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Beth

Brief Outline:

Ethnicity: White British
Background: Beth is in her 20s and is White British. She works in a care home. Beth says that it was difficult for care home residents during the pandemic. She says that she was not allowed to hug them and many were scared because of her PPE.

 

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Beth caught Covid in December 2020 while shopping. She found out about potentially having the illness through NHS Track and Trace. She says, that she got flu-like symptoms including coughing and sneezing. Beth remembers thinking “oh God it could be Covid.” So, she took a Covid test which came back positive. She explains, “You don’t really think it’s going to happen to you, until you get it [Covid].” 
 
Beth started to recover from Covid after about two weeks. Other members of her family were sicker, and her mum had to go to hospital. Beth says that her return to work was stressful because most of her colleagues were off sick with Covid. She says, “it was just me and my best friend… we jumped in and did everything we possibly could to help, we were doing 60 hours a week some weeks.”   
 
Beth says the hardest part of the pandemic was watching some of her care home residents becoming ill with Covid and sometimes passing away. She also says that when the Covid vaccine came out many of the residents had to wait, because they could not take it until twenty-eight days after having Covid. Beth says that another hard part of the pandemic was the lack of physical contact between herself and the residents. She says, “you just want to hug them, but you can’t. And they’re scared of you because you’re wearing all this PPE.”  

 

 

Beth found it very difficult to maintain reassuring eye contact and a smile when wearing PPE.

Beth found it very difficult to maintain reassuring eye contact and a smile when wearing PPE.

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We wore face masks and visors and I don’t know what they were called but we called them marshmallow suits. And I think that was more to just humour ourselves, because it was difficult for us as well. But we were wearing these big mush suits, white suits and gloves and aprons. Yeah they did, if you bend over they did split in half but you know, visors and masks and everything and it was just, they didn’t know who they were. Especially if you’re working with dementia. Working with dementia they, it’s hard enough as it is sometimes you know. Some days they just don’t know where they are, who they are, what they’re doing. And then to add on top of that the fact that the staff they’re normally seeing and getting used to and know you, are now covered in stuff that they don’t have a clue what’s going on. So it was very scary for them. I mean it wasn’t, it wasn’t nice for us, but I think for them it must have been awful to see us, but to not see us, if that makes sense. To not see us how they normally would see us. Because I mean, you could smile at them but they wouldn’t be able to see that you were smiling at them, because you’d have so much over your face, they couldn’t even tell by your eyes because you had your visor on, so yeah. It was very, very difficult. You just wanted to, and then you just wanted to get in there and give them a hug but you couldn’t, because you were terrified of what you could have given them or what you could have.

 

Beth describes being diagnosed with depression during the pandemic.

Beth describes being diagnosed with depression during the pandemic.

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But yeah it’s very difficult and then to come out of it the other side and think it’s over, but then you, it’s over, there’s no more Covid, you know there’s no Covid, but your mental health is very affected, is very affected by it so much like, I’ve been through so much in the last year that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do. You know I’ve come, I’ve recently been diagnosed with depression. My anxiety levels are really high at the minute because even though it’s gone, even though we are allowed to do things, normal things now within reason, it’s still very hard to go out and think “well you know, somebody, I could still catch it”.

 

 

Beth was worried about getting Covid and then passing it on to people she loved.

Beth was worried about getting Covid and then passing it on to people she loved.

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Myself personally I wasn’t, I wasn’t worried by it because I don’t really have any health problems that you know, could that would affect it really. But I was worried for like people like my nan and my best friend she’s very vulnerable. So people that, it wasn’t so much me getting it, it was me getting it and not knowing I had it and then passing it to all these people without knowing. That was what was more scary than the actual me getting it. Because I mean I couldn’t really, it doesn’t really matter, if I got it I got it, it wouldn’t really have affected me but my mum, she’s got lots of health problems, my nan, so does my best friend, and I see them pretty much every day. So it was very hard for me to sort of come to terms with the fact that yes, fair enough if I got it, but then if I got it I couldn’t go anywhere because I didn’t want anyone else to catch it.

 

 

Beth started getting flu-like symptoms and didn’t think anything of it. She then realized it might be Covid, so she took a test.

Beth started getting flu-like symptoms and didn’t think anything of it. She then realized it might be Covid, so she took a test.

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I started getting like flu-like symptoms, started to like get cough and sneezes and things like that, I didn’t think anything of it at first, and then I was like ‘Oh god it could be Covid.’ So I got a test done and it came back positive for Covid. But you don’t really know how to sort of say how you’re feeling when you get it because you don’t really think it’s going to happen to you, until you get it.

 

 

Beth didn’t want to keep re-living her Covid experience, so preferred not to tell people.

Beth didn’t want to keep re-living her Covid experience, so preferred not to tell people.

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I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. Because I thought to myself, you know, if I don’t tell this person and I’m not going to have to tell them in the future and you know and keep going on about it. I don’t want it to be a ‘oh my god they’ve had Covid,’ you know I don’t, I just want it to be done, over and finished with. And I just want to not think about it and you know, what’s done is done and it’s done. I don’t want to keep reliving it if that makes sense.

 

 

Beth described her ‘weirdest symptom’ as being ‘really gunky eyes’.

Beth described her ‘weirdest symptom’ as being ‘really gunky eyes’.

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Yeah so, I had like a cough. But it wasn’t like, it wasn’t constant, it was like a cough and but it kept coming and going. And then I had like a headache, a sore throat. My eyes were probably one of the weirdest ones I had, the weirdest symptom I had was I was getting like really gunky eyes. Yeah so, I didn’t really, I felt poorly but I didn’t feel as poorly as like other people were there.

 

 

Beth, who works in a care home, feels that she has done what she can by being vaccinated and hopes a reinfection wouldn’t be too bad.

Beth, who works in a care home, feels that she has done what she can by being vaccinated and hopes a reinfection wouldn’t be too bad.

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I just, I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s because maybe, I don’t really know. I mean, you can never say anything’s 100% [um], you can never say you know I’m 100% never going to get it again because it’s that, you don’t know that nobody knows that yet. And I think that’s probably, that’s just me sort of almost telling myself you know, I can still get it again, but if I do get it again, you know, it’s going to be a bit better because I’ve had the vaccines and I’ve got all this stuff against it now. So, I think I tell myself that to prepare myself, and if it doesn’t happen then brilliant, but if it does and I have that mindset of okay but you’ve got your vaccines and you’ve got your antibodies. And, so I think I’d prefer to think that I’m going to, you know, I might not ever get it again, fingers crossed. But at least I have the mindset of the fact that it could happen, happen again and if it doesn’t bonus.

 

 

Beth is often asked about her experience of Covid, but is unsure that it helps others because everyone’s experience is different.

Beth is often asked about her experience of Covid, but is unsure that it helps others because everyone’s experience is different.

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When me and my best friend got it, our first one, everybody had just come back from being off with Covid, so they obviously couldn’t get it. So, we were one of the first loads that could get it. So, everybody was sort of asking us what it was like, did it hurt and what was I feeling afterwards. And obviously I said it, to be honest with you, this is just how it was with me, with me it was fine. But I mean you could ask somebody else, and they could say they were poorly with it. But it really depends on you really and how you take it. So, I said I can’t really answer that question, but for me I’d rather have the vaccine twenty times a year, than have Covid again.

 

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