FULL DETAILS: How coronavirus turned my life upside-down, from Day 1 until today – Day 18

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THURSDAY, 7.45am and I’m in bed being awoken by my 4-year-old. The painkillers I took the night before did nothing to ease the headache or the body pain.

Besides feeling like I’ve been run over by an 18-wheeler, I’m freezing even though I’m under the covers.

Maybe it’s a cold, flu, even fatigue? I usually tend to wait it out a few days before rushing to a surgery, in the hope that I’ll feel better. But not this morning, I should go to the doctor. Even though the only symptom is pain, there’s no protest between my gut and my brain that I have to check it out.

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I tell hubby I’m not feeling well. His response was “Me too”. How typical! Is he really feeling as sick as I am or is he saying I’m not allowed to feel sick? I say nothing, have a steaming shower and get dressed. I make an appointment and walk in to see the doctor just after 10am.

I’m freezing. I tell her about the pain and she checks my temperature. It’s a bit high she says, but only by 0.5%. Well, that’s not bad. But can you give me an injection, I ask, I need this pain to stop. She obliges but recommends I have a Covid-19 test done. Hold on. This is unnecessary, I think.

My mind is racing. I wonder if everyone who visits a doctor has to test for Covid19? Is this a money-making scheme? Do we deliberately want to add to the backlog of testing people? Why do I need a test?

Since the national lockdown was imposed in March, I haven’t gone shopping. I work from home. I haven’t attended gatherings of more than 50 people. I wear my mask even when I visit my parents. I have three bottles of sanitiser in my handbag and several others at home and in the cars. I don’t have any of the symptoms, so how could I get the virus?

I take every possible precaution to safeguard myself and my family because I know that if either hubby or myself got it, chances of survival would be slim. He’s diabetic and I’m haemoglobin deficient. What would happen to our 4-year-old? I take the lab form while my brain tries to process the thought of contracting Covid-19. That the test was scheduled in four days, didn’t help.

I go back up to our two-bedroom flat, where I have to isolate until I get my results. I relay to hubby what the doctor told me. I insist he sees his doctor as he is also “sick”. Just to be safe.

I’m given a list of six meds I have to take, starting that evening.

I’m unable to sleep. The meds are making me feel worse. I have no taste, smell or appetite. All I feel is pain. The weekend seems never-ending. Eventually, Monday 8am arrives and it’s time for my test. Monday 8pm and the result is positive. Hubby gets his result on Tuesday at 10am – positive.

Both parents positive and a child that’s negative living in the same house. There’s no way we can send her to her grandparents because we can’t leave home or make contact with anyone. Besides, no one offers to care for her while we recover. Everyone is scared.

Try telling a preschooler that you need to rest and she comes into the room every three minutes, asking if she can do all the things we said she couldn’t.

With both of us incapacitated, the TV stays on from 8am to 8pm and so does the laptop, so she can switch between watching YouTube or Boomerang. She eats ice cream for breakfast, takeaway for lunch and supper and goes to bed many nights without brushing her teeth and/or bathing. No bedtime stories, no puzzles, no listening to music, no routine.

Hubby and I don’t have the energy to do anything about it and we let it be. I remember how ridiculous I thought it was to WhatsApp or phone someone who is in the same house as you, but that’s our means of communication because neither of us have the strength to speak loud enough for the other to hear.

We live in the same house but don’t see each other. Every day for the two weeks that follow feels worse than the day before – wake up in pain, struggle to breathe, cough incessantly, struggle to eat, take meds, try to rest but not really because someone needs to watch over the child, check on hubby because he’s haemorrhaging and I may have to rush him back to the hospital.

I’m weak, wobbling around, holding the walls and furniture for stability. The phone rings throughout the day, I don’t want to answer. It’s my girls calling to check up on me. My sisterhood’s made up of the most caring women I’ve ever known. Some related by blood, some through marriage, and some by friendship, all rooting for me to get well.

This is the worst condition they’ve known me to be in.

They prepare home-cooked meals, care packages, fruit baskets, order takeaways and drop them off on the ledge outside our flat.

They send messages to encourage me to keep fighting. They pray for me. They cry with me. They tell me it’s going to get better.

I’m falling in and out of consciousness and battle to stay awake. I remind myself of my sister’s words: “It’s going to get better.”

Hubby starts to recover.

I wonder if I’m ever going to feel better. I should because I’ve completed my prescribed meds.

I call my doctor, tell her how I’m feeling and she gives me more meds.

Hubby is clear and I’m struggling. Four-year-old complains that I’m lazy and sick for too long; she needs me to play with her. God, when will this end?

Day 18: Today I feel like I’m living again. Covid-19 has robbed me of many things this year but it wasn’t going to be my life or my family. My sisters would not allow me to give in, giving me strength as I battle this monster.

I’m not the first woman to have gone through the Covid-19 experience and I’m certainly not the last.

Here’s to all the brave women who’ve not only fought the deadly virus but have done so under challenging circumstances, with their sisters holding their hands through it.

Happy Women’s Month.


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