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Episode show notes

It’s undeniable that the Coronavirus has changed all of our lives, from the small changes to our weekly shop all the way to our jobs and livelihoods. However, there is nobody that it affects more so than those who find themselves fighting the virus itself, like one of my extraordinary clients, Paula Dale.

In episode 11 of Living Life Well, Paula shares her poignant story of dealing with COVID-19, from her lengthy stay in ICU to re-learning the most basic tasks and skills. We cover some of the dangers and misconceptions, the unexpected effects on hair and skin, and why it’s important now more than ever to put everybody’s safety first.

This episode of Living Life Well covers:

• The dangers of COVID-19
• Experiencing A&E and ICU
• The unexpected side-effects of COVID-19 on hair and skin
• Lengthy home recovery
• Mentally coping with the PTSD of COVID-19
• Raising awareness for the dangers
• Re-evaluating the important things in life

Links & references

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Paula Dale

Episode highlights

“I had no prior symptoms whatsoever, and just one evening I didn’t feel like eating my dinner, went to bed and in the middle of the night, went to the loo and I collapsed. I live with my two children, Tom and Molly, they’re 23 and 25. They very quickly realized that there was some kind of problem, called an ambulance and I was blue lighted into A&E – it was quite apparent quite quickly that I had caught the virus and was put on to a general COVID Ward.” – 12:34 – Paula Dale

“It was only once I was down on the general ward that I actually realized what bad condition my hair was really in. I had a massive knot at the back of my hair. A very kind male nurse offered to wash my hair for the first time in weeks, but before he could do that, he literally had to take a pair of scissors to my hair and actually cut out the knot. Then as the days went on, I just started to realize, as I was brushing my hair, it was just coming out. It’s just coming out in clumps.” – 15:58 – Paula Dale

“You think once you get home, you’re going to start to get better, I thought home was going to save me but once I got home actually realized how poorly I actually still was. I had an acute hospital team come to the house three times a day still to give me IV antibiotics. I still had a chest drain. I couldn’t walk. I’ve been in hospital all of that time. I was in a wheelchair and I literally had to start learning to do so many things for myself. I had to learn to walk again. ” – 17:07 – Paula Dale

“I was diagnosed when I was in the hospital with PTSD, and was put in touch with a psychiatrist. I’ve been talking to him every week since I’ve left the hospital, and he said there’s a thing called the downward spiral. But there’s also something called the upward spiral.” – 20:18 – Paula Dale

“My hair is something I’ve always taken for granted. I’ve looked after it, I go to the hairdresser’s regularly. But then all of a sudden, to have clumps of hair just falling out, it’s very personal and actually quite traumatic.” – 33:18 – Paula Dale

“My friend said it’s made her think not just twice, but three times about those simple things about keeping your distance, washing your hands, being careful about who you come into contact with, wearing a mask, and all those kinds of things. I know that my friends and family would have taken it seriously anyway, but actually seeing the impact on me means they’ve really got strong opinions on it now.” – 36:01 – Paula Dale

“I’ve stopped worrying about things I have no control over, I’m writing things down, and I’m trying to bring a much better balance into my life – I was very much kind of ‘boom and bust’ before. I think we all are, we all run around. without hesitation, we don’t think about it, and then collapse a few days later, drink coffee, and all of those kinds of things.” – 42:16 – Paula Dale

“I am taking more time to do things. I’m thinking about things. Whether it’s just sitting enjoying my food, or spending time reading, I’m a lot more mindful of stopping. COVID has put a big, fat full stop on my life, but I’m just spending more time doing things as opposed to rushing around like I did before, really, and I’m enjoying that. I’m really getting a lot of pleasure from even the small things that are actually making quite a big difference.” – 46:38 – Paula Dale