A-Z

Robert

Age at interview: 62
Brief Outline:

Gender: Male
Background: Robert is 62 years old and is Black Caribbean. He is married, with children, and works as a community nurse. Robert thinks he caught Covid from visiting a patient at home who was later diagnosed with Covid. He remembers thinking that he was going to die from Covid.

 

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When Robert first heard of Covid he was quite worried because of his job working within the community. He says that him and his team were not receiving the information that they needed. They did not have access to Track and Trace and were unsure who in the community had Covid. Robert was worried that he could catch Covid and bring it home to his family.
 
Robert caught Covid in January of 2021. He says that he was visting a patient at home who had to go to hospital for further monitoring. Later that day, Robert was told that the patient had Covid which sent off alarm bells because Robert was not wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) at the home visit. He also learned that the patient’s son, who was upstairs at the time, also had Covid.
 
A week after visitng this patient, Robert developed a continuous cough and his throat was very sore. He tested himself with a home kit which came back positive for Covid. Robert tested his wife and son who both also tested positive. The family decided to isolate at home during this time and asked their daughter to deliver food and other necessities to their front door.
 
Robert remembers thinking that he was going to die from Covid. He explains that his symptoms were quite severe, he had no appetite for food, he was vomiting a lot, and could not breathe. As he puts it, “I had to gasp for breath at times and the experience became worse and worse.” Robert also had some unsual symptoms such as a sensitive head and excessive sweating. He still had some symptoms, like a tight chest and night sweats, at the time of interview.

 

 

Robert had a sore throat and decided to check if it was Covid. He was positive, and so were his wife and son who had no symptoms.

Robert had a sore throat and decided to check if it was Covid. He was positive, and so were his wife and son who had no symptoms.

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But when I got this when I got this feeling of soreness and so on, I said to my wife, “well, let me just check, you know, and see what’s going on,” and it turned out that I, it was positive [laughs]. So, then I tested my wife, and she was positive and then my son, he was positive [laughs].

 

Robert felt that speaking out about having Covid was important for challenging stigma and getting support.

Robert felt that speaking out about having Covid was important for challenging stigma and getting support.

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No, I actually spoke with both my manager, I spoke with some of my colleagues, those that I felt that I needed them to know that I have it. I spoke with my local church, everybody that I had it, so I didn’t have that stigma of people looking at me in a certain way stigma and saying, ‘He’s got it we need to stay away from him’, or what have you, no. That stigma, I didn’t feel those things. But it’s out there, people tend to be more silent and private and internalise those things. I’m not one of those kind of persons. I, I think that speaking out about it was important for me anyway. It bring, it brought awareness. It also brought people closer to me that reached out to me that probably would not have done that before…

 

Robert caught Covid in January 2021 and sweated a lot through his fever. His wife likened his hot flushes to the menopause.

Robert caught Covid in January 2021 and sweated a lot through his fever. His wife likened his hot flushes to the menopause.

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The fact of the bed being so wet at night, having to have all these sweat, these showers and then I said to my wife, ‘you know, I’m experiencing also this, these hot flashes,’ you know, and she said to me, ‘Well I think you’re having a menopause.’ [laughs]. And it would go from cold to hot, hot to cold and that’s, I know my body was going through some changes I was not aware of.

 

Robert caught Covid in January 2021. He vomited a lot and found it hard to breathe.

Robert caught Covid in January 2021. He vomited a lot and found it hard to breathe.

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I lost any kind of appetite for food and the smell of certain foods made me vomit. So, I was vomiting and vomiting even though I had not eaten and the vomit would seem to have my, my internal organs, just seems to be tight and, and, and it was hard to breathe. I had to sort of try to gasp for breath at times and the experience became worse and worse.

 

Robert felt that too many different people were giving him advice while he was ill so switched off his phone.

Robert felt that too many different people were giving him advice while he was ill so switched off his phone.

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Oh yes. I have so many, actually had to, I literally turn off my phone and decide no I’m not going to allow people to invade me and people actually calling you, “Have you tried what I give to you?” you know you feel, well there came a time where I had to say to them, “oh right listen I’m sorry but I didn’t try that, and I will not try it. This is the reason why I’m not trying it” [laughs]. You know, because everybody’s like, “No but that one is not right, this one works. This, my grandmother, or my grand…” oh my god it was just going on and on and on.

 

Robert gave up on ‘strange mixtures’ because he wanted to let his body fight Covid.

Robert gave up on ‘strange mixtures’ because he wanted to let his body fight Covid.

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So you’re boiling the ginger, you’re boiling the garlic, you’re doing everything some people come up with some strange, strange mixtures, you know, and I just had to look, decide forget all those things please because they’re not working, and no matter how much ginger I took my throat was still the same way, you know, and just stick with trying to allow my body to fight it.

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