Within a month of being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, Jess found herself in hospital during the coronavirus pandemic. Despite extremely difficult circumstances, she tells us about the incredible care she received and her eventual recovery.
I made it to 23 in good health and without a single hospital admission which is pretty good going, right?
Well, my parents always told me I was never someone to do things by halves.
This blog begins on 23rd March 2020 and I have just found out that I am going to be admitted to hospital this afternoon due to Colitis symptoms which are not improving. Coronavirus is rife and I feel as though my whole world is crashing down around me. I’m anxious and I’m scared, but I know that this is for the best. My flare-up is only getting worse, so I just need a little bit of help to get better.
Day 1 in hospital
I’m really new to this and I don’t know what to expect – I was only diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis four weeks ago! I’ve also just found out that my family and friends can’t visit me due to the coronavirus so not only am I scared; I now feel totally alone. I guess I’ll see what tomorrow brings.
So far, the doctors and nurses have been working hard to get my Colitis flare-up under control, but I’ve now developed a sore throat and have been isolated on a coronavirus ward where they will test me for the virus.
Since my admission I’ve had multiple endoscopies, countless blood tests and two transfusions due to blood loss. I’m still in a flare-up and have been prescribed intravenous steroids which I hope work. I’ve laughed with the nurses, cried to the healthcare assistants and I’ve seen more doctors than I can remember.
There’s one thing I know for sure – every single member of staff I have encountered deserves a medal and I cannot praise them enough for the work they are doing!
Today is 29th March 2020 – officially the start of British Summer Time and my favourite time of year. Today I am not celebrating in the sunshine. Today I have received a positive coronavirus test result. The only way I can describe how I am feeling is terrified, I think it is the fear of the unknown.
Sadly, my Colitis flare-up also doesn’t seem to be improving and now my treatment plan must change. Nobody has ever dealt with a pandemic like this before, so my doctors are still working out what the next stage of my plan is. I am moving into a room soon with five other patients with coronavirus so I’m super anxious about having to share a bathroom and I am worried about my treatment making me higher risk.
I’m hoping this isn’t just a fluke and I don’t want to tempt fate but today I feel much better in myself and like things may be improving. Reflecting on the last week, it has been an absolute whirlwind. Even in the most crazy, unprecedented circumstances the care and compassion I have received from every member of staff has still been amazing. During my time on the ward so far, eight other patients have come and gone from this room.
Some, thankfully, have been discharged, some have moved to other wards as their symptoms worsened and some have lost their lives to this devastating virus. My heart is truly breaking, but I know I must keep going and feel positive for the future. I am so ready to start living again once this flare is under control.
Since my last diary entry, everything has changed, and my symptoms have worsened.
When dealing with my flare, the options are limited by having coronavirus.
Intravenous steroids haven’t worked for me as hoped. Biologic drugs are not possible, and surgery is off the cards unless it is an emergency. Discharge from hospital still seems a distant concept and I’m just hoping my body starts to respond to treatment soon.
Today, my Colitis symptoms seem to be under control. A few days ago, after taking a combination of oral and IV steroids for over six weeks, the medicines seem to have kicked in and I am having a flexible sigmoidoscopy – a camera to look at my large intestine - this afternoon so the doctors can see if my gut still looks inflamed. I hope my gut is looking as good as I am feeling.
Fast-forward a few hours and I literally cannot stop smiling, I’m going home. Honestly there have been times I never thought this time would come. I am mentally, physically and emotionally drained, but my coronavirus symptoms are practically gone and my flare-up appears to be under control! The last nineteen days have been an experience, to say the least, but I am definitely stronger for it.
I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve even sobbed, but today none of that matters because I’m going home, I’m feeling well, and I couldn’t be happier.
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