Last week on the 22nd December I was diagnosed with COVID and whilst I am in isolation, I thought I would add my experiences of this to the ever-growing narratives of millions of others who have done the same. Please be aware that these are my own personal experiences and musings and can not and do not constitute medical advice or guidance for others.
So the first thing to say is that currently in the UK where I live rates of COVID infection are very, very, high with approximately 100,00 to 120,00 new infections being reported every day. Most of these are thought to be the new Omicron variant which early data shows is much more transmissible than other variants, but thankfully it appears not as virulent or ‘aggressive’ as other past COVID variants in its effects or symptoms, whether this is due to the mutations of this Omicron variant or widespread vaccinations is not fully known.
Either way I have not been told which variant I have but statistically, it’s most likely to be Omicron, and the fact that I had no symptoms at the time of my diagnosis would also lead me to believe it was the milder Omicron variant. In fact my COVID infection was only found due to routine swabbing I have at work in which all patient-facing NHS staff are given weekly PCR tests to help protect the vulnerable patients they see.
So after having had weekly PCR swabs at work for nearly 18 months my very last swab of the year before I took a couple of weeks of much needed annual leave came back positive. This was a most unwelcomed announcement just before Christmas and my birthday as I had to cancel plans to see friends and family, but it was also a bit of a surprise because as I said I had absolutely no symptoms at all.
Symptoms for COVID infections are wide and varied with well over 50 different symptoms being documented and more being added regularly. However the most common symptoms of COVID for most are cold or flu-like symptoms, loss of smell and/or taste, and fatigue and fever, all of which I had none, and neither did my wife who has also now tested positive after my result was announced.
Where and how I acquired COVID is uncertain as I have been taking all the usual protective steps of always wearing a mask indoors and in public or crowded spaces, washing my hands regularly, and practising social distancing, and I haven’t been anywhere public recently. The only two places where I do come into closer contact with people regularly are at work or when training in the gym and despite taking the usual precautions I guess they are the most likely sources of my infection.
Both myself and my wife are fit and healthy with no other significant medical issues, and we are both double vaccinated and recently boosted. This may also be a reason why we both haven’t had any symptoms prior to being diagnosed. However, since finding out our COVID status both of us have now noticed some symptoms which is confusing and frustrating for us as we are not sure if these are psychosomatic in origin due to us knowing we have COVID or if they are just slower emerging symptoms.
Since our diagnosis, my wife has developed some mild cold-like symptoms of a sore throat, an intermittent cough, and some muscle aches. I, however, have not developed these symptoms but am getting regular night sweats and have noticed my average resting heart rate has risen by around 10-15 bpm from approx 55 bpm to around 65-70 bpm.
I have also noticed that the couple of times I have tried to exercise since my diagnosis (in complete isolation I hasten to add) my energy levels are much lower and my RPE is far higher. I have also found myself sleeping 9-10 hours over the last few nights (even with the night sweats) and nodding off a few times during the day, something I never do, however, this might also be due to increased quantities of port and cheese I have had over the festive season.
However, as I said I am not sure if these symptoms are due to the virus, the festive season, or just because I am being more hypervigilant and over analysing things far more than usual since being told I have COVID. Either way, I do feel ‘off-kilter’ and not my usual self.
As much as it’s been a pain in the arse having to isolate right when I wanted to see friends and family over the festive season, I am grateful to only have had very mild symptoms and I do think the vaccines and boosters are the reason here. I am also grateful that my asymptomatic infected carcass was detected with routine swabbing meaning I wasn’t inadvertently infecting others less fortunate or not as well protected as myself.
Tomorrow will be my 6th day since my official diagnosis and when I can take my first lateral flow test to see if it’s negative and if it is again on day 7 I can stop isolating. It will also be interesting to see how long these ‘symptoms’ and feelings I have to take to clear up after the virus has left my body, and I will keep you posted on how it goes in a few weeks time
Until then, thanks for reading, and I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you take care of yourself and others and remember to mask up, give space, and wash your hands often.