed after sleeping, it’s like I haven’t been to bed at all and I run on empty for the rest of the day, I wake up with shoulder and neck pain, it feels as though I have carried a person on my shoulders all night long.
I’m already taking vitamins, I have for a while, anti-diabetic medication does funny things to you, I take vitamin B12, since becoming unwell I have doubled my dose; sea kelp to help the thyroid, that doesn’t work properly either, apple cider vinegar, to help lower blood sugar and vitamin D3 for my bones and immune system and of course good old vitamin C. Adam and I do a bit of research to see if there anything else I can take to help give me a boost, there is, so we pop in a Holland Barrett order for zinc, for the immune system; magnesium, for the reduction of tiredness; omega 3, for the brain; Q10, for muscle pains and energy levels; it’s expensive but it will be worth every penny if it makes me feel better, delivery 7 to 10 days.
I’m a rubbish diabetic, in the sense of I don’t check my blood sugars regularly, I’m alright with diet control and I dont eat or drink sugary foods. Its only this week I decide to check them, my blood sugar kit batteries have died, and I only have 2 testing strips left in the pot and no lancets, I’m rubbish. I check online for batteries, test strips and lancets, they are really expensive, I look for a new kit and find one that includes testing strips and lancets for half the price of buying them individually. I’m now a Amazon Prime member, next day delivery, you have my purchase.
Adam and I started doing short walks around where we live, the first walk was about 2 minutes, we both got breathless, we started to build up our walk time over a few days and now managing about 20 minutes of regular walking, we still getting breathless, but we are powering through and then having a nanny nap afterwards.
In the next few days our routine is the same, Adam stills needs help in the shower and I am just getting more and more tired, I should be better by now, a 7 to 14 days illness they said, who decided that, they were wrong. One of my friends messages me, I tell her my plight, she tells me slow and steady wins the race. I’m impatient and want to be able to do things, I want to be able to look after Adam properly, I want to go back to work, this, how I am now, isn’t me, it isn’t even a shadow of me.