We are a blended family of six (two adults, 35-54, and four children, 16,14,11 and 10). We both have two children from previous marriages and alternate Christmases with the children. This year was our year to have the children together. As we had been put into Tier 4 from 20th December, we had changed our plans and were having Christmas at home – lots of board games, movies and country walks!
A couple of days after Christmas my partner and I started to experience cold like symptoms – runny nose, congestion, fatigue, muscle aches, headaches etc. This was put down to the time of year, relaxing over Christmas etc. We checked our symptoms against the NHS COVID symptoms, and we did not appear to be suffering from ‘typical’ COVID symptoms (There are a list of additional symptoms, but these are very vague and could be associated with multiple illnesses). The children were all fine. One of my children had had COVID at the beginning of December and was out of isolation.
The next day, the fatigue was worse, dizziness awful and we both seemed to have a slight change in taste of certain things, toothpaste, coffee, ice cream. Again, we checked our symptoms online and a sudden change of taste and smell could indicate COVID but a gradual loss was more likely to be a virus or cold. We went to bed early that evening as we were both exhausted and spent the night shivery and sweating. My partners fever had cleared by the morning but mine would not shift.
As part of a Cental Bedfordshire Council initiative my partner’s daughter’s school was asking families to get tested before returning to school in January to try and reduce cases. My partner decided we would all get tested that day (with the exception of my eldest son who had already had COVID earlier in the month) at the Cranfield University test centre as my symptoms were not any better, and to rule out COVID. Appointments were booked for 11.30am. The test centre is efficient and well managed, and we were checked in and had completed our tests within 15 minutes.
Day 2 – we both developed a cough, not continuous more erratic and in short bursts. We received our results around 24 hours after the test – my partner, my son and I were positive, and my partner’s daughters were negative. My son did not show any symptoms, he was eating and drinking normally, taste and smell was ok and apart from looking a bit tired (too many late nights) was ok in himself.
Day 3 – New Year’s Eve and my fever continued along with tight chest, cough, body aches, headache, taste changes and loss of appetite. It was impossible to move out of bed. My partner was also suffering with body aches, muscle fatigue and complete loss of taste and smell. My partner’s youngest daughter was fatigued and had slight change in taste. Her temperature was normal, but we decided to order home kits for her and her sister to be on the safe side. My son had lost his smell but was otherwise well.
Day 4-6 – The symptoms were aggressive and would come and go. You may feel better one day and free of a symptom only for it to come back the next. We found paracetamol, ibuprofen and lots of water the best remedies. We both felt dazed and fatigued. I was effectively bed bound whilst my partner was able to carry on with (somewhat) normal life.
The test kits arrived for my partners children and were completed and sent off. Their symptoms had not really changed, and they just seemed to be more tired than usual.
Day 7-9 – The test kits came back to confirm one child was negative and one positive and so they continued their self-isolation.
My COVID battle continued, I was able to move around but got tired easily, my fever went but I still had a cough and tightness of my chest.
Day 10 – Our last day in isolation. As we had tested positive on different dates, we were on a different isolation track to the children. The symptoms were easing gradually.
Day 11 – Freedom! As we were both fever free for over 24 hours, we were able to resume our normal activities.
We don’t know where we caught the virus from, we had been adhering to social distancing, wearing masks and washing our hands. We had limited our trips out to walks/exercise or essential shopping.
We were very lucky we had family around us to deliver shopping and essentials when needed. My partner’s taste and smell has still not come back and we both have a slight cough, but we are very fortunate/grateful that we only had a mild dose of the virus that has taken and affected the lives of so many.
From our experience, our advice would be to isolate if you have any unusual symptoms (even if you are not sure if it could be COVID) and to get a test as soon as possible. Over the counter pain relief, plenty of fluids and rest are good if you are managing your symptoms at home.