A-Z

Pooja

Brief Outline:

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: Indian
Background: Pooja is in her early 40s and is Indian. She is married with children and works for a security company. Pooja isolated in her bedroom when she had Covid in March 2020. This was a tough time for her because she had limited social contact and missed her son’s birthday party.

 

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Pooja felt like Covid was comparable to Ebola at the start of the pandemic. She understood that it was a serious virus that could cause death, but she felt like it was so far away from the UK that it would never effect her. As she puts it, “I thought it would be contained and blow over in a few months.” So, when the pandemic did reach the UK she was shocked. She also felt really sad because she had to cancel a series of events including holidays which she had planned for many months.
 
In March 2020, Pooja was grocery shopping and suddenly felt really unwell. She says she was tired and felt like everything was shutting down. Throughout the day, her illness became worse so she phoned the NHS 111 service. There were no testing kits at this point, the health professionals seemed certain Pooja had Covid. 
 
For the next three weeks, Pooja isolated at home. She says that she rarely let her family in her bedroom because she did not want them to catch the virus. This was a very hard time for Pooja as she had limited social contact, had little energy to do anything other than sleep, and was not able to eat. She was also upset because she could not spend much time around her son on his birthday. 
 
Pooja was concerned she would have to go to hospital. However, the doctors told her that under no circumstances was she allowed in the hospital unless she was unable to breathe. She was wondering whether she would have been able to access pain relief if she went to hospital, though she understood that if she was admitted she could possibly infect more people.

 

 

Pooja thought Covid-19 would be contained in a similar way to Ebola – she didn’t think it would affect the UK so dramatically.

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Pooja thought Covid-19 would be contained in a similar way to Ebola – she didn’t think it would affect the UK so dramatically.

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And, at that point, I didn’t really think anything of it. I thought, you know, you hear of these sort of things, I’d heard of Ebola and everything like that and thought, yeah, it was of course it was a very serious virus and it was so deadly. There’s so many implications to your health as well as like eventuality of death, but and how contagious it was but because it’s so far away and not in our wildest dreams, like in my wildest dreams anyway, did I ever think it would ever get to this country and affect us in such a way.

 

Pooja realised that when it got to France and Italy it was definitely coming to the UK.

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Pooja realised that when it got to France and Italy it was definitely coming to the UK.

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Like when it all started to really set in, the reality of everything started to set in when other countries such as like Italy and France and especially Spain as well started to report major cases and then there’s all of the deaths, the tolls of the death tolls kept coming in. And then like, oh my god, I couldn’t believe that it is it is actually starting to come to this country as well.

 

Pooja worried about her shopkeeper parents and found it a ‘godsend’ when mask-wearing became compulsory.

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Pooja worried about her shopkeeper parents and found it a ‘godsend’ when mask-wearing became compulsory.

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They were constantly busy. They were constantly stocking up. They were constantly trying to adhere to wear a mask constantly, when they were never used to that in their whole lives, you know. It was so difficult to get used to it and dad, trying to make dad realise about wearing a mask and gloves and everything like that, you know. It was, at first, before it was a government requirement, it was really hard because he was saying, “I’m not going to wear that. That’s silly. That’s really unnecessary.” And then, when it, he eventually did listen and then it became government requirement that you have to wear a mask. It was like a godsend. I was like “thank god, it’s actually official now, dad. You’ll get a fine if you don’t wear it.”

 

When Pooja had Covid, one daughter went to live with her parents and another daughter stayed at home.

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When Pooja had Covid, one daughter went to live with her parents and another daughter stayed at home.

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My younger, my middle daughter, she actually went across to go and stay with her granny and grandad. As soon as this all happened and we were going into a lockdown, it was announced that we were going into a lockdown, when I was in my room. She says, “I have to go and stay with granny and grandad.” Because her mental health was going to go down. Because we were all worried that they were going to be because my brother, he lives in [City]. So he couldn’t even travel to come and see mum and dad, you know. And we were so worried about how they were going to be because I was obviously, I was over it as well, I was out of action for almost six weeks. You know, so it was a godsend that she like my children are very close to my mum and dad so it was, my middle, my older daughter stayed home so she could be with my son when my husband was asleep because my husband works during the nights. So she was there for my son, for childcare. Because I was in my room the whole time. I couldn’t help at all with them. So my middle daughter went across and stayed the whole pandemic with mum the whole lockdown.

 

Pooja valued a group chat with her siblings and cousins as a way of checking in on older relatives.

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Pooja valued a group chat with her siblings and cousins as a way of checking in on older relatives.

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My brother, like we had a group chat going with all our cousins so we were all constantly in touch. And with my aunties, I was doing a video call with them once a week. Every Sunday, we’d all sit down and have our video call and just you know, see how everybody is doing, check in on each other and just make sure our mental health wasn’t affected, everybody was just and health keeping well.

 

Pooja felt her children had less immunity as they were not vaccinated.

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Pooja felt her children had less immunity as they were not vaccinated.

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My fifteen year old and my eight year old aren’t immune. I’m not immune but I, you know, they are not protected. They don’t have any type of protection right now because they’re not vaccinated.

 

Pooja was frightened about passing on covid to her daughter and husband.

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Pooja was frightened about passing on covid to her daughter and husband.

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I just locked myself in the room and never came out again. Because I just didn’t want even to take that risk of my daughter is asthmatic. My husband is, like I say, stage three liver fibrosis. If either of them get ill, they could go critically ill, you know. It was so frightening.

 

Pooja didn’t keep Covid a secret.

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Pooja didn’t keep Covid a secret.

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And we didn’t keep it a secret. I don’t think it was, I know that some people do, do that, do not tell anybody because they feel ashamed or they don’t want to have to isolate or whatever but that wasn’t, that’s not the stance I was taking.

 

Pooja caught Covid in March 2020. Her stomach was in pain from the intensity of throwing up.

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Pooja caught Covid in March 2020. Her stomach was in pain from the intensity of throwing up.

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The pain in your stomach from having thrown up so much, you know, the intensity of throwing up but nothing is really coming out. It was only just bile coming up and that was horrific because it was like the heart, you know, the heart burn and things because there was nothing but acid coming out your mouth, basically, stomach acid. And the same with like when I was like with my, I’m sorry, I’m going into like really graphic detail. Like, you know, with my diarrhoea because I was hardly eating anything. Obviously, I wasn’t eating anything. I was just drinking water and that was just like bile coming out as well and it was it was painful, you know.

 

Pooja felt really alone when she had Covid, but knew that the health system was under pressure at the time.

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Pooja felt really alone when she had Covid, but knew that the health system was under pressure at the time.

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It was, you just feel really alone, you know. You just feel, wow, you’re just a number at the end of the day. It really is a pandemic. Every man for himself type thing. Just get on with it no matter how much discomfort you’re in, but ultimately, I can see where they’re coming from. I can see that they were overwhelmed with people who were finding, had breathing issues and things like that.

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