English in the Time of the Pandemic 5 – My life in the pandemic

My life in the pandemic. We asked four people to write about their experience in the pandemic.

You can meet our four contributors below:

A Swiss health professional in quarantine, a 14-year-old Swiss school student, an 87-year-old Australian man, and a Swiss woman who lives in London who is recovering from Covid 19.

Their stories are our story. We hope to follow up their stories in a few weeks from now.

Welcome to English in the Time of the Pandemic #5

You can leave your comments and thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page or you can send  an email to info@tlh.ch

Be kind to yourself and others. Stay safe.

Photo above: The virus affects us all Artist: Cornelis de Buck

 

My Life in the Pandemic

 

 

The Covid beast has got me

 

My name is Geneviève. I am Swiss, aged 55 and I live in London.

The Beast got me. And it wouldn’t let go. It’s hard to shake it off!

It started with an insignificant dry cough for a few days. I started to have a vague suspicion. Maybe? Could it be?

Then, I had a weird and indescribable aching pain around my hips. I began to compare symptoms with friends who were a few days ahead of me.

The aching was painful and persistent. I was another victim, but still in denial, with a fast diminishing ray of hope that it was not Covid 19.  The final revelation, that nail in the coffin, showed itself on day 6 when I ate my favourite Thai dish cooked by my healthy husband. I couldn’t taste it! My sense of taste had disappeared!

 

It was a consistent heavy pain,

like a iron bar in my forehead.

I stayed in my bed; inactive for six days.

 

Damn! That was it. The beast had got me.  The following days, I had a terrible heavy headache that sent me to bed. It was a consistent heavy pain, like a iron bar in my forehead.  I stayed in my bed; inactive for six days.

A fever would have helped to exterminate the Covid beast, but there was none. Paracetamol and essential oils had no effect.
For days I ached in bed. No energy. Little appetite.

Day 13, I finally woke up from my first full night of sleep. My headache was gone. The aching was gone. I could smell a curry again.

What a relief. But it’s a long journey to get back to full health.

Day 15, and I am still exhausted.

Today. It’s day 19 and I’m still not 100 per cent. I have a kind of flu and I’m so tired. The shadow of this terrible beast remains.

 

 

I am a Swiss health professional. I have the virus.

 

I am a senior healthcare professional, working in one of the major hospitals in Switzerland. I am writing this at home in quarantine with the virus. It’s day seven. I think the worst is over. During the first few days I had fever, terrible headaches and a mild cough. I am now often tired, but I plan to go back to work in a few days, after the 10 day quarantine period.

While the daily life of people has changed radically over the last few weeks, life at hospital changed overnight. All procedures, appointments and consultations at the hospital where I work, that were not completely essential were cancelled.

 

 

It’s day seven. I think the worst is over.

During the first few days I had fever,

terrible headaches and a mild cough.

I am often tired, but I plan to

go back to work in a few days.”

 

Most hospital staff are a bit scared for themselves. But the worst fear is that they will take the virus home to their children and parents. There is a tension in their faces. We don’t know what will happen, whether it will be a catastrophe or not. The good news is that, at the moment, there are still services and health professionals. We are not at capacity. The view from my colleagues is quite positive. We are more prepared than other countries. I hope it will stay this way. Yes, we are confident the curve will flatten before the hospital reaches capacity.

The virus is quite mild for most people. We’ve already has the first wave of infected staff returning to work after 10 days in quarantine.

We must be incredibly aware of hygiene, even though there is a limited supply of face masks and other items. Usually, we don’t pay much attention to how we use face masks and hand sanitizer. Now we have to make them last longer.

I am looking forward to going back to work, to get out of the apartment and socialise, to give my partner and myself a break, and of course, to use my skills to help people to get better.

I chose a job that is important in society and I have a role to play.  I am happy I made this choice, despite the risks.  It’s not just about doctors and nurse, I think we must not forget the hospital cleaners, aides, the pharmacists, the caterers, the administration who are doing as extraordinary job. They didn’t quite know they were signing-up for this…

I will give you some more news in a week or two

 

I am 87 years old. I worry about my mental health.

 

My name is Roy. I live in Melbourne Australia and I am 87 years of age.

I am in the vulnerable category of this pandemic. Although, I think I was in the vulnerable category before.

I am well. Touch wood.

I’ve seen a lot. I was born at the end of the Great Depression and I’ve witnessed polio outbreaks and the second world war. Now the current Corona 19 has arrived, unannounced, invisible, speedy, deadly, with no end in sight.

I go shopping once a week. It’s an expedition. I get in my car and I can park in the disabled car park. I don’t have a face mask. They’re impossible to find in Australia. Some people say they aren’t very useful. The supermarkets have a special hour each morning for the elderly and disabled. We are the only ones allowed in the store.

 

If it continues, I am worried about my mental health.

At my age I have a routine that keeps me sane.

Now that’s come to an end. It’s been very abrupt.

I have no control over my future.

 

I’m isolated. I’m bored to tears. I got my flu injection this week. I had to call the doctor from my car when I arrived. I was the only person there with three doctors. My doctor said it could continue to Christmas, we just don’t know.

If it continues, I am worried about my mental health. At my age I have a routine that keeps me sane. Now that’s come to an end. It’s been very abrupt. I have no control over my future.

I am lucky. I live in a house with a large garden. I am used to living alone.

My daughter is a trained nurse. We have decided to not to see each other. We have just have to give thanks that we are in good health.

So where to from here? We are all facing the “great unknown”. People are rightly worried as nothing like this has ever previously engulfed us.

However, I hope and pray that, given the necessity for closer co-operation which is becoming more evident within this country and even possibly between nations; at the end of this turmoil, maybe – just maybe – we might witness the emergence of a kinder and less “me, me world”.

 

 

I am a school student aged 14. I am bored and worried.

 

I was in my art history class when we were told that school was shutting down.

My friend Maeva received the news in the middle of class via an sms from the Tribune de Genève, but she couldn’t tell the teacher because she wasn’t supposed to be on her phone. The news  quickly whispered its way around the class until someone finally decided to tell the teacher.

We all started cheering. The teacher was the only one who wasn’t happy about it. She was in shock and quite confused, a reaction I now understand.

 

Before, I thought the corona-virus was

something happening in other places

to other people, but now my cousin is sick

 

My friends and I started planning sleepovers every night. The first four days were fun because our school still hadn’t worked out how to do all the online classes, so I had almost no work to do.

Then we realized how painfully boring it would be. No friends, no parties, no going out, no sleepovers and lots of online work for school.

It’s hard being at home with my family 24/7 because we are not used to being together for such long periods of time. It’s not a holiday. Everyone gets angry very quickly and we often start fighting about little things. I’m trying to be calmer and much peaceful. But, it is SO boring.

Before, I thought the corona-virus was something happening in other places to other people, but now my cousin is sick probably with the virus and as he lives with my aunt and uncle. He could infect them. That makes me worry a lot because they both have lung issues and the virus could potentially be deadly.

I try to block it out and distract myself when I start worrying, but that’s hard to do when I am stuck inside all day.

I’ve cleaned up my room to keep myself entertained. That’s something I’ve never done before. The good news is that my light stick arrived. If you know a little about K-pop you will know what I am talking about.

 

Garry Littman

Garry Littman

Garry Littman est le fondateur de The Language House à Genève. The Language House propose des coachings d'anglais à Genève pour les particuliers et les entreprises, ainsi que des cours intensifs d'anglais dans les pays anglophones. Garry a été journaliste en Australie et en Asie, il a travaillé pour World Radio Switzerland.

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