As you may know by now I have recently had Covid for the first time, and I’m still recovering. As someone who is considered Clinically Extremely Vulnerable I was told that I could access the extra treatment available for Covid. However, joining a conversation on Twitter I found that it wasn’t so easy as it should be and I have decided to share my experience in case it helps others.
Covid is No Longer a Threat!
Most people are able to get on with their lives and go about their day without the threat of Covid hanging over them. Many people have already had Covid at least once. A lot of NHS workers have been hit the most. The vaccinations have helped most sufferers get through Covid with nothing more than cold and flu symptoms. My husband and son both caught Covid the same time as me and were poorly for no more than a few days. I have had four vaccinations and Covid hit me like a truck and nine days later I still feel poorly.
Vaccinations have helped but they don’t stop you from catching and spreading Covid. Some people just don’t realise this.
Some people cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and are still at risk.
Certain people are still high risk from Covid, even after vaccinations. That is why the extra treatment exists. This is in the form of anti virals. Nirmatrelvir, ritonavir, remdesivir and molnupiravir are antiviral medicines. Sotrovimab is a biological medicine. It is also known as a neutralising monoclonal antibody (nMAb). These treatments can help some people manage their COVID-19 symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill.
But How do you access these treatments?
How I Accessed Sotrovimab
I have been given PCR test packages in the past which I’ve been told to use if I believed I had Covid. But I was lucky not to get it early on. A few weeks ago I had my fourth vaccination but I caught Covid before it had chance to protect me. My first symptom was a complete lack of smell and it just felt wrong. I had a really tight chest but I put it down to anxiety as I’d been having a really difficult time. Then came the sickness, along with my youngest. We were both sick all night. I thought his might have released the tightness in my chest but it only made my throat sore too. I had the most dreadful stomach ache, really high in my tummy. My head was banging and ears ringing. My husband tested positive for Covid so I did a test and it was negative. The next day my sinuses and ears were hurting and I ached all over. A second lateral flow test came back positive.
I wasn’t sure what to do so I just filled in my details on the NHS Covid app. The one that was supposed to be for track and trace but never really worked properly. Within an hour I had a phone call. I was asked a lot of questions about my symptoms which I could barely answer because of my sore throat and shortness of breath. They told me they had to speak to a doctor but would call back. I got a call back and the next day I was in hospital receiving Sotrovimab.
According to the NHS website the Covid treatments are available to anyone who has been admitted to hospital with Covid symptoms that are getting worse instead of better. You can also get them if you are considered Extremely Vulnerable.
There is a list of people who are vulnerable:
- Down’s syndrome, or another chromosomal disorder that affects your immune system
- certain types of cancer or have received treatment for certain types of cancer
- sickle cell disease
- certain conditions affecting your blood
- chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
- severe liver disease
- had an organ transplant
- certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
- HIV or AIDS and have a weakened immune system
- a condition affecting your immune system
- a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis)
I qualify under the last one, a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves.
The doctor decided, probably depending on your existing condition, or current symptoms, which medication you should receive. Anti-virals are generally in tablet form and can be delivered to your home. I was chosen for the infusion.
Having the Sotrovimab infusion
I was taken to a local (ish) hospital for my treatment. On arrival I had my blood pressure, temperature and pulse checked. And then I was transferred to an infusion chair. As someone who has regular infusions this was quite normal for me, but basically the chair is a recliner chair which allows you to relax while the infusion takes place.
The nurse put a cannula in my hand. If you have never had a cannula before, it’s not a bad experience for most people. A tiny tube is placed in your vein and the taped into place. Then the infusion can be made straight into your blood stream.
I had 10 minutes of fluids pushed through, and the nurse made me a cup of tea and gave me some ginger biscuits. Then the Sotrovimab was pushed through. It took around thirty minutes. I felt nothing. Afterwards I was given another twenty minutes of fluids and another cup of tea. Then it was over. The cannula removed and yet another cup of tea offered. I had to wait a further thirty minutes under observation before being sent home. The nurse remained with me the whole time.
Afterwards I felt a little nauseas but not too bad. Within 12 hours I felt the tightness in my chest begin to ease and I could breathe better. I did cough a lot more and my symptoms became much more cold/flu like.
Recovering from Covid
I say I’m nine days into Covid because that’s when I had my positive test, but my symptoms started about eleven days ago. I think I felt my worst around the third and fourth days, but then I had my treatment and things started to change. I have slept a lot, the fatigue has been relentless. The pain was incredible both in my chest, stomach and all over. My nerves were on fire even more than during my worst flare ups. I still have fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough, runny nose, sore eyes, and aches and pains, but I do feel better than I did before the treatment. So, I do think it helped me a lot. Now, I’m getting to the stage where I’m just fed up of being sick. (If that’s possible as I’m always sick, but being sick on top of being sick is just a bore.)
As, I said before, I’ve heard that some people have had difficulty accessing these treatments and I know I was extremely lucky to be assessed and treated so quickly. Maybe it’s a postcode lottery with available hospitals. (I didn’t go to my usual hospital, but I live in a big city with many hospitals.) But, if you do feel like you are not coping with your Covid symptoms or you are on the list then do please persist in trying to get help. The NHS app. got me the help I needed. I didn’t even call 111, they called me! But, according to the NHS website you should call 111 for help and advice.
I am still acutely aware of the pains that were not there before Covid and I hope it’s not too long before they go away. It is upsetting when you see people on Social Media saying things like ‘Covid is nothing more than cold or flu symptoms’ because for some people it’s a lot more serious. And we still don’t know the full implications of long Covid and the effects it has on the body. My eldest son’s asthma has re-appeared after many years after he has Covid last year. My teen daughter is still suffering from inexplicable fatigue after her dose of Covid, which seemed incredibly mild at the time. I think we still have a lot to learn about Covid.