It’s 1.00pm. It’s Saturday, 9th January 2021. I’m sat on the sofa with Hoshi the cat sprawled half on me and half on her heated throw as she’s still undecided as to which is preferable. I’m watching the news whilst typing this and I think I’ve done this every day for 10 months now. The news changes. Life in its daily form does not. How are you all doing? I hope everyone is as alright as can be and finding a way through all this. I thought I’d get in touch and say ‘hi’, now that I’m well on the road to recovery from my dose of Covid and feel a little more up to writing. My apologies to all of you who have got in touch with comments and questions in the past 10 months. I am working my way through all of them and you’ll see them appearing on here over the next few days if you’ve not yet had yours published. It’s always good to hear from you!
I ended up having ‘long Covid’ – and boy, was it long. Nine months of real unpleasantness. The cough still returns on some days as does the crackling in my right lung, where the blood clots are. But the crushing fatigue and bone pains have pretty much gone although I have to watch what I do. I just feel very lucky to have recovered, especially with the statistics spiralling upwards at the moment. I’m very glad to know the vaccines are here and being administered (my Dad got his on Sunday and my Mum will get hers early next month). I won’t likely get mine until the Autumn so for now I’m being super-duper careful in my efforts to not get reinfected, which is a total possibility so far down the line after my initial infection. Like so many other single people, I’m literally at home all the time on my own apart from going out for a run, which I’m trying to do every week now to slowly build my strength and stamina back up. I live alone by choice at the moment so I’m used to my own company, but I’m definitely missing my work colleagues and daily communications with other people. I must say, however – to all parents who are homeschooling their children throughout these lockdowns – I HOPE AFTER THIS ENDS YOU ARE ALL AWARDED MEDALS.
This to me feels like my first ‘proper’ lockdown. I was far too ill during the first one to participate in anything, do any Joe Wicks workouts, watch any Netflix, bake any banana bread or do any Zoom quizzes.
The months passed by in a blur of intense coughing and fatigue, hospital and doctor visits, severe insomnia, countless courses of (useless) antibiotics and regular socially-distanced visits from my brother and his girlfriend who would sit in the front garden to give me some much-needed company and meds. This lockdown, I’m well enough to be bored which is actually a huge relief. My workplace is closed for the foreseeable future so whilst furloughed, I’m trying like everyone else on Earth to find some routine and purpose for my days. My new activities include;
- Yoga with Adriene
- Baking banana bread (and cakes)
- Regular Zoom sessions
- Watching Netflix
- Catching up with work for my charity
Basically, everything that everyone else was doing during the first lockdown. I am so unoriginal. Although I am also teaching myself Salsa on Youtube (minus a partner, the position for which I’m hoping will be filled by a tall, dark, handsome-ish type who makes me laugh so hard I want to wee and who will miraculously find his way to me in the middle of a global pandemic when half the world is in lockdown because in my head that’s completely possible). I’m quite enjoying Yoga With Adriene; I can touch my toes and everything.
Adriene is brilliant and can bend into positions I thought were only possible for paperclips. Doing yoga with a cat in the house is literally impossible, as any fellow cat owner will tell you. For every Downward Dog I do, there will be an Upward Cat, licking my nose and purring.
The only other eventful thing happening in my life is that my shunt, after nine years of impeccable behaviour, has decided to retire in the middle of a global pandemic when half the world is in lockdown and hospitals are overrun because OF COURSE IT WOULD. The surgery to replace it was cancelled last Spring, the upcoming appointment to see if a pressure adjustment might see me through for a couple more months has just been cancelled and for now, it’s just a case of trying to manage the symptoms and get myself to a hospital if things reach emergency-levels. The hospitals are just too busy to see me. I’m having regular telephone and email contact with my surgeon and his team and feel fully supported by them, as always. The only thing I feel bad about in this situation is the predicament of the NHS staff; every single one I’ve spoken to over the last few weeks and months has, without exception, sounded exhausted in a way I’ve never heard before.
I’ve come to know so many of them so well over the years that I also worry about the risks they are taking daily but so far, none of them have contracted it due to the good PPE they are lucky enough to have access to.
So, for now, it’s a strangely familiar but not-too-welcome routine of dealing with overdraining symptoms; drinking litres and litres of fluids – but rarely going to the loo which is really weird – caffeine as late as I can in the daytime to increase the pressure in my brain, lying flat if it gets really bad and waking in the night with headaches that painkillers just don’t seem to be able to stop. Then I’ll get a day where everything seems pretty okay and I’ll get all hopeful that maybe the shunt is actually working fine, only for the day after to be back to the aforementioned routine. That’s slow shunt failure for ya! From previous experience, my shunt rarely packs up suddenly (knocking on SO much wood, here) and simply gets more and more clunky until leaving it in is simply no longer an option. We try to act before this stage as I end up far more ill and having a far longer recovery as a result. But this time, I have a feeling we may end up on the unfavourable side of waiting and if that ends up being the case, it’ll all be fine. It’s life; sometimes it goes the way we want and sometimes the rug gets pulled from under your feet and you’ve just got to find your balance and wobble along for a bit. And the whole world has had to do that this past year. I wish you all well, pray you all get through this Covid-free and as a parting gift for this post, I refer you to the legendary Dolly for words to live by: