News Editor's Covid Diary - Part 2

Christine Vasquez - Thursday 8th October

When friends (half in jest) asked me for a ‘and what happened next?’ blog, my first thought was ‘Que capullo! Totally self-indulgent! You can’t keep writing about yourself-who cares?’ But my ego took over, as did my sense of fun and I accepted a Whatsapp challenge from colleagues asking me to write about what I’d eaten, what I’d read and whether I’d put on that conditioning mask, which leaves your hair so, so soft.

I am happy to say that my husband continues to ‘recover’. He was never in danger but this was definitely no “man flu” about which he immediately complains at the first hint of a sniffle. He started off with a fever, headaches, tiredness and very achy joints, though never a cough or loss of taste or smell. Strangely, it was when these obvious symptoms stopped, after four or five days, that things actually got worse. He would wake up feeling better every day but this would last only an hour or so before he became exhausted, fuzzy brained and nauseous. He would manfully sit at his PC desperately struggling to get some work done and becoming increasingly tired and irritable. It was only after he resigned himself to the fact that he couldn’t that he really began to get better. He would sleep for most of the day with a constant feeling of malaise, complaining that a malevolent monkey had taken control of his body and he didn’t know what lever it was going to pull next: headache, nausea, diarrhoea, deafness(!!), and always the exhaustion.

All the while contact tracing and 111 would be the reassuring presence in the background, keeping in touch with us daily. We had also had a bit of an anti-covid kit. The usual: Paracetamol, cough mixture, vaporiser, thermometer. But what proved the most useful was an oximeter we were given, which measures the levels of oxygen in your body by clipping it onto your finger. We were told that a sudden drop of oxygen levels was the first sign of something going seriously wrong. It was reassuring to be able to check that this was not happening.

For my part I managed to avoid the bullet and tested negative, despite what I have to admit was a less than rigorous regime of isolation from hubby.

In contrast to my husband, who could not keep his eyes open all day, I was unable to sleep more than five hours a night. It’s not that I was anxious, I was just on constant overdrive. I was keeping bonkers hours. Eventually I gave up trying to sleep and would take a bath at 5am followed by breakfast at 6. Working from home and on call over the weekend, I spent entire days on my laptop, writing, tweeting, posting, calling people up. With so many extra hours, I would write scripts, obsessively re-order them and re-format them for subsequent bulletins. By week two I decided I had to take a step back from the mania. I was too wired up. I succumbed to ordering online deliveries for the elderly dependants in my life from whom I was now cut off, and relaxed by hanging curtains and spending half my pay on Christmas presents online.

As to what we ate, well we were resourceful: We broke into gift chocolate boxes, worked our way through various sedimentary layers of long forgotten stuff in the freezer, and comfortedourselves with more jelly and frozen chips than was sensible. I remembered how to make a roux sauce and even made pesto with my home grown basil (Yes, I roasted the pine nuts first). Surprisingly, I did not get round to reading very much and that conditioning mask that leaves your hair so very, very soft still lies in its package.