We are thankfully seeing more colleagues recovering from Covid-19 like consultant surgeon Thangadorai Amalesh, 49, who is also Divisional Director for Surgery. Here he shares his story of overcoming coronavirus thanks to his family, team and other colleagues across the Trust.
“I had Covid-19 symptoms about four weeks ago. It started with a fever and a bit of a cough for a couple of days and then I got tested. It was a worrying time, like anyone else I was anxious and a little fearful about the outcome, especially when hearing other people’s stories and seeing the impact on patients.
“Unfortunately, my wife and seven-year-old daughter subsequently got Covid-19. It did make me feel guilty as I’d given it to them, but luckily my daughter was only ill for a day and completely recovered with no issues. It took a little bit longer for my wife but she also recovered in about a week.
“For me it was a much more difficult experience, there were times when I was extremely scared because of my symptoms. The virus stayed with me for two weeks, but it was the post-viral fatigue that was extremely difficult to deal with. It really hit me for six. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced any illness as bad as this.
"I was getting a cough and fever, and subsequently developed shortness of breath. I also got some lung issues which was scary as you don’t know if it will get worse. At the same time I didn’t feel it warranted me getting admitted, but it was close. I was one of the lucky ones who pulled through this, without having to come to hospital.
“The impact for my family was quite difficult, especially as they saw me at a really tough time over a 24-hour period when my symptoms became really bad.
"It was tough for them to watch. I also come from India so my wider family could hear about what was going on but were not able to see me which was traumatic for them. That was difficult because they didn’t know how things would evolve. Using social media certainly helped but it was still quite difficult. We are all glad that this is over now.
“A lot of people gave us a tremendous amount of support right across the NHS. Colleagues were willing and ready to help in all sorts of ways. This really brought out my good spirits that other people were willing to fight alongside you, and wanting to help. That made me feel good.
“I’m so grateful that I’ve come out of it and I’m now back at work. I’ve been taking it easy and there’s been no pressure placed on me. I’ve been given enough time to recover and slowly ease myself back in.
“It is an anxious time, there’s no doubt about it. We’re all working this through. Covid-19 is a new thing, and we all deal with things differently. We need to allow people to have those anxieties.
"The biggest thing that we have is the ability to talk to another person. My advice for colleagues is keeping it to yourself is not good, please speak to other colleagues about whatever is worrying you. Even if you’ve been unlucky to get symptoms, you will recover from most of them.
“Even if you have to be admitted to hospital, most people will be discharged and go home. However we have seen many healthcare workers not make it through and that is difficult to take. They certainly are our heroes for what they’ve been through.
"As staff we should ensure our wellbeing is good, so speak to members of your team and other colleagues. If you develop symptoms speak to your line manager and Occupational Health, get yourself tested and follow all national guidelines.
“Most of all, we are like one big NHS family and it’s this that will help get you through.”