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Leah Panapa: How Covid-19 messes with your mind

Opinion 03/04/2020

Opinion piece by Leah Panapa

I went to the Doctor the other day, well, she rang me because the doctors at the medical centre I go to aren’t physically seeing patients anymore and I described my symptoms to her over the phone.

I have had a very sore throat for a little over a week, my voice was getting raspy and gradually my nose was starting to hurt (quite bizarre but that's the only way I can explain - like it was all crusty and hard inside -sorry TMI) I also was using my inhaler more than I usually did, and that was worrying me.   

I am deemed an essential worker and still going into work every day. I have been stringent with hand washing, wiping down my studio, I have my own headphones and pop sock (a piece of foam you put over a microphone to minimize the ‘pops’... (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.....).

I am even taking in my own utensils so when I make a coffee it is my cup/teaspoon along with only eating what comes from home.  I have a studio all to myself and have been making sure I stand at least 2 metres from the few people that are still in the building when I get there, in fact my newsreader Richard Baddilly and I are now practically yelling at each other as we are standing so far apart!

So to have a sore throat and slight breathing issue was playing wonders on my anxiety and I am telling you this because I wonder how many other essential workers are now questioning a slight tickle in the throat or any other niggle.

I would not have continued to go to work if I really thought I had contracted Covid19 and I was upfront with my manager saying my throat was sore.. so back to the doctor, going through my records and recent previous conversations she worked out I had a sinus infection and has prescribed the appropriate medication, including a better inhaler for me.. (it's not easy being wheezy).  I also received a flu shot and the nurse took my temp which was normal.

I want to assure people that I know at this time we can let anxiety and concern run away with us, and my fear everyday is that I will bring home this deadly killer to my husband who is deemed in the vulnerable category. It messes with your mind!

I have heard from many of my listeners that are still working and they too are concerned more about their families and loved ones that they go home to every night.  

What I have learnt is I am taking all the precautions possible and I cannot let my mind run away with me. I hope for those that are struggling with that too know you are not alone.