For two years I avoided all colds, never mind COVID, as we sanitised our hands, masked up and observed social distancing, but the virus finally came knocking while on holiday which was less than helpful.
Trying to self isolate on a canal barge isn’t feasible.
I pulled the curtain across which separated our berth from the kitchen table, and crashed out as we pootered along the Cheshire canals at a sedate three miles an hour.
Windows were wide open for extra ventilation until we tied up next to a field which had been spread with particularly pungent muck. That’s when I wished my sense of smell had been wiped out.
Thankfully it was the last day of our holidays, but that still left the task of driving home up the M6 before crashing into COVID jail.
Hopes this would just be a day or two of feeling bleurgh quickly became three, then four and then a full week as I hacked and coughed my way round the house, at times fearing I may just explode and all that’d be left was a scrunched up, snotty tissue and a pair of slippers.
Ten days on and the cough still sounds brutal - the sort that could easily clear a room faster than any fire drill - and while the utter weariness still lingers, it has eased enough to make me feel human again.
I’m pretty sure my COVID experience was bang average, but it was still hellish.
Going through this without being vaccinated doesn’t bear thinking about.
Symptoms may be similar to the flu - and I guess we’ve all forgotten how debilitating that actually can be - but speaking to friends who have also been floored by COVID, you realise how wildly it varies from person to person.
One is three weeks into recovery and rates his health as “about 80%”, another warned of sudden drops in energy levels long after emerging from COVID jail.
Others had a day of two feeling rough and simply bounced back without any after effects - a picture which was the complete opposite of a friend who, only this week, gained the energy to go back to work. She had COVID at Christmas.
With me coughing and snotting like a fountain, it was no real surprise that my other half duly tested positive a day or two later, but with completely different symptoms - who knew COVID finger and toe were symptoms?
I’m grateful I didn’t need hospital treatment and, fingers crossed, the recovery is well underway after a week of feeling miserable while cooped up. I’m also grateful we swapped our flat for a house with a garden to get some much needed fresh air and sunshine while isolating.
But so many other people have suffered much worse and for much longer.
And when you hear their stories - and the damage this virus has had on their lives - you will never again listen to those ill-informed halfwits on social media who scoff “ach, it’s just the flu.”
Stay healthy out there folks. This ain’t over.