Inside the Hospital and the Life of the Coronavirus Ward – guest post no.2 by Ed Stonecliffe

Happy to be alive and breathing oxygen

This account in 98% true. I have made certain factual changes to protect the anonymity of the people involved. Some of them don’t want a mention and others I was unable to ask.

The admissions doctor decided that I should go on Coronavirus ward so I was moved on a trolley to a holding room where a nurse hooked me up to a drip, took a blood sample and inserted tube in my vein through which I would receive intravenous antibiotic injections over the next three days.

“Antibiotics?” you say, “but they don’t work on viruses.” Indeed they don’t but they will knock out any secondary bacterial infection, including the possibility of a bacterial infection causing my pneumonia, and let my body concentrate on tackling the virus.

I was then moved up to the ward and my bed installed in a bay closest to the window but furthest from the bathroom. There was a strange bright blue feature on wheels it looked like some sort of robot. It was a machine that measured blood pressure, pulse rate and most importantly, the oxygen content of the blood.

This contraption seemed to come around once every four hours with a nurse assisting it. It gave me something to look forward to. Very often, especially at night I’d see the silhouette of the monitor and think that it was a person. A silent Florence Nightingale watching over us and caring for us in the dark times.

I’d also been given an oxygen mask. This was made of clear plastic and fastened over my head with two elastic bands. It had a tube extending from it which made me look a bit like an elephant but made breathing a lot easier. It made a lot of noise and the additional oxygen flow came out of holes at the side of the mask which dried my eyes. At least I wasn’t on a ventilator.

There were four other people in my room. One was very loud, one was very angry, one was quietly observing what was going on around him and the fourth just seemed to lie in his bed and moan occasionally. I smiled at them all when I could and said the occasional word. Sometimes they responded, but not all the time. The quiet observing man seemed to acknowledge me the most.

A doctor visited me and drew the curtains around my bed, this must have been what happened as I didn’t leave my bed for three days. In my memory, I was sitting at large refectory table in a huge dining hall. He asked me when my symptoms started and I told him. “You’re at a critical point,” he said words falling heavily on my ears, “you’ll either start getting better or start getting worse, but there’s a lot we can do with ventilators”. Strangely I don’t remember being scared or worried. Maybe I was too ill. I was just accepting, or the illness has confused my memories.

I told the people who needed to know about my predicament: my parents, my girlfriend and my next-door neighbour. They seemed understanding but very worried. I don’t live with my girlfriend and hadn’t seen her for a couple of weeks before I’d been hospitalised. It can’t have been easy for her as she has two children and her parents and sister to think about. I really didn’t want to be an additional burden to her worries.

I got a text message on my phone. My next-door neighbour is a retired warrant officer from the Tank Regiment, a tough no-nonsense guy with a heart of gold. The message read “Hi mate, I’m giving you the rank of trooper in my regiment so the next is LCpl (Lance corporal). You take care, try to sleep, drink water and be good to the young nurses. Take care and sleep now mate.”

I replied, “A high honour, I’ll text you in the morning for that stripe”.

I don’t remember sleeping. The angry patient was angry and the loud patient was loud and I tried to keep breathing and drinking water. I also produced a lot of urine and regularly filled up the pressed cardboard bottles I’d been issued with. I really didn’t want to dehydrate as I’d read that kidney failure could be an additional complication.  

When I awoke, I sent my neighbour a text “Just letting you know to get the stripe tin open” I’d survived my first night and made Lance Corporal. Throughout my stay in hospital my neighbour and I played this game. Each morning I got a new promotion and I rose through the ranks. But no promotion was a sweet as the morning I got to sew my first stripe on my hospital pyjamas.

The loud patient was taken away that day to another ward. He was elderly and I overheard the conversation he had with the doctor. There was nothing more they could do for him. They must have taken him to another room for palliative care.

I washed myself in a pressed cardboard bowl and was ready for breakfast. For the last week or two I could hardly eat but my appetite had returned with a vengeance and I began a six-day love affair with hospital food. I ate everything. The food was delicious, especially the custard.

A different doctor came to see me. He told me I’d been responding well to the oxygen therapy and that they hoped to have me home soon. Then from behind his mask, “I know you, you used to drink at the pub I worked at when I was an undergraduate.” I didn’t recognise him, probably because of the mask, and maybe I was usually drunk when I went to that pub and certainly was when I left. We talked about the pub and the characters that used to go there for a few minutes. It was nice to recall happier times.

That night was a tough one. The angry man was very angry and tried to walk out of the ward. He was fastened to a drip and had a catheter in also I don’t think he was strong enough to get out of bed and he started to fall. I pressed my alarm and a nurse came in. She turned off my alarm, called for help and went straight over to the angry man. “I want to go home” the angry man kept shouting. “Well, start working with us and we’ll get you home,” said a nurse.

The morning came along and I got another stripe for my pyjamas. The angry man was subdued and a Doctor came to see him. It sounded like he was doing well but non-cooperative. When the doctor went away the quiet patient, who up to now had said very little, started to talk and the angry man opened up as to why he was so desperate to get home. He had no mobile phone and had been unable to contact his wife. He was elderly with existing health problems but he didn’t feel too bad despite having the virus. He just wanted to talk to her.

Each bed had a phone and television unit next to it. The quiet man, who I’ll call Brian, explained how to use the phone and the now not so angry man, who I’ll call Dave, rang his wife. A period of peace entered the room. Dave lost all his anger and really started to cooperate with his treatment and Brian started talking a lot. I think I was talking a lot too. There were now just four of us in the room: Dave, Brian, myself and a man I’ll call Eric. Eric was barely conscious and surviving on teaspoons of ice cream. Dave cooperated with the nurses. He used a zimmer frame at home and the nurses got him one to use in the ward.

That night I encountered a new phenomenon… Night terrors!

It was three in the morning and I awoke suddenly. The hospital was on fire, all the staff had left I was terrified. I was dehydrated but my bladder was full. I tried to call for help but couldn’t make a noise. My bladder was really full and I couldn’t reach for a bottle. I couldn’t move. Then, suddenly my bladder let go and there I was, lying in a burning hospital, with no staff, drenched in my own warm urine.

Somehow, I found myself able to move a little. I pressed my alarm button. Just in case someone in this hospital inferno was still around. A very calm nurse appeared and turned of my alarm. “What’s the problem Edward?”

“Isn’t the hospital on fire?”

“Not as far as I’m aware.”

“Oh… That’s good…erm… I… er…I’m afraid I’ve wet the bed.”

She didn’t seem at all shocked. She got me some clean pyjamas and helped me clean up. Then she stripped and re-made the bed like it was all in a day’s work. Which, let’s face it, it probably was.

The night terrors continued until a couple of days after I left hospital with decreasing intensity. The second one was pretty terrifying too but thankfully none were as fearful as that first one and thankfully with no more bed wetting. I think it’s the shock of waking up in an unfamiliar body at three in the morning. Not a good time for anyone.

The next day was so much better. Dave was quieter and concentrating on using his new zimmer frame. Brian was talkative and told me many things about himself. The doctor reduced my oxygen supply and I ate hospital food.

It was around this time I called a very good friend of mine to let him know how I was doing. He’d been in contact with my girlfriend and he’d sent me a text wishing me well. I wanted to talk to him. My friend is a physiotherapist with his own practice. He took a great interest in how I was doing. I hadn’t rung him as a physio but as a friend.  He’d treated my tennis elbow in the past and given me some good advice when I cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats last summer. I wasn’t looking for medical advice so I was surprised by what he said next.

“How much oxygen are you on and how much oxygen is in your blood?” He seemed ever so knowledgeable about my predicament. I told him I’d find out next time I was monitored.

After the next round of monitoring I called my physio-friend. “I’m on two litres of oxygen, the second lowest dose I believe, and my oxygen level is 95%”

“Right we need to get you walking, can you get a zimmer frame?”

“I’ll see what I can do”

“And get used to taking your oxygen off for a while and breathe normally. Then put it back on but get your lungs doing some work.”

Understand this: the hospitals are very busy and the staff are very stretched. Normally I’m sure that there is all sorts of help on hand to get people home but these are not normal times. I needed to get myself walking and on the advice of my friend I took a few short wobbly steps.

“What are you doing?” the nurse called Mary asked when she saw me.

“I’m going to walk to the end of my bed, then I’m going to turn around and walk back.” This wasn’t a discussion, it was a statement. I could see she wasn’t happy but I did it anyway. She clapped, probably more in relief than approval. I sat in a chair.

I have a very stubborn streak which usually I find to be a great asset but sometimes a curse. I needed to keep this in check, and I knew it.

Having seen the angry Dave, I could see how destructive a stubborn streak could be. People talk about fighting illness but I’m afraid that is codswallop. You don’t fight illness, your body does that for you. In my case with a good dollop of help from the medical profession. It was their help that saved my life.

I was actually a passenger in all this. All I had to do was take my medication, eat my meals and drink lots of water. I didn’t fight anything in hospital. I laid no clenched fist on anything or anyone. I just did as I was told and tried to cause no problems for anyone. The fighters were a pain. They kept trying to get out of bed before they were ready. They complained they weren’t being treated properly. Dave was behaving himself now and was a very pleasant man. And he was going to be discharged. But we’d got a new patient in our room now, Clive; a younger man with pre-existing medical problems.

Dave went and we wished him well. Clive required more specialist care and was moved off the ward and transferred to another hospital.

Another bonus for me, when Dave left his zimmer frame had been left in our room. Oh what a shame, I’d got my zimmer frame now!

The doctors reduced my oxygen still further and I just had some tubes now instead of the oxygen mask. I spoke to my friend.

“You need to ween yourself of the oxygen. Take it off when you walk. Try not to panic and put it back on straight away when you’ve finished. Let your lungs recover naturally before you put the oxygen back on.”

He also gave me some breathing exercises for my lungs. Four deep breathes every hour using the diaphragm. I was more than happy to do this and feel my lungs waking up each time I did it.

The other piece of advice he gave was to trust my legs. He told me that if my legs felt strong then they would support me and to try not to be fooled by a wobbly head. My legs did feel strong and they did support me.

I started to use the frame to get me to the bathroom at the opposite end of the room. Putting the tubes back on, but not immediately, when I’d finished and returned to my bed or armchair. I was spending longer sitting in the chair as it was comfortable and supportive and felt very secure.

I had to check my bullheadedness. It would’ve been easy to do too much and tire myself out, so I started speaking to the nurses and they seemed happy with what I was doing although I never let on about my secret physiotherapist. I also got plenty of rest. Before I tried anything new I told them what I was going to do. I didn’t want to scare them like I scared Mary when I walked to the end of my bed and back.

Sometimes I’d forget to put my oxygen back on. It didn’t seem to make much difference anyway. Brian was making good progress too, walking further, getting to the bathroom on his own. He told me that as a young man he’d had tuberculosis and was using the same techniques to recover from coronavirus as he did from TB. I shared with him some of the advice I’d been given and we became quite a team.

Eric lay in his bed eating teaspoons of ice cream.

We got a new patient also called Dave. Dave 2 had a terminal illness already and had months to live. Now he had coronavirus as well. He also could use a zimmer frame to get himself to the toilet so my purloined zimmer was given to him. Just as well as it forced me to walk without it. The doctor reduced my oxygen to nothing and the nurses continued to monitor my oxygen levels.

I could walk but my steps were slow and deliberate. I’d place my foot in front of me and then let my body follow it. Step and arrive, step and arrive. I’d done some Argentine tango a few years ago. My steps were the same as the basic tango walk. So, like an Argentine Gaucho, I tangoed around the room.

“What are you doing? It was Eric. The first words he’d said in six days. It must have been a terrible shock for him to see me dancing the tango without a partner.

“I’m going home Eric, I need to practise walking”

“Oh” and that was the only time I spoke to Eric.

Brian and I listened to Dave 2. We spoke to him too of course but we listened. He knew he was dying but that didn’t seem to mean he wasn’t alive. He was very good company. Funny, interesting and God was he brave.

I was told I could go home. I was sure that I wasn’t ready but I organised a lift. The doctor advised that I was very unlikely to be contagious at this stage in my illness but just to be on the safe side I should wear a mask. I asked for one for my driver as well.  I cleaned myself up and for fear of contaminating the car I was going home in. I ditched all my clothes in the hospital’s bin, with their permission of course. I got a pair of fresh clean pyjamas and a pair of slipper socks.

My lift was in the car park. I went and washed myself all over and put on clean clothes. Molly, the staff nurse, came and I said I was ready to go. I said my goodbyes to Brian, Dave 2 and Eric and walked out of the room. Dave 2 was singing, “Oh for he’s a jolly good fellow, For he’s a jolly good fellow, For he’s a jolly good fellow, And so say all of us” I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.

I walked past the nurses’ station and all the staff applauded me. It must have been a lift for them to see me leave but they’d done all the hard work. I’d just sat about waiting to get better and done as I was told. I applauded them back and shouted my thanks. It was a long corridor to the exit and I couldn’t walk it. Molly got me a wheelchair and pushed me out of the hospital. My lift was there with the car door open. He was already wearing a filter mask. I put on my mask and thanked Molly again. I got into the nearside rear passenger door of the car and opened the window. I was going home. I’d got a network of friends and family lined up to help me through the first few days out of hospital

The world seemed so big, bright and quiet because everyone was on lockdown. I got home and was confronted by the first staircase I’d seen since I’d been in hospital. No dramas, I could do stairs… and I did. I went into the bathroom and had a shower.

For Teachers and Parents: What Have YOU Learned About Teaching and Learning Since the Covid-19 Lockdown?

Please let me know what revelations you’ve had since the lock-down and how the learning is going.

Good Apple Copy and Tutoring

Over recent years our kids and teachers have been under increasing pressure. Over-stuffed specifications and examinations with rigid mark schemes have changed teaching and learning…and not for the better!

So how does Covid change our understanding of teaching and learning?

  1. Children and parents get an enormous amount of work set by school. This is a great way to show parents just how much the school system has changed! Most parents are also amazed by the level at which our kids are expected to work.
  2. Children start to log on and complete their favourite tasks first showing us that they are capable of some independent learning.
  3. Children and parents work together to complete longer and more complex tasks including making arguments, developing ideas and understanding more difficult concepts. This is where useful learning can take place…but
  4. THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT PARENTS AND KIDS CAN’T DO EASILY WITHOUT SPECIALIST TEACHERS.

View original post 662 more words

For Teachers and Parents: What Have YOU Learned About Teaching and Learning Since the Covid-19 Lockdown?

Over recent years our kids and teachers have been under increasing pressure.  Over-stuffed specifications and examinations with rigid mark schemes have changed teaching and learning…and not for the better!

So how does Covid change our understanding of teaching and learning? 

  1. Children get an enormous amount of work set by school.  This is a great way to show parents just how much the school system has changed!  Most parents are also amazed by the level at which our kids are expected to work.
  2. Children start to log on and complete their favourite tasks first showing us that they are capable of some independent learning.
  3. Children and parents work together to complete longer and more complex tasks including making arguments, developing ideas and understanding more difficult concepts.  This is where useful learning can take place…but
  4. THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT PARENTS AND KIDS CAN’T DO EASILY WITHOUT SPECIALIST TEACHERS.
  5. We stop and reflect.  Some of us might think: SHIT!  I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN DO THIS!
  6. Then, the realisation: WE DON’T NEED TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS! 
  7. School learning can be narrow.  Home learning is also pretty important…
  8. On a basic level: can our kids wash their hands properly, make sandwiches and do chores?
  9. Go outside and marvel in nature?
  10. Fiddle and build stuff out of what they already have?
  11. Fix things in the house or paint?
  12. Maintain relationships over the telephone or use technology to keep in touch?
  13. Understand the Biology behind Covid?
  14. Calculate the maths behind budgeting?
  15. See how we’re all connected by globalisation: similar and different?
  16. Use art, music, drama and humour?
  17. Read widely?
  18. The list goes on…

So I’ve not been too hard on the kids.  Fortunately, they seem pretty resilient.  All their needs are met and they’ve got loads of resources at their disposal.  We’ll do what we can because children WILL learn, they are brilliant at it! For now the future is uncertain and our kids will need tools to deal with that: to live sustainably, responsibly and respectfully, meeting their basic and higher needs with hard work, creativity and good humour.

Back-Story 

In recent years our children have been silenced whilst teachers have been banging on about how to pass exams.  In some places this has had a hugely detrimental effect on the mental health of teachers and pupils.  This effect is less likely to happen to the children of the elite in private schools where there is less pressure to follow the National Curriculum and no fear of OFSTED. 

At the same time there has been a movement undermining the professionalism of teachers and a rigorous script to follow for those who remain in the classroom (reader, I left).  Being a teacher, especially in many of the prescriptive and punitive academies, has been a thankless, soul-destroying occupation.  The strict pedagogy of right and wrong seems such a crazy way to curtail discussion, particularly for those of us in the arts and humanities.  And how does it equip children to find their voice and place in an increasingly complex, dynamic and changing world?

Whilst for many of us, memories and school and learning have a golden or rosy quality, we don’t all need or want the faux Govian-experience of education forced on state schools in the last decade.  

My personal experience of education was probably pretty average or just above.  I went to an enormous mixed comprehensive in Cheshire in the 1980s with around two thousand other pupils.  My teachers were a mixed bunch, many of whom had gone to University in Manchester or other red-bricks in the 1960s and 70s… so today they might be described as radical hippies (who knew stuff) and they certainly wouldn’t hold with the prescriptive nonsense that teachers of today have to deal with.  We did lots of coursework, fieldwork, group work and a fair bit of mucking about.  We held debates, gave talks and scribbled in rough books. There were occasional strikes and strong Union action at the time so after-school and lunchtime activities were out of the question.  My parents can’t remember me ever doing any homework.  This didn’t stop me from achieving, far from it.  Blessed with wise parents, adequate (sometimes good) teachers and a fair amount of confidence, I breezed through examinations and managed to secure top grades without breaking in to a sweat or bursting in to tears with my mental health intact.  Just in case you are wondering, it wasn’t a fluke, I managed to go on to University and gain a First Class BA Hons in English Language with Linguistics despite my non-Grammar schooling!

Thankfully there’s a growing recognition that we will need to re-group our thoughts and attitudes towards education after Covid.  Let’s learn from period of reflection that the lock-down has provided and build a system that is more flexible and useful for our children and future generations.

From Self-Isolation to the Coronavirus Ward by Ed Stonecliffe Guest Writer

I think it was the Thursday 19th March when the headache began.  Not a slight, dull headache; not a “has anyone got any paracetamol?” headache.  Satan was pounding my head with his special head-hammer.  I took some paracetamol anyway and called in sick.

I’d been self-isolating for a few days because I felt sinusy and had a bit of a cough. The lock-down had just started. I was working from home and alone.

The next morning things were different: Hallelujah!  My headache had gone!  But that was the last of the good news.  It felt like my lungs were only operating at one quarter of their normal capacity and I knew this wasn’t good.  I packed a few things I might need in to a bag and rang 111.

It was about five in the morning and I got through relatively quickly. On describing my symptoms, the health professional on the end of the phone said they were calling me an ambulance and it would be about 15 minutes.

The ambulance arrived and I think that I was able to walk in.  The crew made a few checks: they listened to my chest, that sounded clear and took my temperature, slightly elevated.  My blood pressure was a little on the high side but nothing to worry about.  Then they measured my heart rate… high.  And the dissolved oxygen in my blood… low.

“Which hospital do you normally go to?”

I didn’t know the answer.  I have only been to hospital once in the last twenty years and that was to have a wisdom tooth removed.  That had been at Chesterfield.

“Chesterfield I suppose,” I replied and we took off with the blue lights flashing.

When we got to the hospital medics ran the same tests with the same results plus they took a blood sample and a chest X-ray.  A doctor appeared and said what he’d seen wasn’t much to worry about but they’d seen some changes in my lungs that could be consistent with Coronavirus.

“We’re going to send you home,” he said. “But if things get worse, just ring 999.”

Before I left they swabbed me for Coronavirus testing.

“If you’re positive someone will ring in three days’ time.  If not, you don’t have Coronavirus and you’re clear.”

“You’re young,” he said (I’m 48) “With no pre-existing health problems, you don’t smoke and you’re fit.  You should shake it off in a few days.”  And with that he disappeared. There was no-one I could ask to pick me up and I told the staff so.  They kindly arranged for a free ambulance to take me home.

The next three days were a bit of a blur to be honest. My breathing became more normal for a time.  I lost my appetite but tried to eat three meals a day, they were small and hard work to eat.  I had to swallow each bite separately because if I took a bite before I’d swallowed the previous one the chewed food would build up in my mouth and be almost impossible to swallow.  I also felt very, very thirsty and drank bottle after bottle of water.

On the third or fourth day my breathing returned to what felt like normal and I felt tired but recovered.

Little did I realise… That night I felt my bowels announce that they were going to do something spectacular.  I got out of bed and just made it to the lavatory.  It felt like the entire contents of my intestines fell out in about one tenth of a second.  I went back to bed and noticed I was becoming very short of breath.  I worried about whether I should call and ambulance or die in bed.  I felt that bad.  Fortunately, I decided to call the ambulance, 999 this time not 111.  I couldn’t be bothered packing a bag so I pulled on some clothes, picked up my phone and waited for the ambulance.

The crew arrived and put me on board.  They ran the same checks as the time before. Heart rate… high.  Dissolved oxygen in my blood… low.

“Let’s get you back to hospital,” the paramedics were reassuring.  I knew that hospital was where I needed to be.

The checks in the hospital were the same, with the same results except the chest X-ray.  “I’m afraid you’ve got pneumonia” said the doctor.  “We’ve also just got the results of the swab and you’re positive for coronavirus. We need to get you on the ward.”

I knew I was going to be looked after.  That’s another story.  (Part 2 to follow)

5 Tips for Working from Home

Thanks to Glenda Strong for the original artwork x

Good Apple Copy and Tutoring

This is all tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, tell me what works for you because I’m clueless! Thanks to Glenda Strong for the original artwork.

The Temptation

  1. Get dressed! Lock up those jiggly bits and put them away. For me this means a bra and no pjs. Fellas: put some trousers over your boxers! Is underwear a thing of the past?
  2. Make lists then prioritize. Do something useful. Swap between big-picture and small-picture thinking until you feel dizzy. Zoom in and out until you get that Eureka! moment.
  3. Pick up the phoneor email your close connections. Work on looking after your regular clients first.
  4. Go for it when you can, within regular work hours. Tell everyone else to bog off. A genius at work is not to be interrupted!
  5. Take regular breaks, bust out your best dance moves, do flick-flacks around the garden, run up to the loo…

View original post 41 more words

5 Tips for Working from Home

This is all tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, tell me what works for you because I’m clueless! Thanks to Glenda Strong for the original artwork.

The Temptation
  1. Get dressed! Lock up those jiggly bits and put them away. For me this means a bra and no pjs. Fellas: put some trousers over your boxers! Is underwear a thing of the past?
  2. Make lists then prioritize. Do something useful. Swap between big-picture and small-picture thinking until you feel dizzy. Zoom in and out until you get that Eureka! moment.
  3. Pick up the phone or email your close connections. Work on looking after your regular clients first.
  4. Go for it when you can, within regular work hours. Tell everyone else to bog off. A genius at work is not to be interrupted!
  5. Take regular breaks, bust out your best dance moves, do flick-flacks around the garden, run up to the loo. Don’t be chained to your desk, even better find a stand-up work space, the kitchen barre and point and stretch and hold.

That’s enough for now… (takes a bow). Thank you muchly for reading. Help appreciated! Ruth x

The Lock-Dress Monster

Good Apple Copy: Here to Listen

Here to Listen!

Methods for capturing information about the language we use is garnered in all sorts of ways that even I can’t imagine.  Yes Alexa, Google and Amazon, I’m talking about you, not to you! Capturing speech is important: we need to find out what people are thinking and talking about so we can adapt and meet new needs. However human, however flawed, there’s nothing quite as revealing as the words we use…

I am looking forward to working with businesses who are looking for new ways of listening and engaging in dialogue with others in these times of change.

If this is for you, I can offer you my keen ear on the end of a phone.  Hopefully we’ll have a decent chat.  I’ll capture your words which I’ll then edit and shape for effect so you can put some questions out there and start new conversations with others. 

Call me on 07504007740  to discuss your requirements.

(Yesterday’s News) How The Virus Creeps Up on You and Why You Should Stay the Fuck at Home

Everything is changing daily at the moment.  My much-loved boyfriend Ed is in hospital with Covid and Pneumonia right now.  The doctors say that he is on day 12.  It is now the first of April.

I last saw Ed on the 14th March.  We don’t live together but keep in touch constantly by phone chatting for up to an hour every night at 9 pm, downloading the day’s woes and triumphs and supporting other emotionally.

As Lock-down approached, Ed was OK and went in to work on alternate days, swapping with colleagues until everything finally shut down on the Friday.

I didn’t see him the following weekend.  I was tired and we stayed apart as a precaution.  On the following few days, his first week of working from home, he suffered from continuous headaches and really struggled to concentrate on work.  He had not been sleeping, he had a cough, lost his appetite and had a temperature.

On the Friday morning I got a frantic text saying that he was waiting for an ambulance.  He was admitted to the hospital with breathing problems and given all the tests and a chest scan which showed a mass on the lungs.  They considered that he might have suffered from a panic attack but tested him for Coronavirus.  Then they sent him home.

Meanwhile, I was looking after my children at my house.  I was well, the sun shone.  It was a beautiful but confusing week.

Over the weekend the weather cooled and clouded over.  Ed was pretty convinced that he would test positive for the virus and continued to decline, worrying each night about the worsening symptoms, head racing with strange and confused thoughts. 

He called for an ambulance and went in to hospital in the early hours of Tuesday 31st.  He was put on a drip and given oxygen. Later that day he got his result for Covid and a diagnosis of pneumonia by mid-afternoon. The consultant increased his oxygen level.  He asked me to get in touch with a neighbour who has seen some pretty rough things in the army.  At this point I started to get very worried.