Voices from the frontline

Some of us you know well, some of us you see regularly, some of us you never see. We are the nurses, team leaders, care assistants, chefs, activity coordinators, receptionists, laundry assistants, cooks, cleaners, admins, those behind the scenes, the voices of the frontlines. These are our day to day and our extraordinary experiences 

My name is Daniel Peng and I am a nurse at Burton, and Trent Courts I joined Towerview Care as a Nurse in early 2020. Usually, I’m reasonably well, I’ve not even had the sniffles for the past 4 or 5 years. Then in April, I had a nasty cold for about 3 days, and it really wiped me out. I didn’t eat or drink, I felt terrible, and then I started to have trouble breathing. Thank goodness my partner was home because I lost consciousness, and the next thing I remember was waking up in A&E.

Coronavirus

Waking up in A&E was scary. Everyone was wearing PPE, and that was when I realised why I was there! Even though, throughout my stay, no one ever said the words coronavirus. They tested me as soon as I arrived, but it took two and a half days to get the results back, and I had to ask if I was positive.

The hospital was conducting a drugs trial, testing five drugs to see their effectiveness. The medication I was put on worked really well and meant that I didn’t have to go onto a ventilator.  I alternated between a fever of 41 degrees and chills that left my teeth chattering.  At times it felt like creatures were swarming under my skin, then it would feel blistered and tingle. Throughout I had the worst headaches I’ve ever experienced, it felt like my head was being crushed.

On the whole floor at the Royal Derby Hospital there were only 12 of us and on my ward just myself and one other person. I barely saw anyone, I wasn’t allowed visitors, this was not only incredibly lonely, but it was very frightening as well. The sounds on the ward were eerie, not the regular hustle and bustle of a hospital, just the noises of machines beeping and those of you struggling to breathe. It made the whole experience very surreal and gave the feeling of isolation an almost physical entity and a kind of the hyper-awareness of your surroundings.

There were several techniques that really helped my breathing, one was lying on my front, which they said helped to use all the usable lung capacity. The other was lying on my side and then rotating to the other, this helped with airflow. No resting on my back as this made it really hard to breath, which in turn makes you panic and that makes your really tired quickly.

I was in the hospital for seven days; I haven’t really regained my sense of smell and taste properly yet, and I am still exhausted. They say it will take a while to fully recover, but I am so ready to get back to work! I miss my colleagues and our ladies and gentlemen. I have had enough of daytime tv, I want to get back to doing what I love and supporting the people who need me.

I’m not sure how or where I contracted coronavirus, but I injured my leg outside of work and had a wound, and I think that is where infection happened. I’m just so grateful that I’ve had made a full recovery, the essential things in life family and doing what you love.

Can’t wait to see my Towerview Care family again