Penny feels she has been relatively lucky. Her more serious symptoms have been limited to headaches and brain fog. After five weeks of sick leave, she is now well on her way to normality. Looking back, she thinks she’s had lingering symptoms of Covid. Penny was interviewed in June 2021.

Penny has a busy life and works four days a week. She and her husband look after their two young children together. He runs his own business.

Her husband felt ill with tiredness and a runny nose before Christmas in 2020. On Boxing Day, Penny woke up feeling dreadful. She and her daughter felt ill for a few days, but none of them had ‘classic’ Covid symptoms. Her daughter had a racing heart, was ‘floppy’ and lethargic and had sickness and diarrhea. Penny was told at A&E that her daughter did not have Covid. Her husband was still feeling ‘under the weather’ when he noticed that he’d lost his sense of taste. After this they all tested positive.

Her children recovered fairly quickly, but she and her husband got worse. She needed to take several weeks off work. From mid-January, she developed constant headaches and became noise and light sensitive. She also experienced tiredness, dizziness, and trouble breathing. She sometimes found it difficult to think clearly and to ‘find the right words.’ She felt in a ‘pit of treacle.’ She felt ‘scared’ about her future. She worried about whether she would recover and be able to return to normal life. She also worried ‘as a mum’ about what would happen to her children if either she or her husband didn’t recover. From February she had good and bad days, with some slow improvement. She mostly feels better now, but sometimes still finds it difficult to ‘process’ a lot of noises at the same time. She feels she is now able to ‘function’ in all her family and work roles.

She thinks it took her longer to recover because she had to try to juggle work alongside looking after her young family during lockdown: ‘There was just so many plates to keep spinning.’ She feels lucky to have had help from her child minder and close family and friends. She has also had support from her work and line manager.

She didn’t have much contact with her GP. She thinks she has been relatively lucky compared to others with Covid. She sees herself as having lingering symptoms of Covid but said: ‘I don’t know if I necessarily see myself as someone who had Long Covid.’ She hasn’t looked for information or online support about Long Covid.

Penny’s advice to others with longstanding symptoms is to be gentle to yourself and give yourself permission and time to recover. She wants people to appreciate that Covid can be a serious illness.