Sputnik: Could you describe the symptoms you had and what was going through your mind before you tested positive for COVID-19?
Chris Brown: Before anything else, I had a slight cough. At first you just put it down to a cold or the time of year so I wasn’t worried at all. Then within a few days, I felt so fatigued I could barely get out of bed – my throat felt like I was swallowing knives and then my temperature became unbearable. I had been on public transport the week before and had been in the supermarket quite a lot so your mind starts working overtime, thinking about have I picked this up. It took about 5 days from these first symptoms before I started to feel truly awful. I knew I needed to speak to the NHS for advice but I could barely move let alone speak to anybody I think that’s when I knew I had contracted it.
Sputnik: How long did it take you to get a diagnosis for the coronavirus? Did you feel like you were waiting long for support?
Chris Brown: My friend who is a pharmacist advised me to phone the NHS immediately. I couldn’t have anybody come around and help me but I had friends and family sending me as much information as possible because as ridiculous as it seems I didn’t have the energy to look online for symptoms and what to do. I barely had the energy to read what they were sending me. I realised I had to phone the NHS and they couldn’t have been more helpful. I spoke them through my medical background and symptoms and they talked me through what I should do. That if my temperature spiked and went above a certain temperature I had to seek medical help. When that happened, I was told instantly to completely isolate myself for an absolute minimum of 14 days.
Sputnik: In your view what was the contact like between yourself and the NHS? Where there any problems or difficulties that you faced for example?
Chris Brown: The NHS are doing everything they can. I think the fact that people are clapping them on Thursday’s evenings speaks volumes for the work they are doing. They’re working so hard with the resources they have and I don’t know what else they could do. The advice they have given me has been extremely helpful and the guidelines they have given me to follow have helped a lot. I can’t begin to emphasise how important it is for everybody to isolate now and follow the rules that have been set in place for everybody. I have never experienced such a horrible illness and even now I’m still struggling. It’s not something that just goes away overnight. I fear that if people don’t heed the warnings that we have been given then the NHS will continue to be stretched and people will continue to die.