This article was written by Nicholas Colwyn Parry, a locum pharmacist working across the UK, and a subscriber to the My Locum Choice Software.
Covid has taught me to enjoy my life a lot more, appreciate the time you have, and enjoy the taste of things. LITERALLY. Okay so I wrote this one after a beer…. or 3.
I caught it. Coronaviiirus (Cardi B), the rona, covid, spicy flu, the vid. It was inevitable really, I was working 40-50 hour weeks in multiple pharmacies seeing hundreds of patients on a daily basis. I took every single precaution I could but unfortunately this world stopping, family separating, socially destructive, holiday denying little sod got me. Happy New Year.
How did I know? My mum had symptoms and tested positive on the 30th of December, 5 days after Boris allowed us to have Christmas. I was incredibly annoyed at first as I had to cancel a New Year’s Eve shift which I thought would leave a bad taste with the company I was going to work for. I didn’t want my reputation to be tarnished by cancelling shifts because someone in my household had a cough. We didn’t even have a “normal” Christmas, we stood on my grandparents drive for 10 minutes and only passed a card, no hugs, no kisses and we didn’t have the usual Parry Christmas I know and love.
This story is the same for thousands of people in the UK and it is actually comforting to know we didn’t go through this alone.
My Covid Symptoms Diary
What were my symptoms? Well as a pharmacist you can imagine I used myself as a science experiment and noted my symptoms every day as well as my parents. This was so interesting to see the differences between us all!
My first 10 days of symptoms were:
Day 1 – Achy, lots of joint pain
Day 2 – No sleep, achy, mild headache
Day 3 – Better sleep, woke up sweating but no temp, achy arms, tender back, kidney pain, cough, can only taste salty things
Day 4 – Feels like I’m breathing through a straw, walking upstairs makes me breathless, back soreness eases on drinking water, cough, headache – paracetamol
Day 5 – Still breathless, back soreness easing, cough has turned chesty from dry, congested, phlegmy
Day 6 – 0 taste, back ache, sleepy, cough, short of breath, congested, need an inhaler
Day 7 – Same as day 6, less back ache, no joint ache, very thirsty, really need an inhaler
Day 8 – Still out of breath, no back ache, 0 taste, just textures
Day 9 – Bit congested, nothing much else, breathless
Day 10 – Congested still, breathless on exercise
Oddly, I never once had a temperature.
For me, I would say hands down the worst symptoms were the back ache and the breathlessness. I could relieve the back ache by drinking more than 3L of water a day but getting out of bed for that first pint was the worst pain I have ever experienced. Imagine being slapped on sunburn then being ran over by a bus. Double it and you’re close.
How Covid has impacted my life
Still to this day I get breathless on exercise, the GP calls it “long covid” and it’s how I imagine someone with COPD manages day to day. A quick chest X-ray showed “classic covid scarring” which is causing my breathlessness. For example, if I take the normal bin out I have to have a break before I take the recycling out. This is coming from a man who used to run marathons and would cycle 80-100 miles a day in lockdown V1. Happy anniversary of the original 2-week lockdown by the way. The aforementioned loss of fitness has taken its toll on me mentally more than anything else. I can hand on heart say for me covid was not an experience I would want to go through ever again.
I was one of the fortunate ones though believe it or not, my Grandmother, Grandfather and Dad all had to go to hospital. This was a truly traumatic experience and unfortunately not everyone made it out. This has been one of the hardest things to deal with as a family, but I have one of the most supportive families anyone could ask for and we really are one hell of a team.
As I mentioned before, everyone who is affected by covid is going through the same thing with the same restrictions which sort of sweetens the blow. My heart goes out to the families who lost relatives in the first lockdown and couldn’t even visit the chapel of rest for closure. If you or anyone you know has been affected by covid then don’t hesitate to get in contact with me because you are NOT alone, and we can all get through this together.
Covid personally stole many things from me, but it also gave me somethings back. Forever the optimist I try and see the positive in every negative situation. I saw covid single handily level people from everywhere. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, were successful or not, had a million followers or just one it made us all equally vulnerable. I believe the world needed that for quite some time as it really allowed us to see what we actually need in life compared to what we think we want. You don’t need to be the richest person in the world, and you don’t need to be successful, you just need to be happy and appreciate what you have. You don’t need to be famous and you don’t need millions of followers, remember Jesus only needed 12.4
Life in a post-Covid world
Covid stole my family, my freedom and my fitness, but it also gave me the ability to stop being so conservative. No longer do I worry about the calories in a beer, I just enjoy it instead. I’ll get my fitness back, I’ll get my freedom back, but I’ll never get my time back and that’s why I’ll spend the rest of my life enjoying it by doing things I love rather than worrying so much about tomorrow, because for some people tomorrow never comes.
Don’t wait to tell people you love them, give them a hug (once this is over), tell them how you feel, make those memories unique for only you to enjoy, don’t post it on social media for it only to be judged by your haters, be wholesome, build on yourself, focus on your happiness, don’t worry about other people’s opinions, grow your mind, gain knowledge and give back more (he’s getting emotional now, must be the beer).
I know we all have plans for a post covid world, but I ask one thing of you. What’s the first thing you’ll be doing after all of this? Me personally? I can’t wait to take my Grandmother out for dinner.
To read more on my journey as a Locum Pharmacist check out the My Locum Choice Blog.
Further information regarding Covid symptoms can be found on the NHS website.