Written by Pam Gosal

The sudden death of my father thrust me into the business world as a teenager. It was a life-changing moment as a woman that set me on a journey of independence and determination to feel in control and self-sufficient.

Marriage was never my top priority as I worked my way up the career and education ladder, but at the age of 39 I met my now-husband of seven years.

For the first time, our marriage vows of “in sickness and in health” were tested last month when my husband brought me back to full health as I battled COVID-19 from our home. 

I fell ill on March 13th, suffering from aching muscles, a fever with shivers and a sore head. I could barely move my head off of the pillow. My husband immediately moved out of our bedroom and kept well away from me. Although I didn’t realise it then, I desperately needed him to be strong and healthy for the storm ahead.

With the days ahead I lost my taste and smell and developed a dry cough. 

By day four I couldn’t stand without feeling dizzy and was told after calling the 111 number that I was almost certainly suffering from coronavirus.

I’d read that people had started to improve after five days but I seemed to just keep getting worse as I struggled to breathe.

My doctor immediately warned me to stop taking ibuprofen and only take paracetamol and sent me a pump with a chamber and liquid codeine to help my breathing.

By day six I could barely catch my breath and at 2am in the night my breathing got worse I started to panic that I was going to die. 

Within 20 minutes an ambulance arrived. I told them to stay away from me because they had no masks or gloves on, but they insisted it was their duty to help. It made me so sad they were putting their own health at risk to help me.  

After they carried out all the necessary tests, they confirmed my oxygen levels were lower than normal and advised on taking me into hospital, but I refused. It seems a huge gamble now, but I felt so scared that if I went into hospital I wouldn’t come back. 

The paramedics gave me some life-saving tips in a bid to reduce my temperature and control my breathing. Despite still feeling at death’s door, for the first time I felt a glimmer of hope that there was a chance I could pull through this. I cannot thank those two paramedics enough for everything they did for me.

It wasn’t until day 18 that I started feeling back to myself. When you’re at your lowest, it’s hard to imagine ever feeling back to normal again. Throughout all of this, I turned to my husband for help. It’s easy to forget those who remained healthy during this crisis and not stop to think how the other person felt looking after the coronavirus patient in isolation.  

My husband was my strength, he worked tirelessly everyday to make sure he did not miss my medicine times, ensured I was eating and drinking the right things and keeping the house clean.  Even now, after my eventual recovery, he still disinfects every little item that comes into the house over fears I could get sick again. 

Afterwards he told me that he was mentally drained everyday as he put everything into looking after and me and keeping friends and family up to to date with my condition. He couldn’t sleep at night worrying that I would stop breathing. He admits now he has been left traumatised by the fear I was going to die. 

He was meant to be travelling abroad for work when I fell ill, but as fate would have it he was there throughout the toughest time and I am so lucky he was as I wouldn’t have got through this on my own at home.

Without doubt the NHS and my husband got me through the worst days of my life and I can’t thank them enough.

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