'It's opened my eyes' - What is it really like having coronavirus?

Antony Dorling, 29, from Norwich, Pip Langley, 50, from Brundall, and Heather Neal, 44, from Spixworth

Antony Dorling, 29, from Norwich, Pip Langley, 50, from Brundall, and Heather Neal, 44, from Spixworth, have spoken about their experience after testing positive for Covid-19. - Credit: Submitted

People in Norfolk who have had coronavirus have been describing their experience with the illness.

Testimonies describe a broad spectrum of sickness, from those experiencing no symptoms at all to others who ended up in hospital and still felt the effects weeks later.

Around one in five people infected with Covid-19 do not develop any symptoms, and while most people have a mild illness, some can suffer from acute respiratory problems.

Most people make a full recovery within 12 weeks.

Pip Langley, 50, Brundall

Ms Langley's experience with the virus was "rapid, unexpected and scary".

She woke up on Boxing Day with a mouthful of ulcers, a sore throat and a snotty nose - which she put down to exhaustion.

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"I went from feeling like I'd got a cold to being in A and E with an irregular heartbeat," she said.

Since Ms Langley thought she could have been exposed to Covid at work, she took a test that morning.

When the result came back positive the following morning, she burst into tears.

"Having to tell people I’d seen was just awful. I felt so guilty, even though I couldn’t have known," she said.

Pip Langley

Pip Langley, 50, from Brundall, said her experience having coronavirus was "rapid, unexpected and scary". - Credit: Submitted

Three days earlier, on Christmas Eve, her heart had started fluttering, and by Sunday evening it was worse.

"I felt like I had two heartbeats. I kept going lightheaded and almost passing out."

On Monday, an ambulance took her to the James Paget hospital, where she spent two nights, one in A&E and one in a ward.

"I was genuniely scared when I was watching my heart rate bounce all over the place on the monitor. I was on my own and didn't know what was going to happen."

Ms Langley, normally fit and healthy, said she is still not fully over the virus.

"It frustrates me when people say it's a hoax," she said.

Antony Dorling

Norwich man Antony Dorling, 29, was shocked when he tested positive for coronavirus in November last year. - Credit: Submitted

Antony Dorling, 29, Norwich

Mr Dorling was at work at a care home in Norwich, on November 25, when he tested positive.

"I was shocked that I got it to be honest. I was getting ready to go to work when I got my result, I took ten days off to self isolate."

He suffered loss of taste and smell, mild breathing problems and muscle joint and aches after his isolation period.

"I’m not suffering with any symptoms now, it’s not really made an impact on my life personally," he said.

Alison, 34, Stalham

After a colleague at work got the virus, Alison went to the Postwick drive-through testing centre on December 27 and was confirmed positive.

At first she had no symptoms, but the next morning she felt exhausted, dizzy and as if there was "syrup in her lungs".

"I got a cough. My eyes and bones physically hurt," she said.

Over the following days she started to feel a little better, and on the tenth day after her positive test, NHS Test and Trace told her she could stop isolating.

Sixteen days later, she still feels tired and her sense of smell has not returned.

"I feel I have to go back to work because I have zero financial help for myself or my daughter who also had to isolate," she said.

"Friends have kindly helped us with food. Bills will just have to wait as I may or may not get Universal Credit.

"I've been refused any other help that I applied for because I am on a zero hours contract and was entitled to no help previously."  

Chloe Groves, 23, Holt

Ms Groves was "shocked" when she tested positive last Wednesday (January 6) .

Within 24 hours, her health went downhill. "I've been really poorly, it's almost like having the flu times a thousand," she said.

She has had shortness of breath and lost her sense of taste and smell.

A support worker at a home, she has been working throughout the pandemic.

Ms Groves and her boyfriend, who live together, can stop self-isolating at midnight on Sunday (January 16).

"I'm not going to be miraculously better on Sunday, though. It feels like it will take a while to recover from it.

"It really has scared me and opened my eyes to how bad it can be.

"Because I'm so young I always thought, if I get it, I hopefully won't suffer from it. But I've suffered quite bad," Ms Groves said.

Heather Neal

Heather Neal, 44, who has not developed any symptoms, was surprised after testing positive for Covid-19. - Credit: Submitted

Heather Neal, 44, Spixworth

Ms Neal and her daughter, who had a sore throat, were tested at the Postwick site, where her daughter's result came back negative.

"We were both surprised but it meant life could resume with no need to isolate anymore, or so I thought," Ms Neal said.

"Then my results came in. I was absolutely flabbergasted that mine was positive.

"I have zero symptoms and I'm feeling very healthy. I was completely in shock, it took me a couple of minutes to get my head around what I had just read."

Ms Neal and her daughter are both isolating.

"Initially I was going to wait for my daughter's test result before getting one done. Luckily I didn’t. Otherwise I would have gone back to work being a ‘super spreader‘ and none the wiser."


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