How I was laid low by coronavirus – and survived

I’m Covid positive!

That means that I’ve had a coronavirus infection and survived because my body responded to Covid-19 by ­manufacturing antibodies.

Antibodies that neutralised the virus.

The antibody test I had wasn’t the prick test but the hardcore blood sample from a vein.

I had the blood taken at 6pm on Friday night and the result was ­available at 6am Saturday morning. Twelve hours.

That’s how quickly we need results of swab tests to make the track and trace programme work and set us free from lockdown.

At the present time, NHS results can take anything from 48 hours to five days, sometimes 10 days. No tracing system can work with such delays. Contacts have escaped. We’ll never get out of lockdown at that rate.

I didn’t seek the antibody test. I had to attend a clinic for something else and I was offered one. Why not I thought?

I had no expectations of the test and, if anything, I thought it would be negative. The doctor who phoned me Saturday morning with the result was quite excited. “At your age and with your comorbidities you must be fit and strong. Your immune system must be cast iron.”

My comorbidities are atrial  fibrillation (heart), pulmonary fibrosis (lungs) and borderline renal function (kidneys) – all being treated and stable. They don’t bother me.

I’m fit as a fiddle, walk everywhere and do HIIT (high intensity interval training) a couple of times a week.

Nonetheless the fact I have them, along with my age, means I’m in the super vulnerable group and I’ve been shielding since the beginning of March.

Could I recall having a flu-like illness the doctor asked me? Well, yes, I could. In early February I suffered the worst attack of “flu” I’d ever had. I was so ill. It started with a sore throat and a non-stop cough that was so bad my husband had to move into the spare room for three weeks.

I was hot one minute, freezing cold the next, aching in every muscle and had a constant severe headache. I didn’t have the strength to stand and went to bed for four days. I developed a really horrible taste in my mouth and I lost my appetite, but not just “off my food”.

Food revolted me and I didn’t eat for a week. Feeling a bit better I got up but a couple of days later I felt worse than ever, went back to bed and slept for
48 hours.