Headaches, cold sweats, breathing difficulties, aches and pains and extreme fatigue are just some of the symptoms 41-year old Damian Quigg has suffered in recent weeks in his ongoing battle against COVID-19.
amian, who is a former Sinn Féin Councillor, and lives in Killorglin first got ill on December 28 and was diagnosed on New Year’s Eve. Within days of getting the virus Damian’s symptoms continued to worsen, so much so that he ended up in hospital on Saturday, January 2.
“I was thinking why would I need to go to hospital … But my oxygen levels were just 80 and they are supposed to be around 90-100, I think …”
Never did the 41-year old think he would be a candidate for hospital. He is fit and healthy and regularly cycles and runs.
“I have no under-lying conditions. It doesn’t matter how fit you are … It is real… you do get sick. It can knock you for six.”
“I don’t have the lung capacity I had. I am home a week from hospital and surely after a week I would be on the road to recovery but I have a chest infection now. My immune system is low and there is nothing they can give you for Covid.”
“I look like a cancer patient. I have lost weight and my eyes are sunk in. I have lost over a stone.”
The most frightening day in his life was being taken off in the ambulance. He knew he was sick but he didn’t know what would happen and how long he would be in hospital, or if his condition would deteriorate further. “I was in the back of the ambulance just thinking I could die inside. Would it be the last time I see my family? They couldn’t come to visit and the thought does go cross your mind.”
Damian’s wife Nuala also contracted the virus as did three of his four children but luckily they showed little or no symptoms and have since recovered.
The family had been following guide-lines and Damian has not travelled to Northern Ireland to see his family since the pandemic started. He, like many others, has no idea where he picked up the virus. However, there was an out-break in the Mid-Kerry area prior to Christmas which led to a surge in cases in Kerry.
“There is no rhyme or reason to who gets it bad. There was a man beside me in hospital who was 88-years of age and asymptomatic. He did have a high temperature but no other symptoms.”
“The Doctors in the hospital told me they were still learning about it. They did a scan on my lungs and there was Covid on them. They had to wait for my oxygen levels to come up to release me.”
Since being home it has been a tough battle and Damian has started a further course of antibiotics in a bid to fight the continuous breathing and chest pain associated with the virus. The ongoing and frightening night sweats are making it almost impossible to get sleep further hindering recovery.
“I am taking it one day at a time. I was an active person and never depressed but the reality of this does get you down. You wonder how am I going to come out of this?
“The children are at home and you are trying to help but you are lethargic. There is a tough mental side to it … You wonder can you run again.”
Damian has nothing but praise for the care he received in the hospital from the front-line staff that face this daily.
He is urging everyone to remember this could happen to them and follow public health guidelines. He never thought it would happen to him but it did.