My Covid Diary

I’ve had a bit of that Covid-19 that you may have heard about, so I thought I’d keep a little diary to monitor how it progresses. I’m double-jabbed, 40 years old, have no underlying health conditions and consider myself incredibly fortunate for all of the above. The following are my thoughts and reflections on my experiences.

Day 0

During the nightly reading of the bedtime story I started sneezing and subsequently felt a bit achy. Later in the evening I took an LFD test, just to make sure I’m ok to go into work. It came back negative.

Day 1

Following the negative result, I went to work. I felt pretty rubbish as I was congested and had a headache, but no temperature, no sore throat, no cough, so I thought it was just a cold.

I got home and went straight to bed. I woke up a few hours later and did an LFD test. It was positive. I did another. Positive again. I booked a PCR, told everyone I needed to tell and logged it on the app. It’s all a bit scary. I’m not sure how bad it might get and how my body and mind will react to what it coming my way.

Day 2

Woke up this morning feeling very ropey. Headache, bunged up nose and aching all over. We told the children that I had tested positive with Covid-19 and their responses were interesting. Both were a little sad and worried, then the 6 year old asked, ‘do people die from coronavirus?’ We explained that some do, but most don’t and I wasn’t likely to. They then got very worried that they might need to have a test themselves (they really don’t like the idea of the swab down the throat and up the nose). The 8 year old coughed a few times, so we gave him an LFD test, and it was positive. With the exciting news that her brother has Covid, the 6 year old then starts bouncing on the bed with joy and laughter as she doesn’t need to do a test (yet!).

I walked to the test centre because it’s less than a kilometre away and it could well be the last time I get outside for the next little while. The staff were efficient, thorough and compassionate but it still felt like a completely weird, dystopian place.

I managed a Teams meeting with some lovely people I didn’t want to let down, and then spent most of the day in bed feeling thoroughly rubbish.

I wear a Garmin Forerunner 45, because I run. It tracks lots of things fitness and health related, including my ‘body battery’. My battery normal fills up while I am sleeping and empties during the day. Today it flatlined.

A normal day’s body battery compared to today’s, quite a stark difference.

Day 3

Headache still hanging around all morning. Got up at lunchtime, had a shower and felt a bit better. A couple of hours later I got dizzy and began sweating, so went back to bed.

I spent considerably more time than a 40-year-old man should watching TikTok videos today. It’s not just for the kids, honest. It might well be a colossal waste of time, but it does make me chuckle. It’s dangerously addictive though, so I will be doing my best to not be opening the app for a while. However, if you want to lose some time, here are some content creators who are brought me a little joy @stage_door_johnny, @leelochip, @lvworkshop, @tiredandtested, @mjudsonberry, @arroncrascall, @celinaspookyboo, @collinurrmom, @sheenamelwani and @hayleygeorgiamorris. There are probably also some great educators on there, doing great things, but I’m just in it for the laughs at the moment. However, if you’ve read this far and want to recommend someone worth following, do let me know in the comments.

In other entertainment news, a new series of Taskmaster started tonight. That’s always a good thing.

Day 4

Woke up feeling much better today. Although I have discovered that whole ‘loss of taste and smell thing‘, is not a myth. Weird. Not sure why, but I now can’t smell stuff. I tested this the only way a man knows how, and couldn’t smell a thing. My wife assured me that I had indeed made a smell though. Now I’m wondering if I can make use of this new lack of ability to my (or humanities’) advantage in some way. But, as I can’t leave the house, I’m not sure it’s much use at all really.

The boy and I have decided to call ourselves the Covidboys. This has lead to us writing new lyrics to the 1998 Vengaboys classic, Vengabus.

The Covidboys are coming and everybody’s coughing,

The kitchen to the bathroom, the lounge up to the bedroom,

Now we can’t smell a thing, But haven’t stopped farting,

It’s all going a bit wrong, Let’s hope it doesn’t last long.

We may record a version of this if we get bored/inspired enough.

The 6-year-old went off for her test this morning, and I can confirm she was not happy about it at all. Still, being supportive parents, we made her do it anyway and incentivised her (after protracted negotiations) with the promise of a magazine, a toy and a movie day (like a movie night, but with lots of films and it lasts all day – we’ve not got a lot on this weekend to be fair).

My body battery seems to have fully recovered today and this allowed me to get a few things done. A bit of home-schooling, some weed spraying in the garden, some work, a bit of playmobile and I hung a picture in my daughter’s room that had been unhung for a very long time. But most of all, I watched the Ryder Cup while I continued to convalesce.

Day 5

Right. I’m better now. I’d like to get out and about. Go for a proper run. Live. But I can’t. I might still be contagious. Dangerous! So I’ll stay at home.

As it’s Saturday, I completed a Parkrun this morning, although I couldn’t go to my usual park to run, so I ran around my garden. Many, many times. In keeping with my TikTok obsession this week, I made this TikTok about the run. Remember Parkrunners, always thank the marshals.

This morning’s ‘Parkrun’ compared to a normal one. 20 minutes slower and loads more calories burned. It turns out running slower is better for you.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve felt any worse this week than during other bouts of illness in the past. I realise this is because I’m fortunate enough to have been given the vaccine. The main difference between this and other times I’ve had cold/flu-type illnesses is that other people take it far more seriously. If I’d described my symptoms to friends, family members or colleagues in the past, most would say that I had ‘man-flu’, and patronise me. When you say you’ve tested positive for Covid, they react in a very different way. Given that I’m double-jabbed, I wonder if I’ve just had a heavy cold (man-flu) and also happened to test positive. Were any of my symptoms because of Covid or just coincidental? I’ll never know of course.

My daughter got her result back today. She’s positive, so it’s no longer just the Covidboys in our house. My wife is still negative, very negative some would say 😂😂😂. She needed to get out of the house as we’re driving her crazy, so we sent her on some Mummy Missions. One of them was to ‘Knock-and-Run’ one of our neighbours while we watched from the upstairs window. We’re really trying to keep our spirits up.

Day 6

Sunday. The day of chilling at home and watching sport on TV – which is just as well. My wife went for another PCR test this morning because Test and Trace told her to after getting the positive result for my daughter. She’s not feeling 100% today so this could well be the beginning of her getting the ‘rona. It’s seemed inevitable, but hopefully she’ll not get to poorly with it.

The ladies in the house spent the morning crafting – making an Autumn wreath (apparently that’s a thing) and Christmas cards (seems a little early). The boy and myself made this TikTok video. We’ve now got a follower, so it’s all starting to kick off for us as content creators!

This afternoon my wife deteriorated and took to her bed. It all looks a bit ominous.

In lighter news, the North London derby was on and we thoroughly enjoyed that. A neighbour delivered a few beers to our doorstep just before kick off, so obviously I live in a rather lovely area and never need to move house.

Day 7

I’m bored now. Home schooling is back on for the kids. My wife and I managed to get some work done as well. She’s feeling better today. Her PCR was negative. Not sure what all that was about yesterday, but she seems to be getting away without catching Covid.

Progress was made today when my son farted and I smelt it. The sense of smell is returning so I can enjoy the finer things in life again.

Day 8

Home-school is in full swing now and today involved making some clay leaves to replicate Andy Goldsworthy’s work. We did a great job.

Covid-wise we’re all good. It does seem to me that there isn’t some great conspiracy. It’s been exactly as I was led to believe it would be. A few days of heavy cold and then all fine. I assume the vaccine helped with that, so I’m glad I took it. Test and Trace are very thorough as well. I get a phone call every couple of days thanking me for isolating and then asking if I plan to continue to stay at home. I ask if I have a choice, then they say no. It’s a fun little dance we do.

Day 9

More of the same.

Day 10

And again. Test and trace phoned again today to thank me for helping to stop the spread of Covid.

Freedom Day

I celebrated by going for a run this morning. I thought I’d be fine, but it turns out that sitting on a sofa for the best part of two weeks has a negative affect on my fitness and stamina. Still, it’s good to be back.

Things I’ve learned…

  1. For this double-jabbed 40 year old, Covid was like having a bad cold for a couple of days
  2. NHS Test and Trace are really rather thorough. Almost too thorough.
  3. I’m lucky enough to have a job that allows me to isolate for 10 days without losing out on pay. I’m also lucky enough to have a garden and reasonable living space. If the two points above were not the case, I would certainly have struggled to isolate more than I did. I really sympathise with those asked to stay at home who are in a less fortunate position than me. Especially when all symptoms have gone and they feel perfectly healthy.
  4. I married well. I’ve always known my wife to be supportive, compassionate and caring. However, she’s clearly also made of sterner stuff than me as she’s still not tested positive despite living with three people who have had Covid for the last two weeks. Impressive.
  5. Lateral flow tests work. I had been sceptical having taken so many over the year, but when it came to it, they did the job.
  6. If Covid is in the household, children really do need to get a PCR test before going into school. I would not have said either of my children were unwell at any stage and would have sent them into school had I not tested positive myself. Sending them into school if they aren’t showing symptoms is not helping to stop the spread.

Do unto yourself as you would do unto others

The verse in the Bible, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is commonly known as The Golden Rule. It’s found in both Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. Jesus said this Golden Rule “sums up the Law and the Prophets.” It is a pretty good rule to live by, and one I find quite easy. Sort of.

In many aspects of school life, I consider how I would like my family or myself to be treated, and respond accordingly, in good conscience, to whatever the situation might be. Most school leaders I know are very good at putting others before themselves. It happens all the time, and why we often end the day having achieved nothing on our own to-do lists because we are busy reacting to the needs of children, parents and staff members. I’m good with that. The children should be at the centre of everything we do and their needs must always come first. However, it is also important to look after yourself. A burnt out head teacher is not going to be anywhere near as effective as one who has a healthy body and mind.

If a member of the team is struggling in some way, I will do anything and everything to support them. If a child has a worry or is struggling in some way, I will do all I can to help. If a parent has a concern, I will address it. However, I find it much harder to treat myself in the same way. I can give advice, but don’t always know how to act on it. I find it easy to treat others how I’d like to be treated, but much harder to treat myself how I treat others.

So if I could go back in time to the start of my leadership journey and tell myself just one thing, it would be to go easier on myself. It’s ok to learn from mistakes. You will not please everybody all of the time, so don’t get hung up on the tiny fraction of interactions you have where all parties involved aren’t entirely delighted with you or the outcome. You have good judgement and you will one day be able to look back on all you achieved through an incredibly challenging time with pride and satisfaction.

It’s one thing knowing all of this, acting upon it is entirely another.

But I’ll try.