My Coronavirus – by Dr Ed Penman

April 01 2020   |   News

Dr Ed Penman

What I write here is not supposed to be a typical example, nor is it a unique case, but just my experience of catching, and recovering from coronavirus.

I’m a GP and medical director for Summerfield Healthcare, aged somewhere in the 50s with no significant health issues that would classify me as ‘high-risk’.

Just over a week ago I self-isolated as my partner started to develop symptoms of coronavirus. We shut our front door and followed the government’s guidance. Three days later I started to feel a little unwell.

Day 1.

Hard to describe how I feel as I don’t have the classic cough or fever. Just profound tiredness. Feeling tired is normal for me, but this is something different. Despite sleeping well at night I’m having to go back to bed half-way through the day too. Work will have to wait. Temperature 36.6.

Day 2.

Slight cough, feel bunged up, as though I have a cold but no sore throat. Still very tired, no energy to do much at all.

Much of my work doesn’t involve seeing patients directly but rather report writing and emails so spending some time at my desk and keeping this work going. Mentally a bit slow but otherwise functioning normally at the keyboard.

Managed to get a bit of fresh air outside (don’t worry, on our own property, no exposure to other people!) only to find the sun out and spring chirping away as though taunting me. Temperature 36.5.

Day 3.

Time for a coronavirus swab test – duly taken and sent off to the lab: very easy to do and the result will be really useful to know. Still a dry cough, hard to decide if it is a ‘continuous’ cough as per the government’s guidelines. Taking your temperature gives a clear reading but judging symptoms such as cough is harder. No serious symptoms such as shortness of breath. Temperature 36.8.

Day 4.

Slight loss of taste and smell, which now appears to be one of the signs of coronavirus (in addition to a fever and cough). Cough much the same. Am making sure I’m eating and drinking as normally as possible. Common sense applies – it is rather like treating a normal flu-like illness. Front door still firmly closed. Temperature 36.4.

Day 5.

Still tired. Am very fortunate to be able to have the time to rest as I’m not much use for anything else. Waiting in anticipation of the swab result – feels like waiting for an exam result! Temperature 36.6.

Day 6.

Swab result: roll of drum, and, IT’S POSITIVE! Am actually very pleased and strangely relieved.

Really good to have a clear result and explanation for why I’ve been feeling unwell. Energy slowly returning. It appears I have had a very mild form of the illness and now should be developing immunity. Temperature 36.8.

Day 7.

According to the guidelines this should be the last day of the illness, at least from an infection point of view. The tiredness and slight cough are likely to continue for a few more days but I haven’t had a fever or other more serious symptoms that would keep me isolated. Temperature, for the last time, 36.5.

Day 8.

Huge relief and gratitude. Am now officially over coronavirus and no longer infectious. The swab test has been useful, confirming my symptoms and giving me great reassurance.

My front door is now open and I’ve put the thermometer away – my hope is there are many others like me who will suffer only a mild form of COVID-19.

Find out more about COVID-19 and the testing kits we have available here.

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