Brugada and Self-Isolation

Monday 16th March I celebrated my 12th re-birthday, re-birthday is a term that all cardiac arrest survivors use to celebrate surviving a cardiac arrest.

I didn’t really celebrate it this year, maybe ‘cause of this underlying cloud that was shadowing the world.
This cloud, this virus COVID-19/ Coronavirus, we first heard about this virus whilst we were on holiday in Gran Canaria for my birthday. That was the end of January and that already feels like a lifetime ago.

Back then we didn’t know what this would become, on the flight back from Gran Canaria there was a couple with face masks.
I thought to myself back then they were a little bit overboard, yet now it is turning into common practice and this could be the new norm.
For a while I think we all joked about it, memes were shared on social media, I don’t think anyone believed the impact it would have on our lives.

The world is still learning what COVID-19 is, it may take some time to fully understand.
What we do know about COVID-19 is the following:
COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus.
Symptoms of coronavirus are a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath.
Simple measures like washing your hands often with soap and water can help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading.
There’s no specific treatment for coronavirus. Treatment aims to relieve the symptoms until you recover.
It’s not known exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person, but similar viruses are spread in cough droplets.

People that are vulnerable to COVID-19 are:
– aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions) – under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (ie anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds): – chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis – chronic heart diseases, such as heart failure – chronic kidney disease – chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis – chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy – diabetes – problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed – a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy – being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above) – those who are pregnant.
People that fall into this category should be self-isolating for 12 weeks.

Going back to my Brugada Syndrome, I was diagnosed 12 years ago and the medical world is still learning from people like me and fellow Brugada family.
Brugada syndrome is a rare but serious condition that affects the way electrical signals pass through the heart. It can cause the heart to beat dangerously fast.
Symptoms can occur at any time but are sometimes triggered by something such as a high temperature (fever), drinking lots of alcohol, or dehydration. Symptoms typically first appear at around 30-40 years of age, but they can occur at any age.
They’re more common in men than women or children.

So on Thursday 19th March when cycling to work my phone started to ring at 2.20 pm, I had my phone in my hand whilst cycling because I didn’t want to miss a phone call from Daniel.
I didn’t recognise the number, I was still cycling whilst I answered the call, the nurse informed that I should self isolate now for 12 weeks.
That I should call emergency services if I even develop a cough, and that she would send me a self-isolation letter to give to my employer.
After I hung up, I continued my cycle to work, in somewhat shock, I could not comprehend what this meant for me for the next 12 weeks.

When I arrived at work, Todd was arriving and I joked that I would be going home in a minute, trying to joke about things is my natural defence.
Thoughts were swimming through my head, I knew that this meant statutory sick pay of £94 per week, which did not come close to paying my half of the rent, let alone bills or food to eat.
Still, I continued to joke with fellow staff about the situation, Daniel called my workplace, he had been told by his company that he will have his hours reduced by 40%.
I had to fob him off. I couldn’t burden him with my news, and I needed to speak to my manager, so I promised him I’d call him back in 20 minutes.

So I chatted with Simon briefly, really not taking in much was said, I knew that all I’d be getting is this measly £94 per week.

Below is the main extract from my doctor letter:
This letter is to confirm that this person who is a patient registered at this practice must self-isolate from coronavirus due to medical risk factors as instructed by the Government and clinical advice from Jane Pavey, Nurse Practitioner, for the next 3 months (advice may alter depending on circumstances).

I printed off the email from the doctor’s surgery and handed it to Simon, then went back down to the office to leave my keys on the table.
I joked a little more with my staff, I then got my bike and walked out with Liam, I kept thinking to myself that I might not return.
I said my farewell to Liam, I walked a little further with these thoughts below in my head before I called Daniel at his work.
Earlier in the week I contacted the letting agents to let them know that I may have to self isolate, they emailed me back to say that the landlord is self-employed and the only income he receives is from the rent of the property, so there will be no reductions.
The previous week myself and Daniel signed a new year tenancy, so I was facing the prospect of trying to pay rent and keep my job in these uncertain times.
The government did put in place a 3-month ban on evictions, but the tenant and landlord would have to work out a repayment scheme.
With Daniel hours being reduced and living in a time of not knowing, what would I be able to repay, when we hardly live now?
When I got through to Daniel I fell back into my natural defence of trying to make light of things, I joked I had good news, I couldn’t follow it through though. I then told him that I am going home because I have to self isolate for 12 weeks, when Daniel broke down on the phone I crumbled inside.
I tried to reassure him that everything will be alright; in all honesty, I didn’t think it would be for a very long time.
When the call was finished, I just kept on walking. I usually love cycling home but this day I was going to saviour the outside because I did not know if I’d be able to see much of it for the next few months.
I called Francis (Daniel Dad). I knew he was home, Francis has one of those reassuring voices, and deep down I knew I had to talk with him.
On Sunday 22nd March Francis was due to have surgery to remove cancer in his bowel.
Myself and Daniel were meant to be travelling to Northampton at the weekend, now having to self isolate I knew that would not be possible for me.
Deep down I still wanted Daniel to go, so he could be with his family, my next job was to convince Daniel to still go.

When I finally made it home, I sat in the flat in silence and waited for Daniel to come home from work.
Before Daniel came home I received a phone call from Ed, he had heard that I had to self isolate.
Ed knows me well, we lived together for 7 years, he knows I can never spend a day in the house.
Every day I go out, I’m not an inside person, I’m a social person, and this is my life for 12 weeks, and he knew how much that would be eating me up inside like cancer of my own.
What scares me the most is if something bad (I mean death) happens to anyone that I love or know and I can’t leave to be with family or friends and be the support network that I am, it would destroy me!

Yes, I’m self-isolating but this time we needed to hold each other, so when he came through the door we hugged, we cried and we both knew this would be the last time for a long time.
We decided one more night of cuddling in bed, we put in place our plan for isolation going forward.
It was decided that Dan would sleep upstairs going forward on the sofa bed because he is allowed to leave the house it made sense for him to be by the main exit of the flat.

Thursday night whilst in bed, I couldn’t sleep, but I stayed in bed because I didn’t want to leave Daniel, this was my last time for 12 weeks that we could cuddle.
I can’t remember the many times I cried whilst in bed, maybe it was the reality that we’re really fucked.

Since Thursday we have kept a social distance of 2m, we’ve cleaned, we’ve wiped the down sides, we did face masks, we’ve slept apart, we’re hurting but we’re together.
I was unable to convince Daniel to go back home and leave me, he was scared that if the country were to go into proper lockdown he wouldn’t be able to get back to me.
One way I guess he is right, and then I would have to depend on friends to get food for me.
Talking friends I have talked to so many people online, on the phone over the last few days, had people offer us money if we come short, we’ve had friends drop stuff over for us.
The kindness and love from everyone have been so overwhelming I believe that we will get through this.
On Friday the government promised to pay 80% of our salary, companies have to apply for this but if this goes through it gives me a little security for the time being.
I don’t think my job is safe, this virus has impacted the fitness industry and people will continue to cancel their memberships.
When gyms are allowed to re-open, will people return?? If social distancing does become a thing, then we may have to limit numbers in classes and the gym.

Sunday evening French Connection closed their doors so Daniel is home all day with me when they reopen it may be on this reduced contracted hours.

Last night whilst Dan was cooking the extractor fan in the kitchen short-circuited and took all lights out in the flat, it took us some time to find the fuse box to get lights back on in the flat.
Unfortunately, the extractor fan is not working, so have contacted the letting agents, which means we will have to allow entry into our flat to an outsider!

The last few days have completed a couple of online training courses, I’ve cleaned the flat, I have worked out, watched Wrestlemania 35, now starting on Wrestlemania 1… I feel that I have plenty of free time over the next few months.
Dan’s dad did have the surgery and all we know at this point is that it was successful, we will learn more in the coming days.
Knowing how close Dan is to his family these last few days must have been torture for him and if I ever doubted his love for me I’d be a fool!
We have talked about wedding plans over the last few days, and we wanted a ceremony at Hotel Du Vin, but because we face financial uncertainty we have decided maybe a town hall wedding.
The date we have decided on is Friday 18th June 2021, this day we will have been together for 5 years and this day feels right for us.
All we know is that we love each other and it doesn’t matter where we are when we’re married, we just want to be married.

To end this blog, I want to end on a happy note and want to remind you things will get tough, this is a strange time for everyone, be good to people, stay in contact, stay healthy, stay home!

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