A-Z

Lyn

Age at interview: 45
Brief Outline:

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: Malaysian
Background: Lyn is 45 years old and is Malaysian. She worked as a mental health worker before she caught Covid. Lyn found the pandemic very difficult, as she was far from family and faced racial abuse. She thinks she contracted Covid at work even though she took extra precautions. Lyn's Covid was very severe, and she needed to be hospitalised. She now lives with long Covid.

More about me...

Lyn says that the pandemic was hard for her because her South East Asian ethnicity meant she often was the target of racial abuse. She says that this was made worse by people like the Donald Trump labelling Covid as the “Chinese virus.” She faced several racist attacks from people on the street, one of whom accused her of being “barbaric” and eating bats and dogs. She felt that she was “not in a position to challenge him”, and felt isolated from people who could help. Another time Lyn was on the train coming home from work and a man came up to her and said “you are not allowed in here, you have to get off the train.” In some cases, people stood up for her, which was a reminder that “there is still hope in this crazy pandemic”.
 
Lyn also struggled with being unable to see her family. Her Aunt who lived in Malaysia had passed away from Covid, and she was not allowed to attend the funeral due to the travel restrictions. Lyn is saddened that “nobody could say a proper goodbye”.
 
Lyn caught Covid in April 2020. She came home from work and started to feel like something was not right. She was unsure at the time if it was Covid because she was being extra careful to not catch it. For example, she would wear a mask at work and wash her clothes after work. However, her symptoms started to get worse. She developed a fever and her chest became tight. Lyn phoned her GP who confirmed that she had symptoms of Covid and needed to stay home.
 
Lyn felt “terrified” to be alone while she was sick, and at points worried that she would die. She suffered several falls, but none were considered serious enough for her to be taken to the hospital. Lyn felt “there was no help” at the time, and she struggled to access food and medication. She was given a food box, but found the contents unsuitable to her Asian diet. Lyn relied on help from a neighbor and from a Facebook group. After one of her falls, Lyn was admitted to the hospital for almost a month. 
 
Lyn has had ongoing health issues since recovering from Covid, including fatigue and hormonal issues. As a result of her long-term symptoms, she has not returned to work and now requires care support. Accessing and receiving care services has been frustrating, and Lyn has needed to actively seek them out. She reflects that: “if you don’t go to them, you are just a number in the system”. Lyn has found adapting to her new lifestyle difficult, and has been “grieving” being unable to continue in a job that she loved. She has found speaking to a Buddhist nun to be helpful, and appreciates those helping her get better at her own pace.
 

 

 

Lyn had two alarming experiences of racist abuse at the start of the pandemic.

Lyn had two alarming experiences of racist abuse at the start of the pandemic.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

Well, when we first heard of the pandemic from China, Wuhan, it was explosion all over the world and it does not help being an Asian person, especially even though you are not from China. You are from Malaysia, as I told you I am a Malaysian, and how it affects the South East Asian community is because of the labelling because, as you can see on television, the media, where Donald Trump says, “Oh, the Chinese virus.” You know, and this affect a lot of people, which is South East Asian, because some people, they can’t tell between a Korean, Malaysian, Chinese, Indonesian, Filipinos, Vietnamese. To some people, all of us looks the same to be Chinese. So this has affected when comes to daily life because I have experienced two xenophobic attacks before I fell ill in April. And one of them was when I was coming up from shopping and this man just walk up to me and say, “Hey, you know you Asian virus. You should not be here. You people are barbaric. You eat bats. You eat dogs.” And I said, “I’m not going to engage with you because please leave me alone.” And he came right in front my face like that, so close, so close that I can feel his breath and I just say, “Sir, just leave me alone.” And, basically, I just took a dash but he kept following me and I, basically, just ran for my life because no matter how big a man is, you will feel the power is stronger than you I am not in a position to challenge him because I am a woman and I live alone. I don’t have many friends nearby in England and most of my friends are living up in Chester, in Wales and that is not helpful. So the second time was when I finished my shift, I was back then working in a mental health rehabilitation centre. I just finished a twelve and a half hour shift supporting person with mental illness and, on my way home, I was sitting in front carriage and this man came up to me and he, basically, he said, “You are not allowed in here. You have to get off the train.” I was shocked because I had done nothing. “You need to get off. You cannot be in the same train with me.” And, luckily, another gentleman was just sitting the opposite side from me and he came up and said, “Sir, you’ve got to move back. You’ve got to leave her alone.”

 

Lyn who works in mental health used masks and sanitising wipes and sprays. She was sad and disappointed in herself when she found out she had Covid.

Lyn who works in mental health used masks and sanitising wipes and sprays. She was sad and disappointed in herself when she found out she had Covid.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I had a type of spray. I carry a spray, a mini one like this spray. In my backpack, I’ve got a hand gel, disinfectant wipe and three or four masks in my bag besides the one I have just in case I soiled them. So I will use spray everything down before I enter the house and before, you know, and I try my best but sometimes no matter, because there’s only so much you can do and that’s why I felt really sad. Disappointed with myself because I got Covid. Despite everything I done.

 

Lyn, a mental health worker, thought she was just tired from work and stressed about the pandemic.

Lyn, a mental health worker, thought she was just tired from work and stressed about the pandemic.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I just felt I’d been doing a lot of night shift and the level of exhaustion, a bit of breathlessness, lethargic and that feeling that I’m coming down with something, that kind of feeling, that doesn’t sit well, you know. Then my friend say, “You know what, Lyn, you’re doing too many night shift that’s causing you and also the stress from home and this pandemic and worry, that could be part of it.” But I just felt, yeah, stress, yeah, but maybe they’re maybe they’re right as when I went home, and then I feel a bit like I’m having fever, coming down with fever and then I just feel like chest tightness. I just feel very weak.

 

Lyn couldn’t get a home test and doesn’t drive. Nobody would risk catching Covid by taking her to the test centre.

Lyn couldn’t get a home test and doesn’t drive. Nobody would risk catching Covid by taking her to the test centre.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I tried to get a test. I couldn’t get tested. I remember the day that Matt Hancock said there would be a lot of tests available, I went onto the screen, the whole thing just crash right in front of me. I took a screenshot, sent it to my boss and I sent to the GP and said, “Can you not get me a kit? I can’t believe you cannot get me a kit.” So keep trying and there was nothing available. The home kits are available and I couldn’t, it took too long to go there because I don’t drive and nobody is willing to pick me up because I’ve got Covid to go to the to the centre, which I will then be exposed to other people and you are breaking the law for doing that.

 

Lyn lives alone and relied on support from family abroad and from the Malaysian diaspora in the UK.

Lyn lives alone and relied on support from family abroad and from the Malaysian diaspora in the UK.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I’m only blessed because my niece is a Director of Emergency Medicines in the US so somebody who is quite bright so that’s a good one, just happen to be luck. And the lady, Chinese doctor, happens to be on the global Malaysian network, which actually, she offered to help me so, basically, I am blessed. I’ve got people helping me because, as I say, I don’t know what to do. The doctors, they don’t take me to hospital. They left me at home with only rest, drink fluid, vitamin C, what else can I do? I’ve got no nurse helping me. I’m sick but not sick enough to go in. So I’ve got to find an avenue.

 

Lyn lives alone and struggled to get the support she needed. She got sent an emergency food box but it wasn’t appropriate for her diet.

Lyn lives alone and struggled to get the support she needed. She got sent an emergency food box but it wasn’t appropriate for her diet.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

So that was a problem because I couldn’t eat people’s emergency food box. Consideration needs to be done in terms of like the choice of dietary requirement of an Asian person because we eat things like more noodles, rice, tofu, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits. This is what I usually eat. So I had problem getting slot, of even getting food delivered but, thank god, some kind, nice people helped me.

 

Lyn experienced grief over no longer being able to do the job she loves because of her Long Covid symptoms.

Lyn experienced grief over no longer being able to do the job she loves because of her Long Covid symptoms.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

I’m a Buddhist, it helps me as well because the nun, we call them Maechi talks to me and helps me to cope with my illness and also, when you some religion, a positive enabler we each have non-judgmental. It helps because you don’t fear you’re judged and also not feeling that you are alone. Because when I got sick, Kübler-Ross or psycho Kübler-Ross of grief, stages of grief so there’s no one point that you are stuck in one. You always have different angles where you are at. When I got sick, I was not, I couldn’t acceptance. Acceptance was really difficult for me. I have the feeling of abandonment and grieving also because I love my job so much. I love working in mental health, right, and that makes it difficult for me because I didn’t, couldn’t, because abandonment because not getting the support that I want and also because of the gas lighting, those things in my head doesn’t help. That’s when you have your anger and then you say, “Why me? Why me? Why, I done so many good things, why is that I’m having this? What have I done wrong?” And that goes up in different level cycle and allowing myself to grieve and to accept. That is one thing that is important. They say to me, “I’m going to send you, there’s something wrong with you.” And they send mental health nurse talk to me but, in the end, the mental health nurse said to me, “You know what? I think you know more about this than me. You’re not a looney.” [laughs].“Yes, you’re going through some things but you don’t need medication or you’re not a looney, you don’t need to be, you know, you are right to feel those things.” And that’s why it’s important to have acknowledgement from people that it’s all right to not be all right.

 

Lyn feels that because she does not physically appear to be disabled or have a chronic illness that people struggle to believe she is ill.

Lyn feels that because she does not physically appear to be disabled or have a chronic illness that people struggle to believe she is ill.

SHOW TEXT VERSION
EMBED CODE
PRINT TRANSCRIPT

What did your mum say when you did eventually tell her that you were sick?
 

She was upset. She was hoping, basically, that it would not be true but she has accepted but it has taken some time to digest and because my aunt died from Covid.
 
Yeah. Was that her sister?
 
That’s her sister in law. So, basically, a year now I’m still not functional as much as I want to be and it just take time and she keeps saying, “There must be something else that can be done.” I say, “No, mum, it’s all up to me managing myself and me managing my medication and me being a part, we have limited capacity to do things and we have to accept that.” It’s very sad now because I am quite disabled. And I’m young. I’m not old.
 
I don’t look like a different person. It’s like a hidden illness which, because when you see a person or a person like me, they will say, how could possibly anything be wrong with you? An expectation of the community of perception of how disabled or chronic person will be. They have to look miserable. They have to look not well dressed, you know [laughs].They must have maybe a wheelchair on or drips or something, I don’t know. You know, that’s the kind of look they are expecting but when they look like somebody like me, they can’t put it together… that that’s how I am.

 

Previous Page
Next Page