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Gertrude

Age at interview: 52
Brief Outline:

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: Black British
Background: Gertrude is 52 years old and is Black British. She works as a nurse in a care home. Gertrude thinks she caught Covid from a patient at work. Her faith in God helped her during this time.

 

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Gertrude was working overseas when the pandemic first happened. She had heard of a few cases in neighbouring countries but thought nothing of it. When she returned to the UK, there were a few cases in the neighbouring cities. This concerned Gertrude. She remembers thinking, “it’s a bit close.” Her son even rang her telling her to be careful. Nonetheless, she felt certain she would be okay.
 
Gertrude believes she caught Covid through her job as a nurse in a care home. At the time, she was looking after somebody with a severe cough. At first, she did not think the person had Covid because they were not running a high temperature. However, the next day Gertrude started to feel unwell. She initially put this down to tiredness, but when she returned to work and found out the person had tested positive for Covid she started to panic. 
 
Gertrude had a high temperature and body aches and pains. She says it was bad enough to take paracetamol, which is not something she would not usually do. Gertrude rang NHS 111 who said that she probably had Covid and to isolate. From then on, Gertrude’s symptoms got worse and worse, to the point where she could not get out of bed. She was determined not to go to hospital even if things became serious because she wanted to be near her sons. 
 
Gertrude tried to help her condition by using essential oils. She also says her faith in God helped her during this time.
 

 

 

Gertrude could see that Covid was getting closer to the hospital where she worked as a nurse.

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Gertrude could see that Covid was getting closer to the hospital where she worked as a nurse.

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Yes, I first became aware of it when it was in the news, that it was happening somewhere way out there in China and it was like oh it’s something like SARS and it might come but it might not get that close but yeah I was aware of it. And in December, in January actually I had travelled for missionary work. I went to Uganda and we heard about it then as we were doing our missionary work and it was like, it was not spreading and I came back, that was in January and you could hear it was coming closer but it wasn’t, it had not hit home yet, it had not hit England, so but later it did. And we heard a few cases in London and then as it was getting closer there were three cases in [location], I live in [location], so I thought oh [location] is a bit close, it’s a bit close to home, that was a bit scary [laughs]. My son was up [location] he was, he was at uni doing medicine and he kept calling me, mum you’ve got to be careful in the hospital, because I work as a nurse in the hospital, you’ve got to be very careful, but then I said oh no I don’t think it will be that bad, yeah that’s how I first got to learn of it. And it hit [location] and there were a few cases here and there then I thought this thing is definitely coming into the hospital, and yeah.

 

Gertrude thought Vitamin D had a role in why ethnic minorities were more affected by Covid.

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Gertrude thought Vitamin D had a role in why ethnic minorities were more affected by Covid.

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After Covid I did go and check them, they were very low, very, very low and so I had to load myself on Vitamin D and I would say especially ethnic minority people who don’t like taking tablets like that, taking supplements and all they’d rather just go, and I think that is one of the reasons why ethnic minority, we suffered more from Covid because of Vitamin D levels so that has to do, it strengthens your immunity if your Vitamin D levels are good so when it comes to you it would be like ahh that was the bad flu, when yours lower like mine were oh yeah [laughs].

 

Gertrude, a care home nurse, felt upset by how nurses have been treated through the pandemic.

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Gertrude, a care home nurse, felt upset by how nurses have been treated through the pandemic.

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So, care workers, there was a point in time we were being, oh how shall I put it, we’d go to the market, the supermarket they learn you’re a nurse. I had, it’s funny in the beginning we were heroes, from being heroes we were hated so much and that’s when we’re told never to wear a uniform in public because some nurses were beaten, abused, verbally abused and all because we were being fed that from the hospital it’s spreading Covid. We should live in the hospital, live in the hospital. So yeah, there was that period in time where we were looked down upon for doing what we do, then I’m thinking we’re saving lives, your families lives, so we can resign. We can all resign now and leave your families on their own, so I don’t know, it’s a funny world we live in. One minute everyone is clapping, the next minute everyone is stoning us

 

Gertrude preferred to be at home with her son than risk dying alone in hospital.

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Gertrude preferred to be at home with her son than risk dying alone in hospital.

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I got my pulse oximeter you know the little pulse thing which we, I’ve got one at home, I took my pulse it was 82. Now at 82 that’s very, very low, 82 that’s where they were taking people in the ambulance and taking them to the hospital but I had sort of made up my mind that I wasn’t going to go into a hospital. If I die I chose to die at home and the reason being me working in the hospitals, my friends in London working in the acute hospital would tell me that if someone went into hospital with Covid you as a family member who wants to find out about your relative you would hardly get to hear anything. Because I know, because I work in the hospital and the phone would ring, you don’t have time to pick up a phone and talk to the relatives. They’re asking how is my mum doing and how is my dad doing, how is my whatever doing, you don’t have time for that all you have time for is to care for those patients that you have. So I didn’t want my son sitting at home wondering whether his mum was, is still alive or whether she was dead. I wanted him to know if I die he knows I’m dead because he’s there with me, knows I’m gone. So that’s why I chose that I’m not going to go into the hospital but I know that I have reached a stage where I really would have been taken to the hospital.

 

Gertrude preferred ‘natural immunity’ to vaccines because of her experience of vaccine side effects in the past.

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Gertrude preferred ‘natural immunity’ to vaccines because of her experience of vaccine side effects in the past.

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How do I feel about vaccines, there’s a lot going on in the media about vaccines so I, I don’t know the things it’s made of and I personally don’t like vaccines. I had a vaccination, yellow fever vaccine in, about two years ago, my arm it’s still got the bump which is not supposed to be but the bump’s still there. Flu vaccines, the last flu vaccine I got I collapsed on the ward, so I don’t do very well with vaccines, every time I had the flu vaccine before I was very ill. And when I decided to not take the flu vaccine that year, I did get flu and so I thought no I’m not going to be taking them again. I stopped taking flu vaccines for about five years and I was fine, all those five years I never had flu, the sixth year I took the vaccine and that’s when I collapsed at work. So, vaccines for me are not something that I, I believe in like eating right, exercise and do, because the way our body’s made it’s made in such a way that it’s meant to repair itself, it’s meant to be able to fight if you give it the right things. For me vaccines are not the right things, the right things are the natural things to help us.

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