A-Z

Susanne

Age at interview: 47
Brief Outline:

Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White British
Background: Susanne is 47 and White British. She is married with three children. She works as a freelance consultant. Two of Susanne’s children caught Covid in March 2020, and then the whole family caught Covid about a year later. Susanne didn’t find the advice from the NHS very helpful, and spoke to an acupuncturist when she had Covid, who recommended a heavy dose of vitamin C via elderberry drinks. 

 

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Susanne’s eldest son and daughter were the first in her family to catch Covid in March 2020. This was a frightening time for Susanne because there was no test which could give her family a conclusive diagnosis, though the GP said that he was confident it was Covid based on the symptoms. Susanne was particularly worried about her son who had Covid, as he was ‘very poorly’ with it for two weeks. She says that a child in her local hospital had died of Covid and she was panicking that this could happen to her son.
 
The whole family fell ill with Covid around a year later, and Susanne found that ‘people were surprised that we were battling it again’. Susanne reflected it was ‘like running a ward but being ill yourself’ and that it was one of the hardest times for them as a family. She felt ‘absolutely wiped out’ from having Covid. Her husband recovered quicker she did. 
 
Susanne’s husband got quite ill after the first Covid vaccine, but was fine for the second one. Susanne was fine with both of them. She was very pleased to have the vaccine and felt like she had an extra layer of protection. She was also happy for her children to take the vaccine. 
 
Susanne is in touch with complementary health practitioners, who she felt provided more helpful advice about Covid than the NHS. When her family had Covid, she was advised by an acupuncturist to take zinc, vitamin C, and elderberry. Susanne is unsure whether this actually helped her Covid. She recommended rest as one of the best ways to recover from Covid, so ‘you’re giving your body the chance to heal’. 
 
Across the lockdowns Susanne and her husband tried to make ‘the whole experience of lockdown as positive as possible’ for their family. They went out on bike rides together and focused on making new family traditions. 

 

 

Susanne says that her family started new traditions during the pandemic including international food day.

Susanne says that her family started new traditions during the pandemic including international food day.

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We made the whole experience of lockdown as positive as it could be by making sure that, you know, we went, first lockdown we went out on bike rides every day. You know, food became really important; we all did our, all shared the cooking, we did a sort of international day once, once a week where we sort of spun the globe, chose the food and then cooked from it, you know, so we sort of started some family traditions which we wouldn’t have done otherwise. So I see that as being kind of quite positive overall.

 

Susanne saw women’s informal care responsibilities as contributing to their risk of Long Covid.

Susanne saw women’s informal care responsibilities as contributing to their risk of Long Covid.

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Long Covid is it because, you know, when somebody starts Covid they are, they’ve got a kind of long Covid strain or is it because they’ve got Covid and sadly then they’ve, life’s been busy, they’re looking after family whatever, you know, they haven’t had the time to rest. I think more women are prone to long Covid than men, you know, women to be honest are much more likely to care aren’t they for their family and put their energy into that rather than looking after their selves. That’s a generalisation but it’s often the way isn’t it.

 

Susanne was frightened when she thought her family had Covid but couldn’t confirm it through a test.

Susanne was frightened when she thought her family had Covid but couldn’t confirm it through a test.

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It was frightening, it was frightening. My, at that time we couldn’t do any of the testing, so we didn’t have that conclusive diagnosis. The GP said he thought it was highly likely it was Covid. My husband still isn’t convinced, I don’t quite understand that to be quite honest because it fitted all of the symptoms, it’s just that we didn’t have the conclusive test. But it was frightening, and it was particularly frightening because I knew that a, I knew overall, I knew that children are less likely to die from it but there was a 13-year-old in our local hospital who died from it.

 

An acupuncturist advised Susanne that taking vitamins would give her an immune system boost.

An acupuncturist advised Susanne that taking vitamins would give her an immune system boost.

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Anyway I also have a good network of complementary health practitioners so I got in touch with an acupuncturist I know, he gave me some advice and so I did all of these kind of immune health boosting, like seven days having things with zinc, vitamin C.

 

Susanne described taking care of her family when everyone was sick ‘like running a ward but being ill yourself’.

Susanne described taking care of her family when everyone was sick ‘like running a ward but being ill yourself’.

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There we were again, battling it again and I would say that this time was, you know, in terms of kind of managing it at home, it was a lot harder because all five of us were down with it at the same time. So, I was literally well [name], my husband got it last, so he was doing all the kind of meals and bringing them up to the children and myself. And then when I got it, you know, it was a case of, sorry when he got it, it was a case of, you know, literally going round all of the bedrooms, taking everyone’s temperatures. Then doing a Calpol run, then doing a fluids run, then doing the meals, then back to bed or whatever, you know, it was, it was like running a ward but being ill yourself, you know.

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