Two weeks today since I tested positive for Covid-19 and my brain finally feels like it has switched back on. My energy levels have returned to normal and my anxiety is beginning to ease.
I thought it might be helpful for other families to read our account of having the virus, what symptoms we experienced and how we coped.
I know how scary it feels to receive the message that your family have tested positive for Coronavirus. Especially after everything you see and hear in the media. I hope that this blog will give you some useful information and reassurance. That is exactly what I needed. I needed those messages of hope. I wanted to hear from other families who had been through it and been ok.
As someone who suffers with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress disorder), having the virus in our house was an instant trigger. It brought on my anxiety, my insomnia, my sweaty palms and shivers. This made it hard to determine what were coronavirus symptoms and what were anxiety symptoms, but it didn’t really matter as I had to battle both!
My husband tested positive first on the evening of our daughter’s 4th birthday. He didn’t feel right for 2 days before, but ignored it because we had so much to organise for her birthday.
On the morning of her birthday he still didn’t feel well and looked worried. I knew it was serious because he decided to go out there and then to get tested.
When the news came back that evening that he was positive we were all in complete shock. I couldn’t hide my fear from the kids and they became worried too. This terrifying, invisible, deadly virus that has caused such devastation across the world was now in our house and it was very hard not to think the worst.
We decided that my husband should isolate upstairs in our bedroom to try and keep the rest of us safe. We took his meals upstairs to him and wore masks when we spoke to him at the doorway. However, a couple of days later myself and the girls also started to show symptoms. I had shivers, muscle aches and a sore throat, and the children complained of itching and aching eyes. We went for tests and we were also positive.
What symptoms did we have?
Dad – Flu like symptoms, cough, temperature, shivers, muscle aches (particularly back and legs), diarrhoea, extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, ability to taste and smell was reduced, but not completely gone.
Mum – Uncomfortable throat, blocked ears (felt a bit like being underwater at times), stiff neck, aching back, shivers, headaches, diarrhoea, irritated eyes, extreme tiredness, anxiety, loss of appetite and also reduced sense of taste and smell.
Children – Itchy eyes, aching eyes and body aches. Both also wet the bed, but we do not know if this was due to the virus or stress related.
What advice would we give to other families who test positive for Coronavirus?
Don’t watch the news and try to limit your social media use. The amount of times I scrolled past a scary headline or social media post about Coronavirus that triggered my anxiety. Just use your phone to keep in touch with family and friends.
Look after your body
Now this isn’t medical advice, but it made me feel better to know that I was giving our bodies all the support possible to fight off this virus. We all had multi vitamins, Manuka honey and every superfood going. My mother-in-law’s chicken soup was also so very appreciated. We didn’t have much of an appetite with the virus (not sure if this was also due to anxiety) causing us both to lose half a stone in one week.
Try to keep apart
This was really difficult and the children were really sad that they couldn’t be close to their dad, but we both felt it was worth it if we could keep them safe. Unfortunately, we must have already caught it before he isolated, but I have heard from friends that some members of their family did manage to avoid it.
Get fresh air
If you haven’t all tested positive for the virus, try to wear a face mask around the house and ventilate the rooms as much as possible by opening windows and doors. If you have a garden, try to get out for some fresh air, but make sure you wrap up warm as it did make us feel a chill at times.
Focus and breathe
For an anxious person like me this is easier said than done. I went to bed worrying and woke up worrying. But something my husband said to me that really helped was “look around you. We are in our house, we are safe and we are all ok”. Focus on the present moment and remember to breathe when it all gets on top of you.
Not physically, but mentally. Of course you need to conserve your energy and try to get as much rest as possible, but try to keep your brain occupied so that you aren’t left worrying about what could be. I have been keeping busy planning the next family birthday, buying presents online and even my job was a welcome distraction when I was well enough to get back to working from home.
Keep in touch
Although you may not be up for FaceTime calls when you are feeling rough, it really helps to see your friends and family. Being isolated is hard enough when you are well, but it feels even worse when you are scared and feel alone. Your friends and family may not be able to help you physically, but they can support you mentally. Plus, if they are worrying about you it will help to put their mind to rest.
Get a thermometer and oximeter
We got both on Amazon and they were really helpful for keeping an eye on our temperature and oxygen levels. They are especially useful for monitoring the kids, who may not be as vocal about how they are feeling. A couple of friends recommended these to us and said it helped if they needed to call 111 because they could give them the readings.
Inform your work and school
This will allow you all to switch off from some of the other pressures of daily life, such as homeschooling and work emails. You really won’t have the energy to think!
Don’t get busy too soon!
Keep an eye on the virus, as symptoms tend to come in waves and can change quickly. You may begin to feel better, but don’t start getting back to daily chores or work too soon. Before you know it, another bout of symptoms can strike! We experienced this, and the NHS test and trace team, also advised us to keep resting, even if you start to feel better.
Keep the kids occupied
Think mess free and calm activities. You won’t have the energy to do anything too exciting for a couple of weeks, so be prepared to watch a lot of films. We were lucky enough to be sent some lovely gifts by our very thoughtful friends and family, which not only helped to lift our spirits, but also keep the girls busy. Air drying clay was a particular favourite!
Obviously from a distance! If you need bread and milk don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to get it for you. We used Amazon fresh for the first time, which we were really impressed with, but we were also really lucky to have amazing family members drop things to our doorstep.
I really hope this advice is helpful to other families. If you have more advice to share on coping with Coronavirus, please add it in a comment below or share to our social media channels.