Our Covid Story

It has been a rather eventful month! As some of you may know, this (August) was our month of covid. We were so looking forward to our first camping trip after 6 months and on the morning of our fully packed departure I found out I was in contact of a client with covid. Camping was cancelled, again, and we were in quarantine as I tested positive, subsequently as was Jason. I know some of you have experienced this and have been a wonderful source of information and re-assurance. Thank you! In truth, it was an extremely difficult month. The emotional stress and toll it takes out of you was, certainly in our experience, one of the most difficult things we have ever gone through, living separately and with restrictions indoors. All this and we had it very easy compared to most. It is clear, with loads of reading, that every person seems to have a different experience. One commonality for all the variability of symptoms is the intense stress and worry. No matter how good you think you have been, you will worry that it wasn’t enough to prevent spread. I can only beg you to take it more seriously and extremely grateful we were strict. I would have never known I was positive, honestly my contact was not a sufficient contact to be have considered high risk, I have had longer and closer risk with positive clients and then tested negative. I fortunately could immediately test as my client was a Dr and I am a healthcare worker. We have protected our kids the best we could and they have shown little to no illness, 3 weeks later I can finally relax the worry, I only made my husband sick, and for the most part he didn’t even know or feel sick. We are very grateful for those blessings. So little is certain with this virus. It is the uncertainty, the loss of control and fear that got to me. I have always had an ethical debate within myself on the isolation and inability to see loved ones that are positive, in homes and hospitals. My worry for my covid contact - a longstanding client (who ending up in ICU) and his entire family of high risk individuals, has been very difficult. Jason and I share a philosophy of really connecting and caring for people. When we work and in life we love getting to know people, their stories, their families, it is such a privilege. The only challenge with this philosophy is that we really feel the loss, pain and worry when those we work with and care about are not well. I think by the end of the year, there will not be a person alive who has not felt this fear, or worse, the loss, of someone close to you because of covid. So what did we learn…

  • Wear your masks and sanitize! Prevention is best as it can affect anyone

  • Stay connected with all those you care about, regularly using what every methods you can, safely

  • Take more vitamins! Drink more water! Exercise safely!

  • Ask if you are unsure or need help

  • Be critical of what you read

  • Accept the things we cannot change, change the things we can and learn the difference, (an old dependable favourite, thanks to my favourite serenity prayer)

Our other concern was exercise with covid. This was my greatest worry for Jay. Information is limited and each person’s experience is different. What can I recommend? Speak to your Dr always, first. If you have the option, check your saturation percentage with a pulse oximeter, heart rate and blood pressure regularly. I have made Jay do this before and after all classes as he will not feel it or complain, but objective measures do not lie. Some medical aids may give a pulse oximeter to you for free with a positive covid diagnosis, otherwise they cost from R400 upwards. Your pulse and breathing rate can be checked with no devices and is a very good measure of health and safety for exercise, from walking to heavy training. The general consensus is to keep your heart rate low in exercise after recovering from any illness and build up fitness. This is best done with supervision if serious illness has been diagnosed. A watch with a heart rate monitor can be a very helpful tool in recovery, one I highly recommend to clients who have suffered a serious illness or period of hospitalisation and want to resume a exercise program or sport. Fortunately it is becoming much more affordable as it has become popular. What are safe exercise parameters after an illness?

  • Don't do exercise if you are breathless, dizzy, in pain or continuously coughing

  • Keep your heart rate (pulse rate) under 105 bpm or at 60% of maximum (seek advice to find out your personalised safe parameters)

  • Keep your blood pressure preferably under 120/80, seek advice if higher first, your blood pressure is increased during your exercise session, so you must be careful!

  • Oxygen saturation above 95% with a pulse oximeter, speak to you doctor if it is lower and seek urgent help if it is under 90%

  • Seek help from your doctor if you become breathless with normal activities of daily living or struggle to take a healthy deep breath.

What can you do if you are covid positive?

  • Immediately seek medical advice from a clinic or you GP which is specific to you and your symptoms, this is MOST IMPORTANT, take your vitamins and medication as prescribed

  • Search on the government covid information and WHO website for current content, precautions, quarantine information and sites, regulations and health and safety measures

  • Stay isolated/quarantine for 10 days from your first symptom or positive test (if no symptoms), 2 weeks felt safer for me and my work, if it is possible for you. Following precautions at home to minimise viral spread/load, inform contacts of risk.

  • Your contacts/family need to isolate for at least 2 weeks, (preferably from you in your home), as possible as they may become ill after you.

  • Keep doors and windows open around your home, good ventilation is key

  • Take care of yourself, do things that bring joy, stay away from added stress. This too shall pass

  • Breathing exercises! PEEP (peak expiratory end pressure) exercises such as blowing balloons, (fancy devices are easily available), abdominal breathing, postural drainage and breathless positions (speak to your physio!)

  • Graded exercise program or supervised exercise (if you are unsure or breathless - you need advice from a professional)

  • Accept help

So we have got through another caronacoaster. It may not be our last but we will not let it hold us down. We are going away in September on our first camping trip since covid, and looking forward to warmer and better months outdoors. It is really tough, I feel a little shattered really - but know we will pick ourselves up and just keep going, as in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming…just keep swimming” into the abyss of the unknown. You know what you need to do to get and stay healthy, now’s the time to just do it 😊 InsideOut is going outside! We are so excited! It is expectedly stressful trying to do everything right and safely, but we would be insincere not to express pure joy at the prospect. Western province cricket club has confirmed and that is a go and we have just had verbal confirmation from Kirstenbosch Gardens. I know you all are excited, and honestly a little anxious for the transition. We have all become a little more agoraphobic, a little more self-conscious. I am for sure. We need to be reminded of how much exercise helps us feel better, inside-out, even if its scary initially and we not feeling our best selves. Group exercise is therapy in-itself, added with nature it’s the perfect combination of wellness. We all in this together. We have your best interests at heart, and I know you ladies are there to support each other and spread the good vibes. For those staying inside a little longer, we are here to support you. It may not always be easy or convenient but we can guarantee we are doing everything possible to make it safe, fun and accessible to all. Sources: http://sacoronavirus.co.za http://nicd.ac.za http://www.who.int http://exerciseismedicine.org


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