Resistance is futile as the tagline of Star Trek Next Generations strongest enemy the Borg pronounced. My resistance has perhaps has been one more in my mind. Never wanting to be a burden, being self sufficient and not a blip on people’s radar. Why be someone’s else’s burden? Someone else always needs the help.

The body and mind can only take so much. A combination of covid, mental stress and a unexpected physical toll took my wheels out from under me sending a tumble to the ego. Been endeveouring to get some time off work for months. Holidays cancelled and left in limbo with relationships faltering. Colleagues also expressing their own difficulty, with myself the burden of pressure to see them right. The resistance too much to handle. Dare say, as manly men we rarely discuss when we are not achieving. The drudge of “moving forward”. “Doing better” and getting through the next.

Frustrations of home life, the partners countless hours staying up all day and night with, everyone but the people who are important. Throwing ones time into work to gain a little more capital and little victories to make it all more bearable. Clocking the hours took the toll, as exposure to the virus of covid. That Sunday challenged with tasks of securing deliveries and completing extra jobs to make it all run just a little more efficient. Little knowing that a virus was going to work hard on my body. Tight chested, sweating and the struggle to breathe. Inventory tasks across the shop floor and pulling delivery for the night team to have a successful evening. Breaking down of pallets to cages. There were points on the store floor, could quite easily have collasped,lifting stock down from the top of the shelves. gasping for air. Again that mental futile resistance of not putting it out there to others to finish. Was too much, the inability to function. I handed over to the other section leader, that I really have to leave. I’m not even sure in hindsight how I got home. I booked for a covid PCR test via nhs119/111 service the following day. 12 o’clock comes around, I’m barely able to stand. Yet I get myself to the Duke Street testing centre.

Already a new powerful burden, of expected to be at work yet this is too much. Because everyone is so short on resource. That expectation of keeping the rat ball rolling is powerful. Tuesday morning, the confirmation of a positive PCR covid test gives room if anything a momentary rest bite. Here’s a text and an email confirmation, you need 10 days self isolation.

Treat yourself with over the counter medicines. Plenty of water, hot lemon water and even the death defying horrid taste of homemade quinine. How to move on from covid as quickly as possible. Paracetamol and stronger acting day/night capsules. A drop of supplies from friends and family. Warming.

Felt weaker by the day, getting up to the bathroom made genuinely hard having to stop often. A distance of maybe 10-12 metres. Unable to get to the kitchen. To prepare food or get refreshment. Sylvia’s own health, now coughs herself coming down with the ‘rona. I’ve been on the phone to nhs111 few times over the week. Being pragmatic, I’m like I need oxygen. Amazon selling cannisters, my hand forced to take control. By the By the Thursday, even my patience for the on the phone questionnaires and call back had worn thin. Was tasked by nhs111 to go to my local GP office and get an oxygen and heartrate monitor. Make notes over the weekend. So I did. Tracking progress. Regular readings of 65 oxygen and a heartrate going up to 140.

A recorded reading as little as 58 oxygen. Monday morning, so physically tired and ill, another call to nhs111. After telling them some of the stats, paramedics were dispatched to confirm. Indeed as Tony, one of the paramedics said. They should have send us days ago, at 50 oxygen you could have been dead. He was in quite some disbelief and took pictures of the monitoring I had been doing.

Taken to Nottinghams city hospital, Intensive care unit. Was told in no uncertain terms by man dressed in what can only be described as a space suit. That covid is no joke, there’s a number of options one indeed is to have me sedated and forced to breathe via tubes. A mask was then attached, forced into and around the mouth. Latched up. Forcing maximum oxygen into lungs keeping them full. Was moved to Critical care for around the clock monitoring. To lay on chest prone as the lungs extend backwards to give the best chance of working through. 2 canulars attached and also a arterial line deep into the left wrist.

Breathing. Just.

To describe the bed, is one of utter discomfort. Made up of horizontal rectangular sections, each of which breathed and moved on it’s own. With most on the critical care sedated. A fear of bed sores is present. So the bed constantly breathes. Not good if you’re wide awake and are face down. Pushing deep into the chest. All night up and down. Ride of a lifetime!

The messages of kindness, support and warmth have made the pain worth feeling. Knowing meaningful connections exist.