I dodged Covid for the past two years... then it got me

Having avoided Covid-19 for the past two years, EIMEAR HUTCHINSON finally tested positive. Here she shares her family’s experience and what she’s taking from it
I dodged Covid for the past two years... then it got me

Eimear tested negative on the Monday morning, but positive that evening. Symptoms were mild, but came on within an hour. Picture: Stock

I HAVE to laugh, I spent the last two years doing a relatively decent job of avoiding Covid but, alas, it eventually caught me and right at (what appears to be) the bitter end!

To be frank, it has felt almost inevitable lately that we were eventually going to catch it. In a way, there was a small sense of relief now that we have gotten it over and done with and came through it unscathed.

I, perhaps like many others, was very nervous about catching Covid during the last two years, I haven’t been as nervous in more recent months as this latest variant has proven to have less of an impact on people.

However, I was fretful at the thoughts of catching it and getting really sick but still having four small children to mind.

Those nerves drove me to spend the last two years living rather conservatively to be honest. My social life has been quiet, I chose not to go out unless I really felt the need, so most week-end nights were spent at home. I let my world revolve around my girls, sticking to being involved in their sports or activities, and giving them all the opportunities they deserved.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a total recluse, I always made time to have coffee with friends - I would do that even if the world was falling down around me, some things are simply non-negotiable. I made those choices happily in light of the world we were living in, I wouldn’t say I am big on going to pubs so I didn’t really feel like I was missing out.

Anyway, despite my best efforts, it got me, so perhaps the nerves were a waste of time, but they do say hindsight is a great thing. I have no idea how or where I got it, I was negative on a Monday morning and positive that evening. Symptoms, albeit it very mild thankfully, came on within about an hour on Monday evening and I tested positive about two hours later.

A testament to my low-key lifestyle is that I had no close contacts after the weekend, the only person I had to message was a friend I had met for a walk outside and she was fine.

Rightly or wrongly, we made the decision if it came into the house we weren’t going to isolate from each other (although by the end of the first week I was a little bit sorry I hadn’t been banished to my room!). So Covid whipped around the house quickly, those that ended up catching it got it within a few days of me, and my husband never got it, I still can’t quite fathom that one! The girls didn’t have a single symptom between them which was fascinating and relieving in equal measures.

The highlight, if I can call it that, was the kindness of friends; the offers to do our shopping, calls to see if we needed milk, there were freshly-baked cookies dropped at the gate for the girls one day and seeds another day for us to plant, keeping us busy and productive.

We had plenty of video calls to keep in touch with friends and family and that was great to keep the spirits up.

I don’t know what is socially acceptable to admit around Covid, but I do feel like I am relieved to have gotten it out of the way. I can relax and enjoy meeting people now, before this if I visited people, especially friends that are vulnerable, I was haunted by a sense of dread for days after, hoping that I hadn’t got it and spread it to them without knowing.

We have a few trips booked this year and the relief that we can look forward to seeing places and people we haven’t seen in a long time is really uplifting. In the past there was a shadow hanging over such events, I was worried we would catch Covid in the lead up to a trip away and have to cancel plans.

I also feel infinitely more comfortable going into places - before, queues in shops would have made me feel a bit uncomfortable and I never went anywhere without a mask.

Covid is a strange virus though, the impact it can have on people is so varied that it is still something we should protect ourselves against. Even though the pandemic as we know it seems to be abating, the long term impact of Covid will possibly be something we continue to see over the next few years.

I, for one, hope this is the last article I write about Covid! I started this column just before we went into lockdown and almost exactly two years later it feels apt that I close out this chapter on the pandemic in sharing my experience of catching it and of moving on from it. I am looking forward to living, hopefully a more sociable life now.

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