Remember Remember the 5th of April?
Probably not, but I do!
Wednesday 18th March 2020. The UK had not long started lockdown 1.0. I started to transition from working in the office to working at home. I had quite a large project on the go so over the next 3 days I needed to take a lot of IT equipment home, set up a working environment then crack on with the project. At the same time, our customers were also transitioning to working at home, a burst of jobs started flowing in the following week to aid with their transitions.
Wednesday 1st April 2020. My dad’s Birthday. With everything going on amid lockdown & Covid I didn’t have enough time to get much, nothing more than a Doombar and a card. Normally we would go to the pub for dinner, however, this was the first time we had not gone out for a meal for his Birthday since before I became an adult.
Saturday 4th April 2020. Having now adjusted to the new way of Covid life it was clear Monday to Friday & 9-5 no longer applied. I started the day reasonably relaxed, knowing me on a weekend that was around midday, had breakfast, then decided to play around with the big project I had been working on since lockdown. At some point in the evening, I gave up and moved to the sofa for dinner & a Netflix session.
Sunday 5th April. Just after midnight while nearing the end of my Netflix marathon, I started to feel discomfort in my stomach. I decided to turn off the TV and go to bed. Shortly after trying to get to sleep the discomfort turned to pain and began to worsen quite rapidly. For the next 2-3 hours, I began to bounce between being too hot then too cold with feverish like sweats, during which my stomach had now turned into extreme agony. I was constantly rolling around the bed trying to find a position where the pain didn’t hurt as much. Usefully I keep a bottle of water by my bed but drinking it was not helping. I then started to feel nauseous & the need to vomit, but by this stage, I’d dehydrated so much I couldn’t stand without feeling like I would collapse. I had to crawl to the bathroom, which bearing in mind is an en-suite felt like navigating the Atlas Mountains. When I made it, I was fully disorientated at this point and just laid on the floor. Eventually, I vomited, but this was not anything I’d experienced before, it was bright yellow bile. No food whatsoever.
You may be thinking at this point, why did I not call out for help or pick up the phone. Firstly, my housemate works a night shift so nobody else was in the flat at the time. Secondly, the pain had completely consumed my body & mind. No longer could I think or act like a human being. Until you have experienced something like this, it is very hard to explain. It’s comparable to when pets hide in the corner quietly in pain. It is also very easy to be judgemental in these circumstances.
Having vomited I no longer felt the need to do so again, but the pain & disorientation was still extreme. I passed out on the floor for about 20 minutes and when I came to, I managed to crawl back over the Atlas Mountains to the bedroom and clamber onto the bed. A task I’d been doing my whole life and never thought could ever be so monumentally challenging. I continued to sweat and roll around in pain. If you’ve ever seen the film, Alien, it was very much like I had one inside me waiting to burst out. Finally, at some point around 7 am I fell asleep.
Around 9 am I woke up, less disorientated but still in a considerable amount of pain. I sent a text to a friend, an ex-nurse, and told her about the night I’d had, she advised me to call 111. I immediately call and explain to the operator what had happened, he referred me quickly to a doctor who called me back within 10minutes to further diagnose what the problem might be. She agreed to send a doctor round to the flat however, due to the Covid crisis it was going to be at least a couple of hours.
I managed to fall asleep again until the attending doctor rang my phone to say he was on his way. Unexpectedly the pain in my stomach had almost completely subsided, but I felt completely drained. When I opened the door, the new world was staring in front of me, a man in what only can be described as a chemical warfare hazmat suit. From head to toe he was covered with no skin exposed. He proceeded to do some basic health checks, pulse, temperature etc… and placed pressure on my stomach, weirdly no additional pain. His diagnosis was a vomiting bug, but also put it down as a Covid possibility because of all the symptoms. His instructions were to isolate for a couple of days and monitor the situation. Completely baffled and worn out by the whole experience, I planned to just take it easy for the next couple of days and promptly started to rehydrate. I chose not to eat for the rest of the day.
Under doctors’ orders, I mostly stayed in bed for the next 3 days. Only leaving my bedroom to eat. Which consisted of porridge & toast.
By Wednesday I was rapidly recovering from my ordeal, I started to cook & eat properly again, by Friday I was feeling fit enough to drive and proceeded to go food shopping. A full week after the event it was as if nothing had happened, I was in no pain, I was eating & drinking normally again, and the digestive system was working fine.
Was this just a blip pushing 40, or was something lurking in the shadows…