My Covid Diary: Thank God for my faith and my family

Our reporter Dorretta recently caught coronavirus and shares her covid diary with us and tells us her experience.

My Name Is Dorretta – a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother and a friend.

I am a Fitness class instructor and I’m going to tell of my journey ‘Coming through Covid’. I don’t know what strain of Covid I had, but I want to tell you my journey.

Bear in mind that I am active daily delivering classes, keeping safe, eating healthy and maintaining my physical strength, flexibility, mobility and mental strength by meditating and relaxing. 

Covid has no choices or favourites, however, if I was not in good health and know better because of knowledge and education… Lord only knows.

If it were not for my faith and prayers for strength healing and right mind set, I may have been hit worse.

Two weeks prior to testing positive, I had severe headaches and was starting to feel very lethargic. I was sleeping long hours, falling asleep in the day and waking up early hours of the morning.

My body was aching and I felt like every membrane in my muscle fibre was being attacked. I felt like I had shin splints on every limb and each limb felt like it had an extra five stone on. I just put that down to the number of fitness classes I was delivering every day and carried on regardless.

Thursday and Friday of that last two weeks is when the headaches got worse. The headaches came from the back of my neck and were pulling through to my eyes. My swallowing was affected as tonsils had swollen. At first, I thought it was a migraine, then I thought tonsillitis.

I’m not usually someone who takes medication and painkillers, but I had to resort to taking paracetamol, which did not help at all. The headaches were very strange and the feeling was that of irritability and confusion no matter what position I placed myself in.

I just felt closed in and all I wanted to do was stretch out pull into a shape that would remove this tension from my neck, chest and head… but nothing would work.

Dorretta photographed by David Mclenachan

Lying down on my back made me feel worse and made me feel heavy, as if my body had collapsed on itself. My eyes were painful. I was literally crawling on all fours everywhere. I would wake at 4.30am and lay there in pain, trying to grasp my vision and lift my head as my body was not mine, as every fibre of my body felt like it was under attack.

My lower back was in agony like my kidneys were working overtime. Finally, I crawled out of bed on to the floor on all fours and managed to make it to the bathroom where I lay down in the bathroom floor for a bit, as it was effort, trust me. For a moment I felt like just letting it all go and weeing where I was but I didn’t. My lower back pain was so severe I thought it was my kidneys or a urine infection. 

During these two weeks, I did three lateral flow tests and they showed negative each time.

Funny thing is I hadn’t lost my taste or smell, but could not eat much as my tummy was creating some sort of chemical reaction that made everything I ate upset my stomach. I kept feeling like I wanted to bear down (that feeling you get when giving birth) and I was even walking like that too.

On Friday afternoon, I decided to do a lateral flow test, and it low and behold it came back positive. I had to isolate for 5 days as guidelines advise and thought this was it – I will be okay in five days… however that was not so. 

On Saturday, I started feeling even more tired and nauseous and could only eat small amounts and drink water or homemade lemon and lime juices with ginger.

All caffeinated hot drinks tasted disgusting and I even tried to drink the packet herbal teas, but they too were horrid. The only ones I could manage was peppermint tea.

I decided to make my own herbals teas with a slice of lemon, lime and ginger, with honey and hot water. To my surprise, I could drink them. 

What I did find was I was very very tired and was becoming weak. My body was aching and I felt like i had shin splints all over my body (I would hate to show you a pic of what I looked like). My son wanted me to come and stay with him and his family, but I told him no. I couldn’t risk them getting ill, but he was very worried.

Both my son, daughter and my mum were voices of encouragement willing me to stay strong and fight it praying and checking in daily. Thank God for my faith and my family.

My son brought me goody bags of fruit oranges and mango with his special sea moss drinks and lemon lime waters…they went down a treat. I had to stay strong even if it meant crawling on the floor to the kitchen I had to do it.

On Sunday, I tried to cook but could not stand long enough without sweltering and feeling dizzy, although it was like ice out side. I had to keep the back door open and went out into the garden to pace up and down three times, and then came back in and collapsed on the chair because it was so much effort. However, I did not have a high temperature.

I willed myself to get better but whatever it was that was attacking my body it was not going to win in Jesus Mighty Name I was going to stay strong.

On Sunday did not eat much. Come Monday, it was worse and I was scared and worried… and I couldn’t eat much again. I knew had to stay strong so tried to exercise so I had my 3kg weights and oh my gosh, I couldn’t even lift them. I tried to squat but just felt weak.

The only thing that helped was able to do was some skipping started with five hops (no rope), just jumping like I was skipping as my arms were too weak to turn the rope over.

The only exercise I could do was to lie on floor and take one 3kg dumbbell and raise it over my head then lengthening my arms straight out to touch the floor then bring it back over my chest.  I managed three of those. So, the jumping and laying on my back arms raises were proving to be a bonus with my chest and breathing, even though I felt wasted, I knew I had to keep doing these exercises and my chest and lungs needed it.

On Tuesday, I rang to get a PCR test done. The next day, that came back positive and I was told to isolate for 11 days and to take a lateral flow test after five days. If I got two negative tests, then I could come out of isolation.

Now bearing in mind I was already isolating for five days which meant Tuesday was my last day, the PCR said otherwise and my body knew it was going nowhere fast.

On Wednesday I fancied something very salty so I fried up some onions and added it to an egg sliced up with a piece of salty bacon. I tried to eat as I much as I could but had to leave it. I kept up with my fresh herbal tea mixes and peppermint and fruits.

I have a portable steamer, so I decided to have a steam out with Olbas Oil and I managed five minutes if that. However, I did feel better. I decided that I would do a steam every day.

Thursday, I just wanted fresh air and I just wanted to keep moving, so I decided to add walking up and down the stairs to my daily routine but all I could manage is one flight, then I fell flat out on the bed. I got up after half an hour or so went back down stairs went into garden for some fresh air I did my jump skips then back in side and managed three overheard arms raises and although tired I felt better.

Dorretta photographed by David Mclenachan

I noticed that I looked very thin and gaunt and my eyes had sunk. My skin and hair was dry and my eyes were painful to move left or right. My body felt like it needed a deep strong massage and to be stretched.

I found that all I could eat without feeling sick was fruits and salads which consisted of a lettuce tomato cucumber red onion with a balsamic French dressing. I made a Pyrex bowl size full and ate the lot. Granted all water based foods and citrus.

Then, I wanted proper spicy foods with chillies and scotch bonnet pepper, so I made a hot stir fry with prawns. That too I could stomach. My stomach felt better, almost like the pepper cut through the rancidness in my stomach.One thing I just could not eat was any meats, potatoes, rice or bread.

Trust me, I felt like i was pregnant. There were times where I would get on all fours and go into baby yoga pose, just to be able to breath and cough without hurting my chest. Everywhere i went in the house i took my phone with me just in case and my mum rang me every waking hour of the day praying my son and daughter kept checking in. 

I did find though that I just didn’t want to talk as it was too much effort, but I just wanted to hear their voice. I even got a little grumpy with mum, my champion woman, my everything, because she kept saying ‘hope you’re not in bed’ ‘get up and fight this thing Dorretta get up listen to mummy’ ‘what have you eaten today’ ‘drink your juices and hot drinks Dorretta don’t be weak for this thing to take you down you’re a strong woman fight it….

I knew she was right but it was hard. I tell you having a praying loving caring mother on my side kept me closer to my faith. My children were encouraging, uplifting and motivating and told what to do and eat.

This feeling went on for another five days.  It was now time to take the lateral flow test.  However, I had coughing and feeling a lot of pain in my chest. So, I thought the test would come back positive I know wrong attitude thinking. Anyway, I took test and praise be to God, day one of negative result. The next day I did another test and guess what – yes negative – Praise God.

I was still not out of the woods yet as I was still coughing with chest pain and dizziness.I thought, this may take a few more days before I’m back to at least 60 per cent of my physical fitness, but just thankful and grateful to God for prayers family and friends.

This covid is not nice. Keep others safe. I look forward to when I feel like myself again. I’m smiling now. To have life is a blessing.

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