What happens if you have diabetes and get struct down with the Coronavirus? In our latest episode, Charlotte catches up with a COVID-19 survivor and hear her story.

Diabetic and worried about COVID-19? What happens if you catch it? Charlotte catches up with Lisa Turnbull, a diabetic who recently recovered from the Coronavirus and tells her story.

In this episode we find out:

  • Was she scared?
  • At what point Lisa knew she needed medical help
  • What her blood sugars were like throughout
  • What is was like once she got to hospital
  • What the doctors explained to he
  • How the recovery process is going and how she feels now

This episode may help you understand what you need to be doing right now to look after yourself.

Listen to Lisa’s story today!

Lisa TurnbullLisa 'Before'

Missed anything in todays diabetic and healthy podcast? View the podcast transcript below to get the full show notes.

Speaker 1: Life with diabetes has some highs and lows, but just like in a normal life you can make choices which help to make your life easier, improve your health and well-being. In the Diabetic and Healthy podcast we show you how to do just that. We're here to help you put your diabetes worries behind so that you can start enjoying life with a sky high smile on your face. So let's meet our host for today's show, here's Charlotte.

Charlotte: Hi, and welcome back to another episode of the Diabetic and Healthy podcast. If you normally follow the podcast, thank you so much. And a big welcome if you are new listener. So I've got a really special episode today. I'm actually interviewing a lovely lady called Lisa Turnbull who is currently recovering from Coronavirus. And has really kindly agreed to come on the show and share her story with us all. So just a little bit of background on Lisa before you hear her story. Lisa's 48 years old and she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes nearly 33 years ago now. She works for Estee Lauder and has done for the past seven years. And Lisa loves to read in her spare time, as she says that that really helps her to keep a positive mindset. So this is me talking to Lisa about her very recent experience after contracting COVID-19.

Charlotte: Hi Lisa. So first of all, thank you so much for agreeing to come on the show, and agreeing to share your story with us. So how-

Lisa Turnbull: It's okay, you're very welcome.

Charlotte: Oh, thank you. How are you feeling now?

Lisa Turnbull: I'm still not 100%, I'm still breathless, I still have a cough, I still have trouble going up and down the stairs without being out of breath. I can't do a lot of things still. Some days are better than others. So I just try and take every day as it comes, to try and deal with it. And I do a little bit more every day.

Charlotte: Yeah. Just build things up gradually.

Lisa Turnbull: I'm constantly tired. That's another thing, I can't shake the fatigue at all. I just fall asleep and wake up, that really does stress me out because I can't do a lot because, I'm just literally in bed all day.

Charlotte: Yeah, oh bless you. Well let's start with the beginning.

Lisa Turnbull: Okay.

Charlotte: When was it? Because I know this has been kind of ongoing for a little while now. So when was it when you started to feel unwell, and what were your symptoms at that point?

Lisa Turnbull: So I had about a week or so, about a month ago, constant nausea. It felt like I was sea-sick. So it's like motion sickness, when I was at work. And my appetite was really bad. I couldn't eat. I was retching as well.

Charlotte: So straight away, this is not a typical, or not what we've been told is a typical symptom necessarily.

Lisa Turnbull: No. So the nausea was, I thought was food poisoning, because I thought I must of ate something that didn't agree with me. So I went to work still. I had one day off work and I just couldn't go into work because I was really, really nauseous. I couldn't even stand up without feeling sick. That subsides, and I felt really okay. So obviously I went to work as normal. The nausea was coming and going in waves, which was really weird. I still ate as much as I could. My blood sugars were fine.

Charlotte: I was going to say, you're a Type 1 diabetic so what were your blood sugars doing at this point? They were pretty good, or?

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, they were really good. They were running on the lower side, because obviously I wasn't eating. I was bolusing.

Charlotte: [crosstalk]

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, I was trying to bolus for my food, on my pump. And then when I was eating my food, the nausea come back. So I was finding I couldn't eat my food. So I've had to subsidize it with some sugary drink. I was going hypo anyway at work. So that was a bit weird so I adjusted-

Charlotte: That's exhausting in itself, isn't it?

Lisa Turnbull: It is as well. Because obviously working in a department store is quite exhausting. So obviously I was trying to balance everything out and I was trying... It's like spinning plates. I was trying to control my sugars and trying to get the nausea under control.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So I think it was around the 19th, my department store was closed because of administration. And I stayed at home, I was just at home, but I had this dry cough. And then I had really bad stomach upset, really bad. I just dismissed it, so...

Charlotte: And again, not a symptom that we've necessarily been made aware of.

Lisa Turnbull: No, but obviously moving on from that, I've seen cases that the diarrhea is quite a common symptom. And then I noticed my appetite was suppressing rapidly. I was eating less, and less, and less. I was having hypos. I had to adjust my insulin pump because I wasn't eating at all. That was the point where I stopped eating. And that was worrying.

Charlotte: And at this point were you thinking, "Gosh, this could be coronavirus."?

Lisa Turnbull: I did. I spoke to my diabetes nurses at my local hospital and they said just keep an eye on your blood sugars, drink fluids, adjust your insulin, do sick day rules as they tell you to do.

Charlotte: Yeah, sick day rules. Yeah, we've all had them.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, so I've just followed the guidelines and tried to do as much as I can. Not once did my sugars go high. I never had any high blood sugars at all. They were in range.

Charlotte: And that's normally a bit of... Or I know for me definitely, that's a giveaway that I am coming down with something or that there's, my body's trying to fight something, because you get those uncontrollable highs. So you're in the opposite, I suppose because of the lack of food, but you would also think those spikes would be happening.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, so that was a bit of a misconception. So I thought there's nothing seriously wrong because I know if I go into DKA, I know there's something seriously wrong. But because they were in range I was thinking there's something not serious going on, maybe I've got a bug. I've picked up a bug.

Charlotte: I've got a nasty bug, yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, and I can't shake it. So I was getting shivers, the heating was still coming on, but I was so cold. I was literally shivering to the point, you know when you're actually chattering with your-

Charlotte: Yeah, a horrible feeling, a proper fevery...

Lisa Turnbull: Yes and I was really, really cold. I was wearing dressing gowns to bed with quilts and I was still not warm. And then the sickness was getting worse and then I woke up and my whole nose was blocked literally and I had pains in my sinuses area, so under my eyes, so I was finding it hard to breathe. It was like, you know when you have a really bunged up nose?

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And then it starts to run as well, and you're trying to-

Charlotte: That's horrible. Congested. [crosstalk] your whole face feels a bit congested.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah they're really horrible. Yeah, and also, another thing I noticed is my eyes were severely bloodshot.

Charlotte: Okay.

Lisa Turnbull: Which is quite weird, so I looked very sunken. My eyes were really dark. And I was noticing I was losing weight a lot, rapidly losing weight. And all the time this was going on I had negative ketones in my urine. Because obviously I have to check them.

Charlotte: Check them, yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So this was on the Wednesday, so the Thursday and the Friday I started getting ketones. My sugars were in range.

Charlotte: Okay.

Lisa Turnbull: I was having hypos as well. [crosstalk 00:09:34]. The lowest I went... still having ketones and they were really large this time. So then I had to use intervention, so I contacted NHS direct on the website.

Charlotte: Yeah, and at what point did you get to before you thought, "Do you know what? I can't deal with this on my own, I needed a medical professional."

Lisa Turnbull: I think it's from the beginning of my symptoms was eight days until I intervened with the doctor because I was quite concerned at that point. So on the Friday they called me back and the said, "Right, stick to your sick day rule. If your symptoms get worse, please get in contact with us." And so on the Friday night I was shivering and had diarrhea and I felt so ill. And on the Saturday morning I managed to have a bath and wash my hair and that's when it went all downhill from then. And that's when I had to get in touch with them again and then, my family member took me to A&E. Their... have to let them know in advance that you're arriving.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: There is protocol that goes into place.

Charlotte: What was the kind of process then? So you arrived at hospital.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah.

Charlotte: What happened from there?

Lisa Turnbull: So the protocol basically is, the online doctor, the GP on call at the time has to ring my local A&E department to let them know that I'm a possible COVID patient.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: Ahead of my arrival. So my family member had to drive me to A&E, leave me in the car while they got a mask for me and then I had to put that on in the car before I even got out of it. And then basically, you're on your own, they have to leave you there. You have to go into A&E on your own and then they have to come home and leave you there.

Charlotte: This is another scary bit that obviously we are hearing about a lot on the news and things, that you're on your own. Once you've got these symptoms and you're in the care of the hospital, it is a case of, you're on your own from there aren't you?

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. They make you sit in a chair which has tape round it, which is quite bizarre, so you're segregated from everyone. It's quite lonely, you're just sitting there in a chair with a mask on and they've got this screen and they have to liaise with you and do your observation through a window. So you have to put your arm through a window [inaudible] to your pulse and stuff. So once the process is done, they assess you. There are apparently different points now in hospitals where they think you should go... the severity of your condition.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: So they wheeled me into another part of the hospital, in an outer building. And then they leave you at the door and there's people behind the door that they pull you in, because they're all gowned up and because it's all infection control, so they're all isolated.

Charlotte: Lisa, where you scared at this point?

Lisa Turnbull: Yes. I think the initial thought was, "I've got to do this on my own." And you have to put on a brave face on it.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So I'm quite calm in a crisis. But the fear is quite scary. Because obviously, I think it's the media side of it, I've seen it on the news. I watched the program on Italy, about the severity of it all.

Charlotte: Was that about the... I'm trying to think of the name of it. I watched one the other day. I think it was a Channel 4 documentary about being in the red zone. Was it that one?

Lisa Turnbull: Yes. Yes it was. And that was on the forefront of my mind. So you think, "Okay, let's not panic right now. They're just trying to look after you." And they put you in this room which is probably no bigger than a jail cell. The bed and the door was literally, a person apart. So like a nurse could stand and the door was shut in between. You have a bed, and then the nurses only had a plastic apron on and they weren't wearing respiratory masks, they were just wearing normal masks, so they weren't protected at all. So I had a chest X-ray. The emergency doctors come in to do bloods and they do arterial blood gasses, they check your temperature which wasn't high, I've never had a fever. My temperature was 35.5.

Charlotte: Wow. So even with all that shivering and everything like that.

Lisa Turnbull: Never had a temperature at all.

Charlotte: How bizarre.

Lisa Turnbull: Never had sweats. So they just go through a barrage of questions they have to follow... ask questions. The nurses then came in to do the COVID swabs. I think was the most traumatic thing I think.

Charlotte: I've seen imagery on this and it does not look pleasant at all.

Lisa Turnbull: It's not and they have to get it right the first time. There are cases where you are negative, but you are positive. It just depends on the swabbing process. It has to be accurate. So they go right to the back of your throat, past your tonsil, right to the back. And then right up into your crevice of your nose. So it feels like they're poking your brain.

Charlotte: Yeah. Oh god, yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And it's not just a little bit. They go right in and they twist it and... to get everything. And also the emergency doctor noticed that all my veins collapsed and they couldn't get a canula in my arm for a little while. I was very dehydrated.

Charlotte: Is that through dehydration?

Lisa Turnbull: Yes. A constant headache, so they gave me loads of fluids.

Charlotte: And what was your breathing like at this point?

Lisa Turnbull: So my breathing was okay. I was having shallow breaths. So I was trying to inhale breath and it wasn't going in properly, so the nurses said to me, "Just inhale through your mouth and hold it in and just gently exhale. So it gives your lungs a little bit of a chance to get some air." And they checked my breathing on my back and my lungs at the front. My lungs were clear, there was no crackling in my chest. My breathing was clear, so there was no indication that I had any congestion in my chest.

Charlotte: [crosstalk] or anything.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, they said, "You're lungs are clear." So I didn't need to have oxygen therapy at all because they said, "Because your lungs feel very strong, they sound fine." So we don't need to give-

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Were you having chest pain?

Lisa Turnbull: No. I was getting any chest pain at all but I did have acid reflux.

Charlotte: Oh. Okay.

Lisa Turnbull: It was really bad and I did mention that. They said, "That can be common." And also because you haven't got anything in your system and then you're just trying to... I was trying to regurgitate, if you know what I mean?

Charlotte: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Because I had a lot of gas.

Charlotte: Yeah, on an empty stomach.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, on an empty stomach and that's when then acid reflux was... and it didn't taste nice. And even though my taste buds were gone, I couldn't smell or taste anything, but you could actually taste that in the back of my throat.

Charlotte: Oh. Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: It's horrible. It's very horrible. Very tired as well. And I was very disorientated. And probably I think, that was because I was quite scared.

Charlotte: Yeah, yeah of course.

Lisa Turnbull: And then there was the long wait. And then they just shut the door and then, nothing for a long time and you're on your own.

Charlotte: In terms of your blood sugar levels, did they put you on a sliding scale? How were they managing your hypos, or was that still down to you?

Lisa Turnbull: Right, so I still had my pump on. They said, "Keep your pump going." My blood sugars were fine. My blood sugars were like seven, eight?

Charlotte: Wow.

Lisa Turnbull: And it really confused them. My blood ketones however, was like 1.2.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: So that was... I think they were trying to get that down. So they just put some fluids up to try and get me hydrated.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And then, it must have seemed like a lifetime that I was in this room with the door shut. It was very scary, because you can hear them outside. And then there was another person come in and then it's just, you're trying to block it out because you can't open that door. I can't open that door to get out. And that's another thing. I wanted to just get out of the room, but you can't because of [crosstalk 00:19:54].

Charlotte: Quite claustrophobic I'd imagine.

Lisa Turnbull: It is quite... yeah, it is quite like that. And then they opened the doors and they said, "You're going to an isolation ward." So they mask you up still. The nurses all masked up and they wheel you out into... through Accident and Emerg... the A&E department.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: There was no-one there. There was no patients. The whole unit was empty. There was just nurses and doctors standing there like watching you being wheeled through the A&E.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: You know, usually in A&E you get every cubicle is-

Charlotte: You can't move.

Lisa Turnbull: Is crammed. Not one patient. Not even one person was in there. And that was the scary bit. And I even said to them, "Where are all the patients?" And she said, "No-one's coming in. No-one wants to come in here."

Charlotte: Gosh.

Lisa Turnbull: I think it's initials reaction to the media I think. The nurse actually said to me, she went, "I think seeing everything on the news, no-one wants to come and be treated in A&E."

Charlotte: Yeah. The last place they want to go is a hospital right now.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. So there was more nurses than patients if you know what I'm saying.

Charlotte: Yeah, yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. There was just me and all these nurses, which was... I've never seen that before.

Charlotte: And when you were taken on to this isolation ward, was that all other people that had tested positive for COVID-19 or just, where you just with other people presenting similar symptoms?

Lisa Turnbull: So the ward I was put in first of all is the waiting for results. There were probably positives and negatives in there, but obviously that's like a stop gap, if you know what I'm saying? It's waiting for the results. It takes up to three days for your swabs to come back depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: Everyone, obviously we're in different room. So we're all in separate rooms. So we're not in a ward, so I was in a room with a toilet and bathroom, like a shower.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And they said, "We need to keep you in here. If you need the nurse, press the buzzer." But they have to do the gowning up before they enter room and leave.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So I just went with the flow. Just went in there, sitting in this chair with my drip and it must have been two to three hours I was on my own in there.

Charlotte: Gosh. Did you have anything with you. Did you have like your phone or a [inaudible 00:23:13], you know?

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, I had a phone. I had my phone, that's all I had because obviously, I never brought anything with me. I just brought my blood testing kit and my phone. You know when you think you're going to stay in hospital, you pack a bag, that never crossed my mind at all. I thought, I'm just going to go, get seen to and I can come home. That was-

Charlotte: Yeah [inaudible] haven't got it, and I'll ride it out at home.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. That's not the case. So it is a little bit misleading how they portray it in the media. I think they have to be a bit more honest with you about the protocol.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Because it's quite a long process to get you upstairs into a ward. Because there's a lot of procedures going on to get you transferred, because of infection. I can't touch anything or... they need to be really careful with you.

Charlotte: Of course, I suppose, they're seeing you and they're seeing other patients, it's...

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. So I was transferred on a normal trolley and when they put you in the room, the porter, who was gowned up and the nurse, they had to disinfect the bed that I was in, in my room, before leaving it. They're not allowed to wheel the trolley out.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Until they've disinfected it in your room.

Charlotte: Right.

Lisa Turnbull: So that's quite surreal, because usually they take the trolley out and you go on to you bed.

Charlotte: You feel like you're being treated like a big germ?

Lisa Turnbull: And all you see is eyes. You don't see a face at all and that's another thing, you don't see a face. You just see eyes, because obviously they're gowned up and they're masked.

Charlotte: Masked up. Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So you don't see anyone. The only people I saw was my friends on FaceTime. And there's no real human being to actually interact with. They're not allowed to stay in there with you. They can't hold your hand and tell you it's going to be okay because they... obviously, they're very busy in there.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: And there's a lot going on. There's a lot of things you hear. Doctors walking up and down and people gowning up and then it's quite scary.

Charlotte: Oh, I can imagine.

Lisa Turnbull: All night. All night long, that's what it is, constantly, constantly people coming in and out, footsteps up and down, up and down. They have to knock on your door before they come in. So obviously, just to treat you. And I was very sick, I was being sick, so they have to give me a bowl to be sick, but what they do is, they stand at the door with their protection on and they lean in with their hand. So they don't come in usually, they just lean in. And you have to grab it.

Charlotte: That really is minimal, minimal contact.

Lisa Turnbull: Minimal contact. The doctors outside are saying, "No, you're not allowed to go in their unless it's absolutely necessary." Because they're not properly protected. The PPE side of it I saw for myself was quite bizarre. Even the housekeepers, you know, you still have the housekeepers who come and do your meals and stuff.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So the nurses come in all... with their gowns on and they pass you it from a distance with gloves on.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So yeah, it was quite scary. And I'd so many questions I wanted to ask. You know when you have this, "What's going on?" Don't have time for that.

Charlotte: "What happens next, what happens if I get worse or?

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. So it... there was nothing like that. You had no time and they're not in your room long enough for you to do that.

Charlotte: So you had what? A couple of days like that before you received your results or?

Lisa Turnbull: So I went in on the Saturday, like lunchtime, and they swabbed me and then on the Sunday afternoon, the doctor came in and I knew straight away. I just knew. His mannerisms were different.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: To when I saw him on the Saturday. And he said, "So, your test was positive." It think I went a bit... the white noise happened.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Because he was talking to me but I wasn't get...

Charlotte: [crosstalk] your blacking out slightly.

Lisa Turnbull: And the whole thing was in slow motion and I was trying to absorb it and I wasn't.

Charlotte: Really quite a surreal moment.

Lisa Turnbull: Very surreal.

Charlotte: Because we've seen and we've read so much about this that, to then be told, "Yes, this is what you have." Is, I'd imagine, really surreal.

Lisa Turnbull: I think the whole... I think I've a little bit of a flashback moment of what you see on the telly. Machines, ventilation.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And things like that. And I said, "Am I going to die?" That's the first thing I said to him. And he said, "No." Fortunately, for my case, your lungs are clean, your chest X-ray is clear. There is no congestion in your lungs, so your lungs are clear on the X-ray. Because usually, he explained to me on it... on some X-rays there are lesions on the lungs. The damage that the COVID-19 virus causes, because it's a respiratory disease. He said, "Fortunately for you, there's no problems on that side and we didn't have to oxygenize you." And he said, "You can go home and recover." Unfortunately, I couldn't go home that day because I couldn't get any transport home until the next day. They rung... a little interesting insight. They rung taxi firms in my area.

Charlotte: Right.

Lisa Turnbull: To see if they can take me home. And they have to tell them that I'm positive. And they have to because there's a protocol to get me home with a driver. And every one of them refused me to take me home.

Charlotte: Really?

Lisa Turnbull: They said, "We're not taking her." And it made me feel a little bit rubbish because it felt like.

Charlotte: So would the hospital provide some kind of protective wear for the taxi driver. What would be the?

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, they said, "We'll give you our special respiratory mask to wear obviously." And they're like, "No, we're not taking her. We're not going to take her." So the nurse actually, who was standing at my door... the door, she said, "Unfortunately, no-one wants to take you." And my family member couldn't take me that day. So, she said, "We'll make sure you're okay." So the head of the... is it, like the beds? Like the bed sister?

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: She came to see me, gowned up. She said, "We're going to move you to another part of the hospital, where everyone in your ward will be positive." So they move you on to another part of the hospital.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And this was the private wing of the hospital. So it was the private side.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: Which they gave that to the NHS to accommodate COVID-19 patients, the positive ones. So I was put in there. So everyone in there was positive. And that was a different story, because then everyone was wearing the full PPE kit.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: The eye shield, the proper masks, the proper gowns, the shoes. They were properly kitted out.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And that's when it-

Charlotte: And how many people were in that ward?

Lisa Turnbull: All the doors were shut. So you're put in a room, so you don't know who's in there. So all you see when you go through the door is everyone gowned up in googles, it's like a scene out of ET or some space thing.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Because you don't see eyes either. You just see a pair of goggles. [crosstalk 00:32:58]. Yeah, you just see goggles and...

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And then they're all just standing there, looking at you which is quite weird. They've-

Charlotte: When you said to the doctor, "Am I going to die?" And he explained, you know, that fortunately for you it wasn't affecting your lungs in a way that they're seeing in a lot of other patients, did you... I mean, did that put your mind at rest, or where you still frightened that it could progress, or that they could be wrong?

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah so, there's always like a... it's like a... you don't know what's going to happen. So there's still research going on. And they did say that to me that, "We're still finding out about this virus every single day, about the long time effects or, you know, whether things will get worse." But at the time being, that I'm fine. So that was a bit of a relief if I'm honest.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: But obviously, there's always that insight, whether that's going to happen later down in the line. And there's so many question you want to ask but obviously, they don't know the answers themselves if I'm honest. You're trying to ask them things, and they haven't got the answers. And that-

Charlotte: Yeah. It's just all so new.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. And they said that to me. They said, "You know, we've never come across this before." So they're trying to establish different facts and factors about it or side effects or what we can treat you with. But what they did do was, they put me on antibiotics and they said it was a precautionary measure.

Charlotte: Okay.

Lisa Turnbull: So they put me on doxycycline.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So that was on a Saturday night, so I had a double dose of that. So it was like 200 milligrams of that on the Saturday night and then I had to take one every single night for five days.

Charlotte: And where you managing to eat at this point?

Lisa Turnbull: Right, so I managed to have... when I went into the private wing, into the COVID wing, I managed to have just a little bit of dinner. And I had some jelly and ice cream as well.

Charlotte: Nice. Everyone needs when they're poorly that.

Lisa Turnbull: But I couldn't taste it, obviously. I couldn't eat. My taste buds weren't there but I was eating and then the nausea started again, so they had to give me anti-sickness drugs.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: To stop that. The nausea was still present. Then you... what it is, they're not allowed to enter your room unless you want them to, or they have to.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: So, you're on your own but it was quite nice because I had a TV in there to watch.

Charlotte: A bit of distraction.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, but it's like, I suffer fools gladly, and I put the news on and that's when it all start to get real for me and I started to panic because obviously, I'm there, I'm in the middle of it, and I'm watching it.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And I think that my mindset... and it declined a little bit, and I just wanted to get out of there because I was watching this on the news about people going in and not coming out and I was switching it over and then that was already there, the seed was there.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: The nurses were brilliant. I cannot thank them... they went above and beyond for you. As much as they could do for you.

Charlotte: Yeah, yeah. And it must be so difficult for them in such a caring profession to then not being able to physically come near you or even have the time to give the reassurance that they would probably like to do.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. They... I think it was hard on their part. And I remember one time I was a little bit stressed out and I was a bit upset and I was like banging on the window and they just... they didn't have anything on, so I saw a face. And they were like, "It's okay." They're trying to calm me down because I was really frightened at that point because obviously, I can' walk out that door. That's the scary bit.

Charlotte: Yeah. I suppose you'd need to distract your mind away from that because that's what you can kind of get fixated on and that can make you panic.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, exactly because obviously, it's the fear that if... I can't open that door and walk out of it. And then when they give you food, they have to leave it. They open the door and they leave it on the side. So you have to go and get it.

Charlotte: No matter how rotten you feel.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, exactly. I was feeling a bit better but I think it was, I was really tired as well. I just... I lost track of time. I think I woke up and it must have been about four in the morning, so I put the telly on. And I thought it was like daytime and it wasn't. Because I went in when the clocks changed.

Charlotte: Oh, okay. So you were out of sync there anyway.

Lisa Turnbull: Bit disorientated about time and stuff as it's quite light outside. So I assumed, "Oh, it must be quite early in the morning." And it wasn't.

Charlotte: It's not that early.

Lisa Turnbull: No, it wasn't. And I was talking to my friends on the phone. And Face Timing my friends and...

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: But you can see it, you can see it in their face.

Charlotte: They're scared for you.

Lisa Turnbull: Or they're like, "Oh my god, this is..." The first question was, "How the hell did you get it?"

Charlotte: Yeah, that was going to be my next question. I was going to say, "Do you know how you contracted it?"

Lisa Turnbull: No. So there's many scenarios that go through my mind.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Because obviously working in a department store.

Charlotte: Yeah, I suppose you're coming into contact with so many people.

Lisa Turnbull: But my company, I worked for a cosmetics company on a cosmetics counter in a department store. So my company had the no-touch proper, was it a week before I left work.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: So it was a no-touch rule. Because I had to sit people down and color match them.

Charlotte: Yeah. I was going say, it's not just that you're seeing a lot of the general public, but you're coming into close contact if you're on a cosmetics counter.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. So you're touching, contact, it's tactile, it's a tactile job. So it's quite hands on. They said, "No, it's a no contact now, no contact rule. Gel, wash your hands." I followed every protocol. And I'm very OCD and I'm the cleanest person. I'm very OCD. Everyone said, they're quite shocked because how clean I am that I got it.

Charlotte: Yeah. [crosstalk] you just can't be too careful.

Lisa Turnbull: So you know, you think, "Oh my god, I must have got it from work or someone at work has got it or, you know?" So I couldn't pinpoint it. You can't. They say that. There's nothing. [crosstalk 00:41:29]. Cash as well. There were people paying with money, like with cash and I had to follow the protocol, you had to gel first then take the cash, then the customer has to do the same before they had the money over to you. But that could be another transmission. And obviously I'm not going to touch my face. Because you inhale it. And also, did you know that it can... you can get it through... it goes through your eyes as well.

Charlotte: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:41:57].

Lisa Turnbull: The droplets. Yeah. So if anyone coughs or sneeze, even laughs and talks as well, that can be transmitted. So someone you're having a laugh with, that can release droplets and it can go through your eyes or you can inhale it.

Charlotte: [crosstalk] another reason they were saying early on when a lot of people were going mad on the masks, even if you're covering your nose and your mouth, you're not fully protected.

Lisa Turnbull: No. And that's another thing how people can contract it through. And touch surfaces as well. It can stay on surfaces for a while, like metal, I think it's like 72 hours.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: On clothes as well. Like you... I have to wear a uniform for work and that could be another thing that I could have it on my uniform and I'm going home and then I'm putting it on a hanger or in the wash and it's contaminating everything. That's another [crosstalk 00:43:01].

Charlotte: There's no way of knowing.

Lisa Turnbull: So since that's happened, no-one at my work has been ill or had symptoms.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: Of COVID.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And then prior to my admission, I didn't go out the house for eight days. I had no... I didn't go out anywhere so it can stay on clothing. I could have inhaled it from.

Charlotte: From [inaudible 00:43:30].

Lisa Turnbull: I could have gone to shop.

Charlotte: I was going to say... people saying, and the now, when you go into a supermarket and you wipe down the trolley and everything but we weren't or certainly, where I am, at that stage they weren't doing that.

Lisa Turnbull: No. A lot of them weren't. Tescos wasn't where I am.

Charlotte: No.

Lisa Turnbull: But that's quite interesting. But I used to gel my hands before I touched anything. I think I went to Marks and Spencer's and I got the gel in my hand and I wiped the trolley with it.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: Before I used it. But it's not just that though, is it? It's picking up food.

Charlotte: I was going to say, it's things off the shelf.

Lisa Turnbull: And packaging and it's quite an interesting concept. When it all comes to the forefront of your mind about where you... how many people have got this virus but not knowing they've got it.

Charlotte: Yeah, it would be very, very interesting if [crosstalk 00:44:43].

Lisa Turnbull: The doctors did mention that. Yeah, the doctor mentioned that. He said, "There are people out there who have got it but will never get symptoms."

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And they're just walking round.

Lisa Turnbull: And they're immune to it as well. They're very... it's about your immune system how it reacts to it.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: He said, "Some people can get it and never know they've had it and carry on as normal."

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And then there's people like me, who can get it and then get sick.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: And then-

Charlotte: So whenever we were talking and this voice started the interview we state briefly, because originally we had this interview planned a week or so ago and you were feeling much better and then literally, I think it was the night before the interview wasn't it, you became quite unwell again?

Lisa Turnbull: Yes I did. Yeah. Coughing, upset stomach again. Nausea. I was so tired.

Charlotte: So this is an assumption that some people, they just get better and then, you're better. For you it's kind of almost come on and off or come in waves would you say?

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. So, it's not like... your recovery's not consistent. And I've read other articles about it. But I've got... I'm in a group, I've got people on Twitter that I speak to who've been through the same. And they said, "Oh I'm fine. I was fine the other day. And today I just can't get out of bed."

Charlotte: Really.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. I think it's the type... the fatigue is the worst thing. You're constantly tired. And you're breathless. Like yesterday, I managed to do some washing, wash some clothes.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: But last night I was coughing, wheezing, I was talking to my friend on Face Time last night and I was coughing and I was chesty.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: And I still feel congested. And my lungs were like a burning sensation in my lungs. That's how I can describe it. It's like they're on fire. And the coughing, it just... I just felt so ill and I still feel, I don't feel right still. So today I'm going to get in contact with the doctors again to see if I need any treatment or if I can have some antibiotics or anything to keep my mind at rest because it's quite frightening because as you say, once you have it, you're going to recover.

Charlotte: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Lisa Turnbull: But they don't know how long it stays in your system for.

Charlotte: Yeah. Do you think it's a case of, you need total rest, like your body now, as well, you do have diabetes so, your body's under that kind of extra level of strain anyway. So is it a case of you've just got to let your body totally recover but literally something, you think it could have been something as simple as you got up and were doing the washing yesterday and your body's just gone, "No, not ready."

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah, so the doctor said, "Listen to your body." He said, "This is the most important... it's paramount with this virus. Listen to what your body's telling you because if it's something wrong, there is something wrong." He said, "This virus is very unpredictable." So he said, "If you feel tired, rest." If you can't do anything, don't do anything.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: He said you know, "Don't be a martyr and start doing things because you want to do things. If you can't, stop. Just don't do it. Leave it, it's not worth it."

Charlotte: Well, I cannot thank you enough for sharing this experience with us.

Lisa Turnbull: You're very welcome.

Charlotte: It's really, really been like an honest insight into your experience with it and as we've said the whole way through, everyone's experience will be different and people's symptoms are different but, as much as an awful experience it's been for you, we can take this as a positive story because you do have Type 1 diabetes, and you have controlled it extremely well even through this, it's been controlled extremely well. And I know you are still feeling unwell at the moment, but the worst of this is behind you.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. I'm over the worst of it which is good. I think I went over the hill a little bit.

Charlotte: Yeah.

Lisa Turnbull: But I'm still, obviously, still trying to shake the rest of it off.

Charlotte: Yeah, sure. Well, please rest.

Lisa Turnbull: I'm going to, obviously, it's been just resting and trying to read a book or something.

Charlotte: Yeah, yeah. A bit of distraction.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. So I just need to get my mind off things. I think those are the worst things that what goes through your head every day.

Charlotte: Yeah. And I hope that in a way, maybe talking to me today has helped you as well.

Lisa Turnbull: It has, it has tremendously helped because obviously, it's nice to get it out there, if you know what I mean?

Charlotte: Yeah, definitely. Oh, well, again, thank you so, so much Lisa.

Lisa Turnbull: You're welcome Charlotte. It's been amazing to talk to you.

Charlotte: Oh great. I really do wish you all the best and I truly hope you are feeling back to your usual healthy self very, very soon.

Lisa Turnbull: Yeah. And I just want to go back to work and get on with it.

Charlotte: Back to some sort of normality.

Lisa Turnbull: Yes, exactly.

Charlotte: Thank you so much Lisa.

Lisa Turnbull: Thank you Charlotte. I'll speak to you soon. Take care and stay safe.

Charlotte: And you. Take care.

Lisa Turnbull: Okay. Thanks, bye-bye.

Charlotte: Okay. So I don't know about you, but that's certainly made me think about the importance of our current lockdown situation and just a reminder of the amount of people that we're protecting by doing it.

Charlotte: I found Lisa's story actually quite harrowing and in the grand scheme of things, she is one of the lucky ones. So just a couple of things to take away from this. Firstly, Lisa admitted herself that she can be quite OCD with cleanliness and yet she still managed to contract the virus. So is this lockdown necessary? Absolutely.

Charlotte: And secondly, does having diabetes mean it's a given that you won't recover if you get Coronavirus? Absolutely not. Just as Lisa was saying, everyone is different and you just cannot predict how your body will respond to this virus.

Charlotte: As always, your feedback is very welcome so please do let me know what your thoughts are on today's episode. And it you want to hear more exclusive interviews and continue to learn about living a healthy life with diabetes, please do make you hit subscribe so that you never miss an episode. Thank you so much again for listening and until next time, stay safe.

Speaker 1: This episode has ended, but your journey towards a healthy and happy life continues. Head on over to diabeticandhealthy.com and join the conversation with other diabetics and their families. All the information in this episode is not designed to replace the advice from the health professional team looking after you and your diabetes. Before making any significant lifestyle changes, do consult them with your doctor.

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