SHANNON based councillor Donna McGettigan is recovering from Covid-19, and she feels that the stigma around the virus is a barrier to effectively dealing with it.
Speaking on Monday, Councillor McGettigan said that herself and her husband have been confined to home for the last two weeks, and she was diagnosed on the weekend before last.
By this week, she was well on the way to becoming healthy once more. “I’m back now, I feel a good bit better, but I get very tired very quickly, the energy levels aren’t where they were. I still get a mad headache every day, a mad blast of a headache, but I know it’s coming. Honestly, I didn’t get it as bad as some people had, I just had three bad days. I was very, very lucky.”
Her husband is in a high risk category, but has also managed to recover from the virus. Councillor McGettigan had a few days when she was very unwell. “There were three days when I was very sick, I was vomiting and the headache was more or less constant then. The tiredness… The tiredness would just hit you… You just felt like you had run a marathon, your whole body was just tired. I had no aches or pains, no shortness of breath or anything like that, so I was lucky in that sense.”
She feels the level of health and fitness she had prior to getting infected stood to her. “I’m always out walking in the hills, I do kick-boxing ladies training for fitness, I tend to eat healthily enough, so I think that helped me. I don’t agree with the gyms being closed, if I have a bad day I’d go in and punch away all my worries, it’s about mental health too.”
It is hard to compare the impact of it with another illness, she feels. “I couldn’t compare it to anything, it was weird and it wasn’t the same one day to the next. You might think one day that you’re okay and then two hours later you’re down on the couch again, feeling like lead. There is nothing I could compare it with, I don’t think I’ve had a bad flu before, I’ve had bad colds alright, but I was able to get up and go to work and stuff. Then, after those three days, I’d have been ready to go out, but we had to keep isolating.
“You could do nothing and your mind was fuzzy, you couldn’t think right. You’d wonder did I get up to do something or what am I doing here, that kind of fuzziness, the brain just wasn’t fully connecting. That’s why I can’t really compare it to anything because no matter how bad my colds get my brain is fully functioning.”
Both herself and her husband have largely recovered now and she has a new perspective on the illness and people’s attitudes to it. “I am very relieved and something I think we need to get around is how people make you feel. We had our house protected as much as we could, but we knew it’d come in at some stage. There’s a stigma around, were you lax in your approach. I think that’s what stops a lot of people coming forward, the stigma of it. So what, you’ve got it, it’s like a flu, people get things.
“There should be no shame attached to it, no blame either. There is a high recovery rate with it, I understand with how Noel is that we have to protect people who are at high risk, but there is a good rate of recovery from it.”
She says that some people are afraid to get tested lest a positive diagnosis force them to miss work, while she feels that attitudes need to evolve a bit further. “People need to realise that I can get it, there’s no shame in that and I can recover from it. There are people out there at high risk who get it and won’t come out the other side, and we need to protect them.”