I’m a COVID survivor but I feel different on the inside: Tom’s story

74 year old Tom Wolf is a member of Waverley Men’s Shed. Here he describes his experience of COVID-19.

I still look the same from the outside but feel different on the inside.

I spent 19 days in St Vincents Hospital including 5 days on a ventilator, 14 days altogether under sedation and in an induced coma.

I am still being investigated by the medicos and this will be ongoing for some time yet.

I do (and did) have problems post-hospitalisation as follows:

  • nasal and sinus problems, still have constant runny nose (probably caused by the tubes etc they had up my nose)
  • the usual waterworks problems post catheterization, cleared up mainly about 3 weeks
  • mild airflow restriction of lung and mild lung restriction of volumes
  • moderate lower diffusion of lungs…this is one of the major ongoing symptoms, breathless after a short walk (150-200 metres walk on level ground), stairs and hills almost impossible
  • carotid arteries blockage and possible micro clots in the brain being investigated
  • I have moderate to high immunity for the strain of COVID that I had (but that may no longer be the dominant strain)

But despite the above, it just feels good to be ALIVE!!

The Waverley Men’s Shed has reopened, but very restricted opening subject to the maximum numbers allowed by social distancing and the 4 square metre rule. So attendance is by reserving space, which is limited to 10 per day.

I am the vice-president of that Shed, which is open 3 days a week. On the other days I help run a ‘Men’s Cave’ in a retirement village/nursing home at Vaucluse.

This helps the men in the village who are outnumbered by women something like 6 to 1 and never get much input into any conversation.

This Cave is more a coffee club even though the village management have provided fantastic space and a small number of tools. We just have to be careful in recognising the limitations of the aged.

I hope [these issues] will assist the informing of others in the movement about how dangerous this illness is, particularly as I understand there is a huge amount of grumbling about the restrictions.

I remain very positive and want to get on with the rest of my life.

I enjoy my family and friends and currently regret that (in light of Victoria and my fear of catching it again) I have again needed to (voluntarily) isolate/minimalise contact from my mates at the Shed and the Retirement Village.

I attach a photo taken at the Waverley Shed’s exhibition last November with one of my creations. I am a model shipbuilder, I do this (amongst other things) at the Shed.

Have you got a story to tell? Write to us at theshedonline@mensshed.net

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