On 10 March, my birthday, my whole family went down with Covid. My husband and son had been ill for a few days – son with a cold, husband with flu-like symptoms, while I felt fine apart a sore throat – until my son got a positive Covid test.
As an older type I diabetic with asthma, I am at higher risk of severe illness and death than healthier individuals and like other clinically vulnerable people I have been living in fear for the past two years of getting Covid. I gave up my job in a primary school where I was working in a windowless room with special needs children who knew no personal space. We kept my son at home for 16 months to try and stay safe. In fact, we lived like hermits for two years until he wanted to go back to school.
I didn’t blame him. He did his GCSEs at home and conducted his social life online; it’s no way for a teenager to live. But what a dilemma. Despite repeated letters to the school over the past two years, they have still not installed HEPA air filters which reduce Covid in school by 82%; most pupils don’t even wear masks. Our letters to the Head and Governors went unanswered and when we sent our concerns to our son’s form teacher, we got terse replies implying we were making a fuss. Given that half of all teachers in England had Covid the term before last, he might reasonably have felt his risk was greater than ours.
In the end, we could no longer deny our son his right to a formal education and to see his friends, so we equipped him with an FFP3 mask and sent him in. During the last wave he caught Covid, then so did we.
I spent two weeks running up and down stairs with plates of food and paracetamol while son and husband self-isolated in their rooms trying not to infect me. I was more breathless than usual, but that often does happen to me with a virus, and I also had a headache, but nothing much.
My son recovered quickly with a negative test and we gave him a few extra days at home, then he went back to school. My husband took longer, but within three weeks he was back cycling.
I thought I had got off lightly too. I felt a bit more tired than normal and I wished we hadn’t booked a holiday down to Cornwall with my daughter, but I figured I was okay.
We had our holiday, did some wonderful walks and all was fine until the last day when I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. We got home and I couldn’t get out of bed. I had a thumping headache, and I couldn’t focus my eyes properly. I slept for almost 3 days. Afterwards I felt better although I still had a background headache and difficulty focusing my eyes. However, I felt well enough to visit my mother where I lay around a lot. When I got back, I was weirdly shattered and back in bed for another week.
So it has gone on. Whenever I exert myself – even a tiny amount – the headaches come back, I have difficulty focusing my eyes and feel like all the energy has been sucked out of me. Other things too – like cold feet, strange wooshing sounds in my ears, a feeling as if my ears are full of water and intermittent ear ache.
The doctor said she couldn’t help, they don’t understand Long Covid and asked if anything helped. I said sleep, so she said, “sleep then”. However, it has been three months, I’m not getting better – I’m worse than I was before we went to Cornwall – and I can’t sleep forever. So I am going to blog about what interests me, especially how my Long Covid is going and to document anything that makes it better. Starting with Sage.
Some people think that Covid persists in pockets around the body, and in Germany they found that just 30 minutes of treating Covid cells with aqueous infusions of sage and perilla, significant antiviral activity was observed. I have therefore been drinking Sage teas two or three times a day, brewing it from the leaves of a plant that I have in the garden. I think it might help. I also ordered some perilla seeds from Thai supermarket. They are saturated in salt and sugar so I might try perilla oil next time as I haven’t found any teabags. And I have ordered myself some perilla plants to plant my herb garden.