MyLocalNews editor-in-chief Nik Allen has opened up on his COVID-19 experience to show people that despite the seemingly endless negativity in the news, many sufferers do recover.
April 2020 will be a month Nik will never forget – it began with a rush to hospital, complete exhaustion and ceaseless coughing fits, and is now ending with a new lease of life and an immense appreciation for the NHS heroes.
After spending nine days at home fighting what was initially believed to be bronchitis, Nik was finally diagnosed with coronavirus on April 3. Five daunting days in Watford General Hospital then followed, where, at his worst, the 59-year-old “truly feared my time could be up.”
Nik said: “The point of sharing my story isn’t to induce more fear and dread to readers; it’s to show that I have suffered at the hands of coronavirus – but, like so many others, I’ve also overcome it.”
Nik then took us back to his lowest points in hospital: “I got to a stage in the second or third day where I literally couldn’t move a muscle, or else I would have a coughing fit that could last anywhere between five and 45 minutes.
“I was exhausted, reliant on an oxygen mask and honestly, scared. It wasn’t just the symptoms – it was being in hospital and seeing what everyone else was going through at the same time.”
It was more than just the treatment that got Nik through to the other side; it was the nurses who sat with him day after day, holding his hands through the coughing fits and whispering words of encouragement.
“I could write a thousand words on how astounding our NHS is, from being whisked to Watford General in the back of an ambulance to the brilliant nurses who wiped my brow and held my hand, the doctors who gave me hope, and now, the after-care I am receiving back at home.”
He added: “Mostly, my flirtations with what was a terrifying experience has led me to view life a little differently. Yes I still want to publish magazines, work hard and have that feeling of success and satisfaction; but there is another, emerging part of me that actually wants to stay a little more in the present… to spend time self-reflecting on getting a better work/life balance, to enjoy things around me, and perhaps even hold back on the next project.
“Life is precious, and there is nothing more important than it.
“For that reason, I need to impress on everyone how much we must stay strong and carry on. As a nation, we have united like never before in peacetime, and having seen the desperate darkness of this pandemic from the inside, I can’t tell you how vital it is to keep going, so the hope of returning to normal can grow.
“I count myself so lucky to be here, but only social distancing, self-isolation and taking responsibility for our hygiene will help us see this thing through, so please, we mustn’t let up.”
Nik has now been retested for COVID-19 and the results have come back negative.