Omichronicles March 22: ‘I’m 31, healthy and boosted… Omicron put me in the hospital’

Life moves pretty fast on the Omicron wave. (If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss the part of the press conference you actually needed to hear.)

Almost two years into the pandemic, we have returned to unprecedented times and Keeping Up With The Covid cases, lights and phases is taking a village.

So every day of the week, we’ll bring you Omichronicles, stories from the O-surge, and tips to keep you on track.

”I’m 31, healthy and boosted…And Omicron put me in the hospital”

It quickly got worse after the shortness of breath started. My fever reached 39 despite taking Panadol. There was an increasingly tight knot in my sternum. It felt like my ribs were collapsing, collapsing into my lungs. And then the heart palpitations started. My roommate called Healthline once the feeling left my arms and legs from the knees down. Healthline called me an ambulance, but the line was so long that my roommate decided she would drive me. We arrived at Auckland Hospital 12 minutes later.

READ MORE:
* Omichronicles March 21: Dunedin student bedridden by ‘brutal’ heart palpitations a month after Covid
* Omichronicles March 18: School children with ever-shrinking classes
* Omichronicles March 17: CrossFit champ had to compete while sick or lose all season
* Omichronicles March 16: Waikato rider with Down syndrome shares isolation diary

I’m 31, healthy – “mostly” vegan, exercise daily, no prerequisites; vaccinated and boosted. It wasn’t supposed to happen. Omicron was supposed to be the one where I would experience almost no symptoms and it would pass in a few days.

What was more terrifying than the pain was seeing firsthand the strain on the medical system during this outbreak. When I arrived, I expected to be immediately transported inside a hospital bed. Instead, I was left in a parking lot turned into a triage area for eight hours with two dozen other people in the same position as me.

I found comfort in knowing that in an emergency, they would take me in. It’s easy to wonder why we can’t all be taken care of, but the system was not designed for an epidemic.

“I was left in a parking lot turned triage area for eight hours with two dozen other people in the same position as me – in agony, but well enough to wait.”

Many people underestimate the seriousness of Omicron but the healthcare system is being pushed to capacity with patients infected with Covid-19.

Christel Yardley / Stuff

Many people underestimate the seriousness of Omicron but the healthcare system is being pushed to capacity with patients infected with Covid-19.

I saw another patient harassing the nurse who was intermittently taking our vital signs. The nurse looked him straight in the eye and said sternly, “There are no beds. There are no bedrooms. Half of doctors and nurses have caught Covid. That’s what happens when the system breaks down. His candor hit me right in the chest. They just do their best.

When they finally called my name, I had started throwing up. They put me in a bed and hooked me up to an IV. I was given anti-nausea medication, saline solution for hydration, and more painkillers. They were thorough – they did an electrocardiogram, a chest X-ray and blood tests. Fortunately, my diagnosis was clear: my Covid case was unusual for someone my age who was boosted, but there were no major complications. They kept me until the next day when my fever went down and my sodium level went up. “If it gets worse, come back,” they said kindly. Now, almost three weeks later, I am still recovering. I get tired after climbing a long staircase. I still feel the dry cough tickle the top of my lungs. The effects persisted.

This experience has changed the seriousness with which I take Omicron. It amazes me that a few months ago we were stuck in our homes, terrified of Delta and determined to stop the spread. Now many of us are cavalier about Covid. The rhetoric around Omicron is different from that around other strains, but that means some people take it less seriously. If I had known how bad it could get, would I have skipped my best friend’s engagement party where I got Omicron? Probably not. But I would have liked to weigh these consequences a little more carefully.

Read the full Capsule story on why we should take Omicron seriously here.

Do you have an Omicron story to share? A question you would like to ask? Have you seen a lighter take that brought you joy? Email us at [email protected]

Life stories during an Omicron wave.

Unsplash/Stuff

Life stories during an Omicron wave.

How long will we wear masks?

By Chris Hyde

Masks are here to stay, whether you like them or not.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has hinted that vaccination mandates may be on the way out, but she’s unlikely to drop mask mandates that quickly, especially not during the Omicron wave.

Masks should remain in use long term, especially for retail and hospitality workers, and those attending indoor events.

Getty Images

Masks should remain in use long term, especially for retail and hospitality workers, and those attending indoor events.

Indeed, they are the only part of the Covid toolkit that has so far proven so effective in stopping the spread of all variants in the community – Alpha, Delta and even Omicron.

It is pure conjecture as to what the Ardern government decides as an appropriate level of masking in the future, but retail and hospitality workers, and those attending long indoor events, are most likely to continue to have mandates on mask use.

Epidemiologists have long encouraged Kiwis to adopt mask-wearing as a cultural habit, and even if the pandemic eventually dies down, there’s no harm in continuing to wear one.

Remember when?

In February 2020, we spoke to Kiwi University student Adam Fern, who was documenting his life in lockdown in China – before the rest of the world took Covid-19 seriously.

Fern lives in the city of Hangzhou, an eight-hour drive from the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan.

The 25-year-old explained that he was only allowed to leave his flat once every two days for supplies and that he had to pass a temperature check to come and go.

His experience seemed incredible to many at the time and few expected the virus to change the way we live here in New Zealand.

More than two years into the global pandemic, Fern’s story is compelling reading.

Sweets for isolation

These fluffy chocolate chip pancakes are the "breakfast of champions"said Zaina Shareef.

Zaina Shareef/Supplied

These fluffy chocolate chip pancakes are the “breakfast of champions,” says Zaina Shareef.

Kiwis were bursting with cooking ideas at the start of the pandemic, and baking some of these delicious treats can help ease the boredom of isolation and comfort you if you’re not feeling well.

Here you will find some easy to follow recipes for Fruit Scones, Food Processor Orange Cake, Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Lebanese Nutmeg Cake, Classic Kiwi Lollipop Cake and Donuts locking.

Tell us honestly

Flat Insulation Voltages Explode On Air: ‘You’re Not The Easiest To Live With Either’

Tensions between housemates isolating themselves together hilariously boiled over live on the radio Monday.

The drama began when a woman named Kelly phoned to tell radio crew The Edge Breakfast that her housemate’s boyfriend had overstayed his welcome at their shared home.

Among her gripes, Kelly complained that the man – named Matt – didn’t pay money for bills or rent, and ate his cheese out of the fridge.

The plot thickened when Matt also called in his defense, explaining that he contracted Covid-19 after Kelly brought the virus home.

The couple argued on air with Matt upset that Kelly hadn’t tried to work out their issues privately.

“It’s so s…. Why can’t she just come to my room and have an adult conversation?” he said. “She was the one who brought Covid into the apartment. “

Listeners wondered how the argument was settled, with Matt ending the public spat saying, “We’ll settle this later. I have work to do.

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