My Whole Family Caught COVID-19: How Did I Cope?

Months of this pandemic have gone by, with our only exposure to the virus being via news channels or social media. Now, we have finally reached the “somebody I know” stage of this pandemic, and for some even the “my family and I” stage. As time goes on, the reality of this virus is hitting home for many. My family and I all tested positive for COVID-19 just over 2 weeks ago, as did one of my colleagues, who I will refer to as “P”. Myself and P have decided to take this opportunity to share our experiences to give some personal insight into what the virus is really like and hopefully take away a lot of the stress and anxiety that surrounds COVID-19.

P’s Story:

For a while I was feeling sick and unwell. I had flu like symptoms and my body was very tired. Every morning I struggled to get up and get out of bed. I decided to go to see my GP and she told me that it was just a bad flu. This didn’t sit right with me and as days passed, I was not getting better. One night I was so cold and my head was so sore; it felt like brain freeze. I closed all the windows and put on a heater, but nothing worked. I decided to go for a COVID-19 test the following week after listening to many people’s advice. The result came back positive. When I heard this news, I genuinely thought I was going to die – the side effect of listening to the news and media. My doctor had advised me on what to take to boost my immune system and the importance of building it up to full strength. I cried a lot and got to a stage where I couldn’t sleep at night. I went back to my GP as I was just feeling terrible. She said that I was suffering from traumatic stress disorder on top of having the virus.

I feel that the panic and stress definitely made matters worse, but these times are so confusing and unpredictable, and we don’t know what will happen. I have been taking medication and building myself up, and I can finally say that I am starting to feel better. If I could give any advice, it would be to please stay at home, wash your hands, wear your face masks and boost your immune system! I am okay now, but I didn’t think I would be. I’d like to thank Capital and my family for the incredible support I have received.

My Story:

It has been a roller-coaster to say the least. The first question many people ask is:

“How and where did you contract the virus in the first place? You and your family have always been so cautious!”

My grandparents live in a retirement village where they receive full-time care and assistance. The home locked completely for 3 months. Residents were not allowed to leave the village, or have any visitors. They had to have their shopping dropped off and left with the security guards outside. Throughout this period, the only people they had come into contact with were the people that worked at the home. Contracting COVID-19 at this point seemed completely out of the question, until news spread that one of the carers that had been looking after my grandparents tested positive for the virus.

A full two weeks had gone by, and my grandparents were still fine. No fever, no cough, no headaches, but one day my grandfather suddenly became extremely out of breath to the point where he couldn’t even walk from the bedroom to the bathroom. We sent him to get tested immediately, however the test results came back negative. We were so relieved, and completely trusted the reliability of the test. Suffering from a heart condition, my grandfather ended up in hospital anyway. We can’t take any risks with him. They admitted him via casualty and told us that he had pneumonia in his left lung but that his heart was fine. They treated him for pneumonia in a normal non-COVID ward and after a two sets of antibiotics they released him from the hospital. Even though he was still unwell, he would be able to recover at home. We brought him and my gran back to my house so that we could nurse him back to health. My mom was the one who took him to the hospital and fetched him to bring him home.

About one week later, my mom woke up in the early hours of the morning with flu-like symptoms:  shivering, fevers, body aches, nausea and headaches. She could hardly get out of bed. She went to the family GP and he sent her to get tested. 2 days later she received news that she had tested positive. We were shocked and confused and just overall very stressed. We had been so cautious and followed all the lockdown rules better than most. The reality sunk in that my grandpa had most likely been positive the whole time. His test was in fact a false negative. He was still bed ridden and not very well at all. It was scary for us all.

Now it was just a waiting game for the rest of the family. Just like that, 3 days later, my dad and I started having body aches, fatigue and headaches. My gran had nothing other than extreme nausea. At this stage my mom had every symptom and was still completely out of action. My grandparents and I decided to go get tested just for clarity. We finally got the news that we tested positive too, including my grandpa who initially tested negative.

From a house of 4 healthy and fit people, it turned into a house of 6 people (including my domestic and her daughter) sick with COVID-19. Luckily body aches and fatigue were the worst it got for me, and I was able to help the household function. After about a week, I had lost my sense of taste and smell, which was horrible since eating is my hobby!

Every day there was a new challenge, or a new symptom we had to deal with. Each and every person got hit in a completely different way, which emphasises the complexity and unpredictability of the virus. My mom who is a 50-year-old fit and healthy Pilates instructor with no underlying health conditions was hit worse than my 84-year-old grandmother who has a long list of health conditions. My grandfather, who was hit the worst, is also 84 years old, has had cancer and lives with a heart condition. He went from being fine to being in hospital in the space of 24 hours. Thankfully, he is finally on the road to recovery. On top of all this confusion, not once did my grandpa or myself have a fever. This unpredictability alone is a huge a reason everyone should stay vigilant and stick to following the rules as best they can.

My mom is still struggling, and it has been 21 days since she first showed symptoms. Thankfully the rest of us have almost fully recovered. We are all still extremely low on energy and are unable to go a day without napping. My symptoms were so mild I thought I would be back to my running again within 2 weeks; however, I still can’t even get up the stairs without panting and sweating. The reality has hit us, and it has been an extremely stressful time. The isolation away from everyone is what makes it even more difficult.

What to take away:

The number of infections are rising by the minute, while restrictions are being eased. Symptoms are less obvious than one would think, and test results not always accurate. The virus is extremely contagious and it’s in these times that prioritising your loved ones becomes more important than ever. Although this may not seem real to many, it is. BUT it is not something to panic about. Staying calm is vital for your immune system. All of us have recovered and we are all okay and got through it, including my grandparents who are in their 80s with underlying health conditions. Most people will be okay but the fear element of this is understandable.

Wear your masks, wash your hands, sanitise, and keep the gatherings to a minimum. Boost your immune system and keep your body moving. These are strange times and we are all going to have our down days and days where we won’t know how to concentrate. We just have to ride the wave, stick together and support each other.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts and opinions expressed within this article are those of the author, and not those of any company within the Capital International Group (CIG) and as such are neither given nor endorsed by CIG. Information in this article does not constitute investment advice or an offer or an invitation by or on behalf of any company within the Capital International Group of companies to buy or sell any product or security.

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