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What Omicron is like

Hi - I’m new to this forum, and one thing I can’t see in this category is anyone saying they’ve caught it. I have, so I thought I’d share some information in case it helps anyone, as I’m sure we’re all as worried about Omicron as we were about previous variants.

Brief background: I’m 16 months on from a stem cell transplant for lymphoma. I’ve never know how well my immune system has recovered since then, so Covid’s been a real worry.

Last week I caught it, and based on the symptoms it seems to be Omicron. The anecdotal evidence matches my experience: it’s a bad cold. The sore throat was awful initially but cleared in a few days. It was unfortunately replaced by a bad, wet cough, producing incredible amounts of phlegm (and another sore throat). Combined with the constant blocked or runny nose, it’s made sleep nearly impossible.

Taste and smell went about a week in. An unexpected symptom has been pressure and pain in both ears, also causing dizziness and a bad headache. And the fatigue has not been easy, though that could be the poor sleep as much as anything.

It’s clearly a milder variant, but it’s not to be sniffed at. About 10 days after symptoms started, I’m still pretty unwell here.

However, I didn’t come here to scare people. My biggest worry with Covid has always been breathing problems, having to end up on a ventilator, and worse. But I can say that, touch wood, that hasn’t been as issue at all as my breathing’s been fine throughout. And as a result I’ve been variously annoyed, baffled and depressed by this interminable virus, but it’s turned out less frightening than expected.

So it took a while to get to my point, but that point is Omicron is no fun at all, and I’m desperate to be rid of it, but maybe it’s not quite as worrying as we might expect. I just wanted to give one man’s experience of it, though of course it’ll hit everyone differently. Maybe it’s odd to see my dose as positive but I think we ought to to take positives wherever we can.

Good luck everyone.

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Hi @Cid a great big welcome and thanks so much for sharing your experiences of having Covid, not nice.
It is very interesting to hear though.
I find this forum very supportive and I hope you will too.
We will be about of the holiday period and there is always lots to read on here anyway.
The main thing is that you look after yourself now, we are all very special people on here and be kind to yourself.

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Hi @Cid and welcome to the forum. I think this post is extremely useful. It’s good to hear how people manage with Covid and to identify with some of the symptoms. I look forward to you posting more in the future :blush:

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Hi @Cid welcome to the forum, did you do any covid tests?

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Hi Cid, as daunting as this virus is, your experience, which sounds awful, gives me a bit more reassurance. Thank you.

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Hi @Jambo a great big welcome to our forum.
I look forward to hearing more about you.
Look after yourself and please keep posting

Hi @Billy1mate - I did tests yes. I got symptoms first on Tuesday 14th, then did an LFT on the Thursday, which was positive as expected. I didn’t see much point doing a PCR as I was going to isolate anyway, but eventually I did a PCR on Wednesday 22nd (came back positive Christmas Day).

One annoying aspect of all this is the appearance of the new medication they’ve started offering clinically vulnerable people who catch it. I had an email saying if I have a positive PCR test, a clinician will phone me to discuss possible extra treatment. Sadly I didn’t get this email until December 20th, by which time it had been nearly a week of symptoms, so when I did the PCR, and got the phone call, I was told I’d had symptoms too long to get any of this medication (need to be in the first five days of symptoms they said). Just unfortunate timing for me really, but the point is if you do get symptoms, do a PCR immediately for your best chance at extra meds - presumably molnupiravir.

Amazingly I’m still sick now, two weeks later. It’s dragging on hard and it seems there’s little I can do but hope it clears off eventually. For anyone who gets it, a couple of tips:

  • I’ve badly lost my appetite and it strikes me the lack of calories I’m putting in me is not helping my recovery, so having high-calorie stuff like biscuits and ice cream around the place is very handy
  • sleeping can be awful, but I’ve found sleeping propped upright (or half lying/half sitting I guess) definitely helps breathing

But better than all that, don’t catch it!

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Thanks @Cid your experiences and handy hints will be so useful to others.
My healthy, triple vaccinated, 48yr old son tested positive 2 wks ago.
He is still very tired, he has just got rid of headaches, and has still got the Covid cough, which is worst at night.
He is into cream of tomato soup.
I would say that it will take you time to recover, build back up and be kind to yourself
Please keep letting us know how you are doing.

Hi @Cid. How are you doing now?

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Lady in village got Covid as extra Xmas present from grandchild I think she is vulnerable she certainly shielded, anyway quite poorly with presumably Omicron, hospital but not ICU coming out soon they hope. Her daughter said "well you can’t really expect young people to be too careful can you? I think I could.

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Ah, well, developments. My initial “it’s not that bad really” has been knocked a little, because on Wednesday night they hauled me into hospital.

I’ve been getting no worse, but stubbornly no better, after three weeks of it. They sent me one of those oxygen saturation machines you use on your finger at home, and initially that number was hovering around 93 - not great, but not low enough to justify hospital.

But then Wednesday evening, I got a call from a CAR-T doctor. Turns out - and this is the key information of my post today - CAR-T patients are disproportionately ending up in hospital if they catch Covid. Our T cells attack the bad B cells, as we want them to, but B cells are what attack Covid. With fewer properly functioning B cells, CAR-T patients have a harder time shifting it.

Nobody’s ever told me that and I can’t find it online. If I’d known that, as soon as I caught Covid I’d have contacted my haematology team (I didn’t until a week ago, it just didn’t seem connected). Is that information something that Blood Cancer UK could maybe look into and if true get out in their social feeds or something?

In my case I’m in hospital and apparently my oxygen levels are improving. They’re checking what variant I have to see if there’s anything else they can give me. I didn’t feel very concerned before but I feel less concerned now I’m here, as the NHS are obviously excellent.

But yes, the main message: Covid + CAR-T = contact your CAR-T people immediately, and probably pack a bag.

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I’m really glad they are looking after you. Must’ve have been scary but you’re in the right place. I hope things continue to move in the right direction. Please keep us updated. How are you keeping yourself occupied?

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Music, Kindle and a nice view over London, mostly. Never easy as an inpatient, but you make do.

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Well not to add to the hospitalised group, after feeling like I’d got over the hump and was over covid I too was taken into hospital on Wednesday morning with a temp of 39 and an o2 SATs of 89 overnight!! Extremely frustrating! Turns out the covid has given me a bit of pneumonitis so I’m currently on IV antibiotics and oxygen which they are trying to wean me off.

Trying to see the positive side, our NHS is wonderful and my way through a&e was actually a very smooth one but can’t help but feel bitter about maybe if I had off been giving these new antivirals in the first 5 days I could have avoided this? I’m now on day 17 and they never bothered to call back after my specialist nurse contacted them on day 2 when I tested positive!!!

Hope the gang is ok, and everyone has a quick escape!

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Oh @nbk112 and @Cid very scary times for both of you, yes, we learn what we should have done too late.
It sounds as if you are both being really cared for by our wonderful NHS, aren’t we lucky.
Covid certainly can be unpredictable and takes no prisoners, look after yourselves, we are very special people, and please keep updating us.

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It’s very frustrating that you didn’t get the treatment earlier. I’m glad you are being looked after and hopefully on the mend. Take care of yourself and keep us updated X

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Hi how are you doing?

Any improvements at all? I seem to be a lot like you, stalled in my recovery. I can’t seem to get those pesky SATs above 94% so they won’t consider trying to wean me off the oxygen.

The infection seems to be all but gone (CRP was 21 day before yesterday) so it’s so frustrating to not understand why the SATs are not coming up :roll_eyes:

How are you keeping entertained? Any news on freedom?

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Hi - well they actually let me go home last night. I only live half an hour from the hospital so I think the fact they can get me back sharpish helped, and they’re pretty clear that if I don’t get better they’ll want me back in. My oxygen is at 94 as well right now, though it’s been 96-97 for much of today and they said provided it doesn’t go regularly below 92 we can watch and wait. I’m finding sitting as upright as possible on the sofa (I like a slouch) and breathing as deeply as possible as often as possible is helping with the oxygen.

My infection isn’t gone, sadly. Still producing loads of stuff from (I presume) my lungs in the morning after a hard night’s breathing. It’s not obvious why they let me out as I don’t really feel a whole lot better or different. I’m on dexamethasone for a few days, maybe that’ll help with the lung muck, otherwise I’m just not sure what’s going to happen. On we go!

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Hi @Cid. I’m glad that you are home in your own bed. However, I can also understand the worry of you don’t necessarily feel any better.
I’m glad they have been firm telling you to return if you need to. Just make sure do.
Please take care and keep us updated. Sending special wishes your way.

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Hi @nbk112. Really great to get an update. Frustrating for you as well that it’s taking a while to improve How are you feeling in yourself and keeping yourself entertained? Sending special wishes your way to.

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