Why COVID-19 has me in a panic

Peter Gibson ANTRUK announcements, Coronavirus COVID-19

Our friend and supporter Lisa Jones, who is already living with an underlying chronic lung condition, has more reason than most to be panicking about COVID-19.

“These are scary time for everyone. The coronavirus and lockdown have caused us all to have some type of anxiety with not knowing fully what’s going on and how long the crisis will last.

But for people like me who already have underlying health conditions, the thought of catching coronavirus is frightening.

Life-long battle

I have a chronic lung disease, where just 20% of my lungs work – and that is on a good day. And so, since the 22 March, I have been in total lockdown living in my bedroom. I was social distancing before that, with minimal contact. I haven’t seen anyone and that includes my parents, whom I live with and who are still working.

Caught cold

To illustrate how much damage the coronavirus can do to me, I think back to November last year when I caught a cold. For many of you, it is a dose of rest and plenty of liquids that will cure you. For me it was three days in hospital, as my cold turned to pneumonia.

That was stressful enough, and I think you can imagine how worried everyone becomes when I so much as cough.

If I do get a bacterial infection due to someone having a cold or through my feeding tube site, it takes hold of me very quickly. It makes me desperately ill in a short space of time. I have an emergency pack of steroids to ease my breathing and antibiotics. But, I have noticed that over the years they are not as effective as they once were.

I take them at the very first sign of an infection, but it takes at least two different courses to get rid of a chest infection. The tube infection I acquired never really goes away fully and I have to take really strong antibiotics which make me feel really sick.

The drugs don’t work

What happens if those antibiotics run out? I would imagine every patient in the world treated for serious COVID-19 symptoms, will be taking them to clear up infections.

Antibiotic Research UK’s Patient Support programme has helped me greatly and along with them, I worry that soon antibiotics won’t work at all. I have already had sepsis back in 2016. I can’t have surgery to fix my tube site, as I would need sedation and an anaesthetic. That means I would not be able to eat as my tube is the only way I receive food and I wonder if I might not pick up another infection anyway.

The challenge

I hope every day for a new discovery of antibiotics. I am doing my part by being a good self-manager of my conditions. Medical science needs a lift to find a new cure not just for Coronavirus but for the kind of antibiotic resistant infections that have affected my life, but I am determined, will not ruin it.”

Get support

Lisa is one of many patients currently being encouraged and cared for by our Patient Support programme.

If you are panicking about COVID-19 and antibiotic treatments, go to our Patient Support pages, email patient.support@antibioticresearch.org.uk or telephone 07367 784114.