A mother who was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Christmas Day recorded her experiences in a diary. She felt “like a zombie”.
Felicity Collinson described how her symptoms began with a “shocking pain in my bones” and a throbbing headache – followed by panic of a positive test and fear that she would end up in the hospital.
She kept a daily log of her symptoms and how she felt isolated throughout her family time.
Felicity told Teesside Live: “After taking all the precautions, I did not expect a positive coronavirus test for myself, my sons and my boyfriend on Christmas Day. Yes, bloody Christmas Day.
“My partner only came to his Christmas dinner and was trapped here for 10 days.
“I know this virus affects everyone differently – we all had different symptoms – so I thought I would write a short blog about its effects every day to reassure people because sometimes it’s difficult to stay calm and yourself Not imagining that one of the poor people who end up in the hospital. “
This is Felicity’s experience with coronavirus this Christmas:
Christmas Eve – day one
I wake up in the wee hours of the morning with a temperature, a shocking pain in my bones, especially my legs and lower back, and a throbbing headache.
In the morning the headache spreads to my eyes – I couldn’t open them more than halfway and could only look straight ahead if I moved them left, right, up or down and hurt the muscles behind them too badly.
I also have a sore throat and feel hot yet cold.
We are going to meet members of my family for a festive stroll with hot chocolates in the afternoon, but although I felt like I just had the flu, I didn’t dare take the risk. It is the high temperature that made me take the Covid test.
The children’s symptoms are much less severe than mine at this point but they were still having higher than normal temperatures so we all booked a test online at Canon Park in Middlesbrough at 11.30am.
This was the first test we had.
It was a seamless operation, from driving into the test center, handing our backpacks over to a self-test, wiping our throats and nostrils, to leaving the test center.
Return home and treat our symptoms with cold and flu medication and acetaminophen, but you still felt pretty shocking when you displayed the guys’ gifts that night.
Christmas day – day two
Woke up feeling just as terrible as the day before – sore bones, headache, eye pain, sore throat, hot and cold – pretty grim.
Just want to lie down but obviously can’t wrap up some paracetamole and continue the celebrations without wanting to ruin it for the kids.
The eldest son complains of eye pain and a sore throat, while the youngest also has eye pain problems.
Then an email pings through and the dreaded news that we have all tested positive for coronavirus and must be isolated by January 3rd.
I can’t lie, I panicked. What if we got seriously sick? Would I end up in the hospital? Would we be able to breathe? The thoughts are the worst.
But there is nothing you can do. That thing is in your body now and you just have to keep going. Paracetamol and Lemsips become our best friends from then on.
I get a call from NHS Track and Trace asking me about my symptoms and the symptoms of the boys we’ve been in contact with and where we’ve been – so that those people and places can be contacted.
You are cracking your brain wondering when and where you picked it up when me and all my family have been very careful since March.
I worked from home and went to Aldi or Asda to go shopping once a week and the boys went to school.
This was the routine for 10 months.
The only difference is that I had a week off before Christmas and had visited a few more stores like TK Maxx, Next, Matalan and all supermarkets looking for last minute Christmas gifts.
Everyone I met, friends and family, was out for socially distant walks in open spaces like the beach or the coast.
So my best guess is that it’s either from school or the extra shopping trips.
Anyway, back to Christmas Day, full of pain medication, I managed to have a reasonably decent dinner and a couple of games before falling on the couch in the evening feeling absolutely terrible.
Boxing Day – Day Three
Feel worse today
This was the first day the so-called brain fog appeared. I had heard of it but had never seen anything like it.
It’s like walking around your head with a cloud. You are completely wiped out. You cannot think clearly. Even something as simple as what you make the children for dinner takes a lot of mental effort.
I feel weak and can’t hold my head up.
I still can’t move my eyes properly and I’m gradually losing my sense of taste and smell. If you have a sandwich for dinner and literally eat an old boot, you can say you are chewing something but you cannot tell what it is.
My tongue is swollen.
I can feel a cold in my chest, but I am not allowed to think about it. Refuse to acknowledge it because it panics me.
Sleep all afternoon. Wake up when the phone rings and the test and trace staff check if we are isolated. Would like to say that I had the energy to run … but no.
Sunday December 27th – Day Four
Wake up. Feel the same way Symptoms do not subside.
Eye pain, headache, dizziness, weakness, constipation, chest pain, hot, cold, incredibly tired.
Make breakfast – broken again. Back to bed.
Monday 28 December – Day 5
Wake up. Feel the same way Boring now. So annoyed. Mental health is struck. I feel like I’m in a groundhog day prison.
I am a healthy 39 year old, don’t smoke and hardly drink.
I would hate to think about how this could affect someone who is older or sick.
If I’ve ever doubted the importance of self-isolation or social distancing, I now know for sure that there is a reason for it. I would hate to pass this on to anyone.
I’m supposed to be back at work tomorrow. Text my boss a message and tell him that I can barely lift my head from the pillow, let alone sit at a computer all day and think.
I was really looking forward to being unemployed in the run up to Christmas. Now I would like to be back.
Tuesday December 29th – Day 6
Wake up. Look around. The eyes don’t hurt that much. I feel better I think so. Oh my god I think I could feel better Buzz.
Get up, go downstairs and make a cup of coffee. Mam rings the doorbell and asks how I am. I tell her I think I feel a lot better.
Finish the mug. Dizziness returns. The eyes become blurred. Feel a little sick Start with a cough. My condition check was premature. Destroyed again.
I’m back in bed at 11 a.m. Sleep until 2 p.m.
The house looks like it was broken into. Can not do anything against it.
Wednesday December 30th – day 7
Wake up. Look around. Eye pain about the same as yesterday. My neck hurts today. Touch it and it hurts so much.
Get up and look in the mirror. The glands under my jaw are swollen like Frankenstein. Looks like I have half an apple under each side of my neck. My lips are so dry and peeling. Eyes shot blood.
What an absolute condition.
Test and trace ring again. Seriously, I’m not going anywhere. Leave me alone.
Go back to sleep until the afternoon. Wake up and despite the big fat neck I feel a little brighter.
That must be good news. I’ll be sorted tomorrow.
New Year’s Eve – Day 8
Do not be absurd. It is the coronavirus that leads me to make false accusations.
This is absolutely the worst day ever.
It’s like I went right back to the beginning and all the progress I’ve made has gone out the window.
My neck is still swollen, I feel dizzy, I have shortness of breath, I get so hot that I feel sick, but then I start to shiver. I’m like a zombie, so tired.
I was lying on the couch with my eyes closed but not sleeping. I breathe shallowly – literally can’t move. Now we’re starting to panic. Why am I not feeling better? Do I have to call for medical help?
Eight days that I felt like this.
I try to think rationally – I’m young, fit, and healthy, but then what about the people who died from it? Is that how they felt? No exaggeration. I was paralyzed at this point.
Crawl up into bed and sleep for four hours.
New Years Day – Day 9
Wake up. Feel a little better. The lumps on my neck have decreased.
The parents bring a roast dinner to the front door. Thank goodness I couldn’t bear to cook another half-hearted meal that no one could eat.
The children’s personality is now back to normal. They fight and laugh, just don’t eat that much. I don’t have the energy to tell them to shut up.
Saturday January 2nd – day 10
Wake up. The eyes don’t feel that painful. But I’m really tired. Make breakfast, chase the kids in the garden to play, and then retire to the couch to update this log.
If you have to work this weekend, you feel bad with colleagues. I am determined to get back to work on Monday. Need mental stimulation and “normality” whatever that is these days.
Make dinner – stomach some tomato soup and some bread.
Cough more today. The head feels heavy, but I can say that I am definitely better than yesterday. Cross your fingers, that’s the turning point. I am hopefull.
Kids are playing the Xbox again – a device I usually hate them on, but one that was a gift from God because of this illness.
The last day of our isolation period is tomorrow.
We can go out as long as we don’t have a high temperature.
The test and trace boffins assume that the other symptoms such as bad taste, cough, headache, etc. can last for a few weeks, but we are no longer contagious unless we are high in temperature. Can’t wait to walk out the front door, even if it’s only a two minute walk, to think about what may be the toughest Christmas ever!
Read an Instagram post by comedian John Bishop, who also received his positive test on Christmas Day. He sums it up pretty well.
“This was the worst illness I have ever had,” he wrote. “Incredible headaches, muscle and joint pains, no appetite, nausea, dizziness, chronic fatigue as I don’t know existed. My wife and I are fit non-smokers and that wiped us out. I know statistics have a survival rate of 99.9 Percent suggest, but that doesn’t mean I would want this experience for everyone.
I agree with every word.