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Coronavirus diary: 28-year-old survivor shares her terrifying symptoms over two weeks

Tobí Akingbadé battled coronavirus, and spent days in self-isolation

Hanna Fillingham

Journalist Tobí Akingbadé, 28, has survived coronavirus, having spent the last fortnight battling the illness, which saw her develop a dry cough, fever, and chronic fatigue, as well as body aches and breathing difficulties. Tobí has shared her account in a string of tweets online, revealing that during the worst stage of the disease, she couldn't hold her breath for more than two seconds. Luckily, she is now slowly on the mend, and has revealed that taking paracetamol and lots of fluids helped her during her battle, but that her smell and sense of taste – another common COVID-19 side effect – came back on day nine.

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VIDEO: Coronavirus - the effects on the body

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Tobí Akingbadé, 28, has documented her coronavirus symptoms

Day 1

I'd been informed that I was in contact with someone who had been in contact with someone with COVID-19. Nothing serious I told myself, but I decided to social distance anyway. Later I found out I'd been in direct contact with a confirmed case five days before.

Day 2

I develop a very dry cough. And a swollen gland I developed two days before Day 1 became very prominent. The cough was persistent making speaking for longer than 40 secs hard. I was extremely fatigued. I’m anaemic and well acquainted with tiredness but this was chronic.

Day 3

A good night's sleep did not help. My chest was painfully tight, at first I blamed work anxiety. I developed a fever (was hot and cold at the same time). I struggled to walk and my breathing became shallow and difficult. The muscles in my neck began to ache.

Day 4

Still with a fever and cough. On this day I became frightful of how my body would force itself to sleep. My breathing was worrying and I feared the worst. I called NHS 111 who confirmed my suspicions and instructed me to self-isolate in my room as I don't live alone.

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A persistent dry cough, temperature and shortness of breath are all signs of COVID-19

Day 5

I slept a lot. Keeping my eyes open was painful and a chore. I wore sunglasses to use my phone. The sunlight made my migraine worst. My body ached and my breathing became worse. Coughing didn't help. I could feel my lungs getting heavier, every breath got shorter.

Day 6

Painkillers did not stop the pain. Also, stockpiling trends meant even my pharmacist could not help. Was scared to sleep as my breathing was not improving. Could not hold my breath for more than two secs.

Day 7

I became alarmed when I noticed I lost the ability to taste food. Nearly passed out brushing my teeth as it was obstructing my breathing. NHS were too overstretched to help. At this point I was begging God, I didn’t want to die this way.

Day 8

Twitter said that running a humid shower would help breathing. It did for me. I drew my curtains for the 1st time, still needed sunglasses. Body aches stopped. Migraine not so persistent. Coughed less but it was a nauseous and brought up yellowy phlegm from my lungs. Still breathless from just sitting up, sharp pains in my chest but migraine improved. Body temperature back to normal. Coughed about twice a day. Found the strength to find hope.

Days 9-12

Saw improvements slowly. Was able to hold my breath for eight secs now. Slept less, was able to WFH at times. Called NHS again due to a scare with breathing, unable to get medical assistance but the problem solved itself. Became physically restless on Day 11.

READ: NHS staff in London are gifted electric bikes for free

Day 13

Walked down the stairs for the first time. Thanked God and walked around my garden. Wasn’t sure I’d remember what fresh air would feel like.

Tobí added: "I know the staff at NHS did everything they could for me with the limited resources they had. On a normal day, I would have been accepted into A&E. It was touch and go. Also, I was not tested. I've lost several days of my life to this illness. Many others have lost their lives. You can do your part by staying at home, stop joking around and take it seriously. I'm a healthy 28-year-old & it hit me hard. I’m grateful to have recovered but I will continue to do my part."

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