England

Coronavirus: Stories of self-isolation

Alison Cameron Image copyright Alison Cameron/LDRS
Image caption Alison Cameron was diagnosed with Covid-19 on 5 March

A woman self-isolating with coronavirus says she feels like "death on legs", while another family describes the stress of being stuck inside waiting for test results.

Alison Cameron, 53, believes she contracted the virus after a chance meeting with someone who was later diagnosed with it.

"I had a respiratory tract infection that got a great deal worse. I was finding it hard to breathe," she said.

"I feel really unwell. I am currently in isolation. It is not pleasant. At the heart of it I feel like death on legs."

Ms Cameron, from London, contacted NHS 111 and was tested on 5 March. She received a positive result four days later.

'Really scary'

"It's a horrible feeling not being able to go out and it is quite frightening," she said.

Ms Cameron, who once worked in international relations, is currently on benefits due to poor health and said she was finding it costly to order in food.

"I worry about what people would do if they have to use food banks," she said.

Ms Cameron said she had read five novels in five days and friends had been phoning to help keep her spirits up.

But she said it could still be a lonely and "really, really scary" experience.

Image copyright Nana Varveropoulou
Image caption The Meyer family are self-isolating and awaiting coronavirus test results

Phillip Meyer said an ambulance arrived at his Kent home nine days after he called NHS 111 when he and his son developed coughs following a trip to Italy.

"A woman came in dressed in what looked like a hospital gown covered with green plastic, gloves, a face mask and a visor over her head," he said.

"She took mouth and nose swabs and said we have to wait 72 hours for the results.

"If we have had coronavirus then the symptoms have been very mild."

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption The Meyer family returned from skiing in Italy on 24 February

Mr Meyer said his wife was verbally abused by a patient in a doctors waiting room.

"When my son and I were asked to self-isolate, NHS 111 were quite explicit that my wife could continue with a pre-arranged doctors appointment," he said.

"As a point of courtesy she let the receptionist know that my son and I were self-isolating. The receptionist leapt back from the glass window and said she shouldn't be there.

"The practice manager came out and told her it was fine but another patient was swearing at her saying if she effing killed her child she would effing kill her.

"So we took a decision quite early on to self-isolate the whole family."

Mr Meyer said he had found some elements of staying at home difficult.

"The children think it's great but it's hard to get them to understand that they can't play Xbox all day. We are trying to get them to work so that's quite stressful.

"I'm a very active person. I do a lot of cycling and about 15,000 steps a day so it's frustrating just being around the house all day.

"I've got an indoor bike and it's one of the only things keeping me sane," he said.

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Media captionYork student self-isolating in parents' caravan after returning from northern Italy

Leah Scott is self-isolating in a caravan on her parents driveway after returning from Bergamo, a high risk area of Italy for coronavirus.

She had been teaching English in a school as part of her languages degree at the University of York.

"I booked my flight home and one hour later Ryanair announced it was the last one so I was so relieved that I managed to get back," said the 20-year-old from Leeds.

"I rang my parents and we made a plan for them to get the caravan ready for me because our house is small and we share bathrooms.

"It's hooked up to electricity and water, I've got a fridge freezer and cupboards which my parents stocked up before I arrived. My mum made me a beef stew and left it outside.

"I like my own company so I don't think it's going to bother me too much.

"I've got lots of uni work to do and I've got books, wi-fi and my art stuff. I am trying to look at it as an artistic retreat."

Image copyright Paul Fennemore
Image caption Paul Fennemore said he was trying to stay busy to avoid cabin fever

Paul Fennemore, a university lecturer from Oxfordshire, said he and his wife had decided to self-isolate after returning from a ski trip in Italy.

So far neither of them had any symptoms and were coping well with staying in the house.

"What we are not coping very well with is the conflicting advice," he said.

"The NHS said we didn't have to self-isolate, then the Foreign Office site said we do, so we just decided to apply common sense."

Mr Fennemore said he and his wife could work from home and had ordered their grocery shopping to be delivered.

"I cleared out a big cupboard yesterday and I might do some decorating, but I imagine after another 10 days we might start getting cabin fever."

Image copyright Paul Fennemore
Image caption Paul Fennemore and his wife Aly had been skiing in Italy
Image caption York Central MP Rachael Maskell is working from home

York Central MP Rachael Maskell said she had been told to self-isolate until 19 March as a result of a meeting she had with health minister Nadine Dorries who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

"I'm great in myself," she told BBC Look North. "This is the frustration, it all feels a little surreal when you are asymptomatic, you're not showing signs of a cough or an aching chest or a temperature, you're feeling fine."

Ms Maskell said she had "shifted her work online".

"Yes it's an inconvenience, but nothing compared to the spread of coronavirus."

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