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Covid Stories: “I wondered when it was going to be my turn to catch the virus”

Rachel, Anglesey, 5 June 2020

Rachel's contribution to the Collecting Covid: Wales 2020 questionnaire project.

I live with my 74 year old widowed mother… I fell badly on 7th May and have been off work with a bad ankle since then. Have mostly been resting my leg to recuperate; watching TV, reading and being online with my mobile phone. Just pottering.

It would usually be “business as usual” for me working shifts as a nurse. I plan to return to work very soon.

I’m a staff nurse (RNLD) and work in a NHS treatment and assessment unit for adults who have a learning disability. Six of our eight patients tested positive for Covid-19, so it was decided that our ward would become the Covid-19/red ward for the site. Two patients tested negative for Covid-19, so were transferred to another (amber) ward. We had to practice barrier nursing with full PPE, masks, face guards and remain vigilant about social distancing and hand washing at all times, where possible. Four of our patients sadly passed away between April 10th and May 8th. It was incredibly difficult and a huge loss to our staff team.

The poignancy of being part of the line-up of staff along the ward to say "goodbye" as the undertaker wheeled the deceased patient(s) past will always stay with me as we knew we wouldn't be able to attend their funerals due to restrictions.

Initially I was very worried, more for my mother than myself. Then trying to help my patients at work became a focus. I was terrified of bringing Covid-19 home to my mother as she has COPD and has been identified as someone who requires shielding. A few of my colleagues have been off self-isolating due to health shielding, and some others caught the virus, so staffing was provided by shuffling staff from other units or using bank staff. Some colleagues moved out of their homes to protect their families; staying in a large holiday home provided by the owners.

I wondered when it was going to be my turn to catch the virus? I told my mother I could try to find alternative accommodation for the duration of this crisis, but she wouldn't hear of it and preferred for things to continue as they were. I carried a lot of anticipated guilt for either possibly passing on the virus to her, or if I were to leave her to live elsewhere against her wishes.

I'm missing my closest friend terribly. We chat through messages or telephone calls, but it's really not the same.


James Taylor
21 July 2020, 16:28
Hi Rachel, I think you and all the NHS staff have done a brilliant job under dangerous circumstances and I have always said that you are a very caring person no matter who it is and knowing you and your mum Carolyn you love your mum and worry so much whilst this disease is going round but I know has you say she would not hear of you moving out till it was all over and that is the way you both are very caring people and that is why I love you both and am so proud to have you both has friends and I will always say Rachel you are an angel babes, take great care and stay safe God bless you sweetheart ?xxx
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