Gender: Male
Ethnicity: Indian
Background: Goutam is 52 years old and is Indian. He is married and has two children, and works in IT implementation management. Goutam developed Covid symptoms during the first week of the first national lockdown. He was taken into intensive care after his oxygen levels remained too low. He found the experience disturbing, but his family gave him strength.

Goutam experienced Covid symptoms at the end of the first week of national lockdown, with his wife beginning to feel unwell a few days later. Trying to reduce his high temperature and body aches, Goutam took paracetamol but kept feeling worse and couldn’t focus on anything. He phoned an NHS hotline but they were very busy and couldn’t give him more answers. After Goutam’s cough was constant, his wife phoned the emergency services and he was taken into hospital.

After his second Covid test come back positive, Goutam found that he struggled to move from his bed and was taken to the ICU (intensive care unit) when his oxygen levels stayed very low. He was told he was going to be sedated but was under the impression it would only be for twenty-four hours. He was shocked to find that he had been in the ICU for thirty five days. During his time in the ICU, Goutam explains that he experienced lots of bad dreams and hallucinations which he found very disturbing. Pictures of his family were a big source of strength for Goutam, as was the presence of his friends and community while he was recovering. While Goutam was in intensive care, his family were in regular contact with the hospital asking about any changes in his condition. Goutam felt that he was incredibly well cared for in hospital. He was thankful for the passion and commitment of the NHS staff who looked after him, who he felt were working in very challenging conditions.

After leaving intensive care, Goutam found that he had to start everything again from scratc as he had lost a lot of strength. However, he says that feeling the sunlight when he stepped outside was one of the best feeling, and he also found that sharing his experiences with a friend who had been in a similar situation was very helpful.

Goutam doesn’t feel that he has completely recovered, as he can’t run on the weekends like he used to before, and his sense of smell and taste is weaker. He now goes for walks instead of running and is excited to see if he can still play badminton with his friends. He thinks getting the vaccine is important to protect loved ones and the public as a whole.

Ben described himself as 30-40% of the way to being better.

Age at interview 52

Ben now has to carefully plan every aspect of everyday tasks, like going to the supermarket, to make sure he can manage them.

Age at interview 52

Ben was attending a gym programme tailored for people with Long Covid. After several weeks, he felt his fitness was slowly returning.

Age at interview 52