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Councillor Ann Norton, who has revealed Clare Crusaders has spent an estimated €5,000 upgrading their clinic for Covid-19 without any grant aid.

Councillor Norton outlines “horrific” Covide-19 experience

A Clare Councillor ,who is still recovering from contracting Covid-19, has described the virus as “horrific” for patients who are forced to self-isolate away from family members.

In an extensive interview with the Clare Champion, Councillor Ann Norton admitted she is still exhausted and can only do household chore for about 30 to 45 minutes before she falls asleep.

“At one stage, I could do something for 15 minutes and could sleep for 20 hours. Now I can do something for 45 minutes. I am trying every day to do a bit more every day,” she admitted.

The Clare Crusaders’ Clinic managing director is still baffled about where she could have picked up the highly contagious virus, having taken all the necessary precautions of infection control measures in her home, wearing gloves and a mask.

“I would hate to hear of anyone getting Covid-19. It is horrific. It is so hard. I am so used to being able to think on my feet and be independent and put things in place for Nicole.

“I am so lucky I have the support of my husband, Cathal, the kids and our personal assistant Julia Fitzgibbon. My own family have been brilliant from a distance because they are feeding us and will not come near me.

“I get a craving for my mother’s stew because I am finding it hard to swallow.. I am not surprised older people are very scared of Covid-19 and what it can do. Nobody knows what impact it has on anyone and nobody knows how you can get it. I have no idea how I got it because I was nowhere and wasn’t abroad,” she outlined.

“I didn’t want my daughter, Nicole getting it but little did I know I would get it.

“The kids are joking about the smell of Dettol is unreal. It has been like this for weeks even before I got it.

“When we are walking through the house you are wiping every door and door handle,” she said.

She recalled her throat was like sandpaper and got very dry when she spoke, she had aches and pains everywhere and a severe headache.

She was tested for the virus in the new testing centre at Kilrush Road, Ennis.

On Monday, April 13, Dr John O’Donnell contacted her to confirm her test was positive.

“It never entered my head I would be tested positive. Dr O’Donnell was as shocked as I was. I was in shock and I didn’t know whether I should ask him questions at the time. Both of us were thinking of Nicole and what arrangements would have to be put in place to protect her,” she said.

Ann had to contact family members who are in the vulnerable category to inform them about her unexpected diagnosis.

She telephoned Dr Paul McKenna, who discussed the necessary precautions with her and advised her to contact Shannondoc as no surgeries were open on Bank Holiday Monday.

She said the nurse was “amazing” and the doctor in Shannondoc were very supportive.

“Everyone was devastated. Nicole was a big factor. Before when I was sick I was still able to potter around the kitchen and be there when she was going to bed.

“It is so strange not be able to go near your own child. If I am going downstairs I have to tell Nicole to give her enough time to go into her bedroom, which is the furthest part from the kitchen and she closes the door.

“I am in self-isolation in the hospital upstairs and everyone else is in quarantine downstairs. Nicole has her own routine and will not eat with any of us. She has her own food, water, dinners in a separate area of the kitchen and nobody is allowed to go near or touch it,” she said.

Despite spending a few days in UHL, she has been has been advised she may experience symptoms for between seven and ten days.

“I got a fever and was hallucinating, shouting and roaring in my sleep at night. I would wake up and not remember anything.

During the day, I was shouting ‘someone is ringing the doorbell, answer the door’. I was hearing things but there was nobody there,” she said.

Dan Danaher

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