Bob Brook - B. Braun Employee - His Experience of having Covid 19

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Bob Brook - B. Braun Employee - His Experience of having Covid 19

I attended the Cheltenham Racing Festival in March where 250,000 people mingled over four days. This is almost certainly where I caught the Coronavirus.

I caught the virus before the social distancing measures came in.  The typical incubation period is 5 days and until the first symptoms showed up, I felt fine and would not have known anything was wrong. This is why social distancing and avoiding the vulnerable is so important as during that five days, I could have been infecting people.

We had already been directed to work from home and on the morning of Tuesday 17th March,

I woke with a new cough. I knew this could be a symptom but it’s usually described as a persistent or repetitive cough. Mine was very mild, one or two coughs and repeated only every 30 mins or so. Still, I took my temperature which was normal so thought no more of it and began working on my computer. By mid afternoon, I started to feel incredibly fatigued to the extent that I had to go and lie down. Upon waking, I had that ‘going down with something’ feeling. I took my temperature and it was high. I guess this was the first time I actually thought I might have Coronavirus.

The next day I woke up with a fever, which felt just like having flu. This persisted for the next few days, until I woke on Friday morning from a good night’s sleep and felt human again. Checked temperature and it was normal. It felt like the worst was over so I rang work, declared I was on the mend and would be back at work on Monday. With a mild dose, this is the point when most people recover and I thought that was the case for me. But by that evening, I started to get a tight chest and felt short of breath.  

When I woke on Saturday the tight chest had become worse and was accompanied by shortness of breath and the temperature had returned. Suddenly, it felt like the worst might not be over. For the next few days I felt really ill and even just eating left me out of breath. I guess the virus had got to my lungs and I was pretty much bed bound. It felt like I was getting pneumonia so called 111, I was directed to phone my GP who prescribed me antibiotics.

I had no appetite at all and was living on soup and crumpets. I continued to feel really unwell and bed bound for another week and the antibiotics weren’t working. It seemed to be going on forever but the scary bit was that I knew that in week three, I was either likely to get better or go downhill and end up in hospital. I just didn’t know which way it would go. On day 14, I was prescribed some different antibiotics and then by day 16, with great relief, I finally began to feel a bit better. My temperature had returned to normal and there were the first signs of my appetite returning.  

From there, I quickly began to get well again and could begin to think about the real issues of the day. Like when will I be able to get a hair cut and whether there will be any Rioja Reserva Imperial 2014 on the supermarket shelves. It will take a few more week to return to full fitness, my lungs feel like someone has scraped their nails down the insides, but given the awful death toll, I’m thankful to have recovered. I certainly wouldn’t wish this on anyone else so can only echo the government’s advice about staying home and social distancing.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone at B. Braun for their messages of support, they really did help to get me through the tough times and kept me positive.

Take care everyone.