A Ceredigion man has told of his six-week ordeal as he suffered with coronavirus symptoms.
Adam Clewes, from Bronant, near Tregaron, has told Ceredigion Online how he tested positive for Covid-19 back in March.
The 22-year-old student, who also lived in Aberystwyth, was working in London as part of a camera crew filming a ‘one-take’ film, when a handful of the other cast and crew had to leave the set after showing symptoms.
“We were filming in tight restaurant spaces, with around 100 extras,” Mr Clewes said.
“It was a saturated restaurant with a lot of people. It was probably one of the last films filmed before lockdown.
“There were a few people who had to go home because they were showing symptoms.
“Everyone was a bit like, oh no.”
“I completely lost my sense of taste and smell”
Mr Clewes returned to Manchester, where he was living at the time, and said that he was fine for the next five days.
But after nearly a week of showing no symptoms, the film-production worker began to come down with a fever.
The fever came and went overnight, but that was just the beginning for the 22-year-old.
“The next two days I completely lost my sense of taste and smell,” Mr Clewes continued.
“My taste was still slightly there, but I had a swig of double concentrated squash and it tasted like water.
“The woman on the phone said there was no way that I had coronavirus”
“And my smell – I couldn’t pick up anything. “I even tried spraying a load of deodorant to see if I could smell it – I couldn’t.”
“I contacted 111, and the woman on the phone said there was no way that I had coronavirus.
“So I contacted my own doctor, and they were more cautious. They said it was best to isolate for two weeks.”
“I started getting really bad chest pains”
Mr Clewes spent the next fortnight self-isolating in his flat in Manchester, with his friends dropping supplies to his door.
But after completing the isolation period and not showing any more symptoms, he asked his doctor whether he was safe to go home.
“My dad had pneumonia last year, so there was a concern for going home,” Mr Clewes continued.
“The doctor said that was absolutely fine. But the night before I left, I started getting really bad chest pains.
“Two hours in, my chest pain started getting really bad”
“The first night, it was like a four out of 10. But I just put it off as indigestion or heartburn.
“The next day, it hurt even less, so I thought ‘lets scoot on out’.
“It takes three hours to get home. Two hours in, my chest pain started getting really bad.
“I messaged my aunt, who is a nurse. She asked whether I could make it home, which I felt I could.
“It was agony”
“But then I got to just outside of Aberystwyth, and I couldn’t even move.
“This was more like an eight out of 10. It was agony.
“I was scared, but I was more scared about giving it to my dad.”
Two hours to get an ambulance
Mr Clewes rang his aunt, who works as a nurse, and she told him he should call an ambulance.
But when he dialed 999, they told him it would be two hours before they could get an ambulance to him.
“I decided to just plough through [to the hospital] because it was so painful,” he said.
“They did all the tests, and put me in a quarantine room. They put the appropriate gear on and tested me.
“They were concerned it was […] a collapsed lung.
“They said my blood was off, and a couple of things were off, but they couldn’t see anything that was seriously bad.
“I was in the hospital for four hours. They saw me very quickly because they were concerned it was something else, like a collapsed lung.
“I either had it once for 6 weeks, or I had it twice. I’m fairly sure I got it from the film set.”
“I spent a month in lockdown in my room”
“The tests came back positive 3 days later,” Mr Clewes continued.
“The [doctors] said that this meant that […] the pain was all because of the virus.
“I spent a month in lockdown in my room. I just stayed in there, only leaving to go to the toilet.
“I was ill for six weeks.I still can’t smell or taste properly. My taste is back 50%, but my smell is 20%.
“I know a couple of people who have tested positive and got their taste back within a couple of weeks.
“For a long time I was really panicking. Am I not going to get it back?
“It got to a point last week where I had had enough. I contacted the doctors, and they said come in and we’ll have a look.
“As soon as i got in there, the doctor was like, why are you here?
“The thing is, we can’t give you any help because its coronavirus related and we don’t really know what goes on
“It was like, what was the point? It was ludicrous.”
“It’s been a massive factor in my life”
The virus may be gone, but Mr Clewes says it still has an impact on his life.
He told Ceredigion Online that sport was a big part of his life, but thanks to the chest pains he still occasionally gets, he finds it harder to take part in physical activity.
But according to the 22-year-old, he won’t let the virus stop him from getting out and exercising.
“It’s been a massive factor in my life. I’m really active, and love playing football.
“Every time I go for a jog, my chest hurts. But no one knows how to fix it.
“I grew up in the countryside, so I grew up climbing trees, and breaking bones all the time.
“I lost my appetite”
“If something hurts me, I don’t keel over. It is difficult, but i still push myself to do stuff.
“I still go running – just maybe not as far as I used to.
“I lost my appetite too.
“Strangely, now that my taste is coming back, some things taste really strange.
“Bananas don’t taste the same. And I used to hate beetroot – now I love it.”