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  • Writer's picturePhil

Welcome aboard the COVID-19 express train to hell.

Our eldest, Chris J N Collins posted this about his experience of the Coronavirus - please read, and stay safe for yours' and others' sakes.

Welcome aboard the COVID-19 express train to hell. Would you like a single or return ticket? Here, you’re about to read my experience of the last two-week journey to Hell and back.

It all began with the usual mild symptoms of a tickly cough; I was in denial that it was anything else, as I’d been so careful where I’d been for the last few weeks mainly advising clients online and constantly washing my hands. Luci and I would always laugh about how she’d be the one to bring “it” home, make me ill and try to kill me off. Her job as a dentist sadly is one of the highest “at risk” professions due to her being in such close proximity to numerous patients every day and the near constant aerosol dentistry creates. The initial attitude of the NHS was keep calm, carry on, we’re British you know! Well it appears highly likely that Luci caught COVID-19 from work as she completely lost her sense of taste and smell for six days. I on the other hand developed the tickly cough I mentioned earlier. I carried on working, because that’s what I love doing and the odd cough whilst advising a client on the phone wasn’t going to stop me.

My journey began; first stop was “Rapid Descent”.

A sudden cold fever began, violently shaking and nothing would make me warm. A sense of disorientation, high temperatures, headaches, hot and cold sweats, diarrhoea...nobody said this was going to be an easy ride.

Second stop was “Zero Energy”.

By now I was constantly in bed, unaware what day it is, sleeping for 18 hours of the day as physically unable to do anything. My phone is on divert as I’m unable to comprehend who is calling or texting, let alone what they’re saying. I’m in a tunnel vision and disoriented. The cough has now worsened so much that I’ve learned to concentrate on every breath I was having to make, I learnt to consciously make an effort not to give in to the cough and try to stifle it for as long as I could.

Every time I did cough, I would be in absolute agony internally from coughing nothing except the inside of my lungs. Why was I trying to cough when I didn’t have the slightest sniffle of a cold? I had no answers.

Third stop was “Angel”.

There’s no way I’d have got through this without Luci; she has been my rock. I cried on numerous occasions in both pain and fear of what’s happening. 111 say we’re doing everything we should be in self-isolating, but there’s no cure except fluid, paracetamol and plenty of rest. Luci would try to make me as comfortable as possible and even though I’d have no appetite, she’d try to at least force some soup or a lovely soothing yoghurt with fruit down me. There were times I was in her arms gasping for air and all she could do was watch me slowly ebb away, or that’s certainly how I felt. I was a shell of a person desperate to survive this journey to hell. I didn’t know if this would be a return or single journey at times; I’d go to bed wondering whether I’d wake up the next morning or not. My temperature at 39.4 was now at its peak when cruelly we’d thought it was starting to reduce; I can’t take this journey anymore. Is my body starting to give up? One thing I’ve learned about this virus, it thrives in a change in temperature or humidity. Having a shower would set me back a few steps and set off the violent coughing fits again; even walking into a room after someone has had a shower.

Next stop is “Recovery”.

A couple of days ago, my temperature dropped to normal; there’s light at the end of the tunnel! My body seems to be fighting it and physically rejecting it. Although I’m still freezing cold, woke up throughout the night completely drenched through, physically exhausted and still violently coughing, I’m now coughing up a mucus with blood in it. This is the first sign of my return journey home.

Today, I’ve not yet arrived at my final destination but I’m getting there slowly.

I managed to pop my head into the garden for the first time in twelve days and get a breath of fresh air for a couple of minutes.

Though I’m still physically and mentally exhausted, I’m defeating it. Thank you to my wonderful friends and colleagues for being so supportive; apologies if I’ve not responded to your messages, I’m only just starting to have had the energy to read the texts and take it all in. Most of all, thank you to Luci for being my rock and so strong through all this; it can’t have been easy to go on that journey with me, but thank God it ended up being a return ticket, not a single. I don’t know it was definitely COVID-19 as I’ve not been tested; but it seems to tick all the boxes and it’s the most ill I’ve ever been.

This experience puts everything in life into perspective and I’m so lucky to have so many friends and family. I was one of the lucky ones and not one of the faceless statistics. It’s a truly horrendous virus and I’ve never experienced anything like it. Its nothing like flu and it’s not a journey I’d recommend you take, as you don’t know if you’ll get a single or return ticket to hell until it’s too late. Please, please stay at home and don’t make unnecessary journeys. It’s not worth the risk to you or your loved ones and you won’t know whether you’ve got Covid-19 until it’s too late. If you don’t care about your own life, don’t be selfish and think of your friends and family you’re putting in danger. Could you live with yourself? Life is too short as it is.

Now I need to apologise to any of you who see me across the street or FaceTime, as due to the lack of Barbers working, I’ve started to look like Cousin IT from The Addams Family...

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