A real story of a family living through Covid-19

Its been 3 weeks, to the day we have been at home for lockdown, and 3 weeks of pure hell. I know its hard for everyone, but from the beginning of this nightmare my husband started to develop symptoms of corona. He is on the highly vulnerable list due to being diagnosed with Primary mediastinal Lymphoma last year. We got the all clear and were elated mid march.

How it started

He received a letter and text and phonecall from the government to confirm that he needs to self isolate for 12 weeks, but  that hasn’t made difference as he already has the virus. He started with two weeks of total fatigue, falling asleep constantly and after a run one day he said he felt awful and had terrible headaches. The symptoms changed daily and he ended up in bed on a daily basis with uncontrollable shivers, night sweats and tight chest.
In the middle of this worry I have been trying to work, home school two children age 8 and 6, keep them calm and entertained and make sure i can get food in as the vulnerable list has still not been communicated to supermarkets and I still struggle to get a delivery slot.

Luckily I have lovely neighbours and siblings who have been dropping food off to us to make sure we are covered. By 14 days he developed a cough and started to become breathless this is the scary part.

I had received a text on a friend group passed on from someone that an oxygen saturation reader was a good thing to have to monitor oxygen levels during the illness as this is the problem that can cause hospitalisation. Thankfully my mother in law works in a pharmacy and managed to get hold of one. As time went on his levels were going lower till they reached 91 and although he didn’t show excessive breathlessness he wasn’t actually exerting himself. The furthest he went was to the bathroom. My gut told me to get a doctors advice and I called 111 , my NHS doctor and a private doctor in the space of 5 days. I eventually found a doctor who came out on Sunday as he believed he had already had the virus and came in full protective clothing. He said due to my husbands previous history’s lack of oxygen on exertion and the symptoms being so similar to lymphoma he advised we get straight to hospital for a chest X-ray and blood tests.

What happened

It was 10pm and my decision was take him to a high risk place where he could catch it if he doesn’t have it, or be in an extremely dangerous situation at home with my children. I couldn’t risk him getting worse and he refused to get in a ambulance due to being traumatised from being in one last year. I had to wake my children up and drive him to hospital and deep in my mind wondering if he was going to deteriorate and we wouldn’t know. Staying calm for the children is such a test on your emotions but it was the only way.
He kept in touch with messages and said they wouldn’t know until tomorrow for sure but the X-ray showed Covid 19 on the lungs its so weird but we were relived who gets relieved that they have Covid 19? Relived that it wasn’t Lymphoma and that we knew what it was.
Thankfully he was discharged the next day that was Monday, its now Friday and its been a very frightening week especially at night when the fever hits and the breathlessness is worse. I get up every night to help him to the bathroom as he’s so weak and I am scared he’s going to faint, and then watch him breath most nights. I am praying for some improvement so I can rest my head soundly.

Taking it day by day

Each day feels like it merging into the next day and my son especially is showing signs of depression as all he wants to do is play football with his Dad he hasn’t touched his football since he got unwell as this is the same as what happened last year where his dad wasn’t around all Summer for him. I feel so sad and responsible for keeping them upbeat, and as happy as possible, without losing the plot myself. I have broken down a few times and my children have grown up an incredible amount in three weeks, they totally understand and can see the struggle my son even wrote in my birthday card on Thursday ‘Keep doing what you are doing mum cos your doing great, keep smiling’ I actually sobbed how can an 8 year old understand me so well. They have learnt how to fill and put on the dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer and make their own breakfast and toast. I am so incredibly proud they have also learnt resilience, patience, responsibility and comfort so for me they have learnt more about life in three weeks then any school would ever teach. Life is a lesson but this has come as a shock to the whole world and I’m sure will change it forever. It’s true what they say ‘One of the hardest things about being a mother is holding it all together when all you want to do is break down and cry’. 
I must have learnt it from my mother who I miss seeing incredible amounts and my children will learn it from me!
Fall down seven times, stand up eight.’

This  is a true story is by a mother of 2, a member of the Kensington Mums team who wanted to share her personal story as she navigates motherhood with her family during Covid-19. We are grateful that she shared this with us and we only wish that her husband gets better real soon. She truly is a super mama.