“There are a few things I haven’t had a chance to talk about yet.”
I’m a loving rather soppy partner and Dad to my kids. I’m an ambitious business owner and entrepreneur. I’m in reasonably good shape and most days I feel like I can move mountains if I put my mind to it, but at the beginning of the year I found myself lying in a hospital bed fighting for every breath after I tested positive for Covid-19.
If you haven’t read my original Facebook post you can read it below.
After I published it, nearly 1,000 people reached out to me offering their kind support and complete strangers shared their most intimate memories with me of relatives that they had sadly recently lost to Covid-19. I wrote the Facebook post because for me it was a way of attempting to process the experience I had just been through. Also to make my friends and clients who weren’t already aware of what had happened to me aware, so the next time we spoke they already knew, without me having to drag all the emotions up every time. I never expected such an incredible response.
The press office at the Horton Hospital where I was treated also reached out to me asking whether I would complete a series of Radio and Newspaper interviews, because in their words, I had articulated my experience so eloquently. Month’s later these interviews led onto today’s interview with Victoria Derbyshire on BBC2 exploring the long term effects of Covid-19 on men in their 30’s.
Why am I writing this?
I wanted to write this article because the one thing I haven’t had an opportunity to talk about so far is the path back to recovery after you’ve been hospitalised with Covid-19 from the perspective of a partner, a Dad and a business owner.
My children are my life and I felt like I had let them down by seeing me so vulnerable. I wanted them to see me as Superman, with superhuman strength that I would use to protect them at all costs. Of course I would give my life for my children, but the experience of getting Covid-19 rocked me to my core. I missed my little boy’s first birthday when I was in hospital but now everyday I hug and squeeze him and my two beautiful girls and I take every opportunity to try and show them that I can be their superman again. It took months of training, starting from a point when I couldn’t physically get up the stairs without being forced to sit down half way up and breathing heavily. But now I’m running again and I can run around the garden chasing the kids or being chased.
I will be eternally grateful to my partner Aggie for looking after the kids for months whilst I regained my strength, for cooking and cleaning after me and for supporting me whilst I attempted to get back to work and build our business again. I wish I could return the gesture but there is no single grand gesture that will adequately do the support she gave me justice. So instead I’m trying my best to do a little everyday to say thank you and I hope over time those little gestures will add up.
Due to a combination of the lockdowns and my illness we nearly lost our business Flashbuzz. We make marketing videos and run social media for businesses but those businesses were locked out of their own markets and simply didn’t require our services. I’m extremely grateful to my business partner Luke who is younger than I am, who suffered with Covid too but thankfully to a much lesser degree and who held the fort whilst I was away for months from the business. Thanks Luke, I always knew you were up to the job and now you’ve proven it to yourself and all our wonderful clients too.
I had to start the process of getting back to work with small gains like trying to sit-up and read something on the ipad for 10 minutes before lying back down because my head started to spin. Slowly I migrated to the kitchen table and then when it was allowed very short visits to my desk in our studio in Banbury.
Our clients were very understanding and offered different types of support in whatever ways they could. This was testament to the fact that I’m lucky enough to have clients that I can now call friends.
What am I doing now?
Possibly the only side effect that I didn’t experience from Covid-19 was a loss of taste and smell, which is useful as I’m now presenting a food review show on social media called Takeaway TV. If you know me, you know that I love my food so this is a great opportunity to blur the lines between work and pleasure and has allowed me to meet some amazing new people in my home town of Banbury that I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing before.
Flashbuzz is growing again now, I know Luke appreciates the extra support and we’re just about to employ our second new member of the team. The pandemic forced a lot of people out of their jobs so even in a small way I’m really proud that we can give two people an opportunity to get back on the career ladder. I think I see the world differently now. I started a new Instagram account called Mr Positive Pants UK where I post heartfelt positive inspirational messages. When I started to get my strength back and after spending time back with my family, I had this feeling of euphoria and I felt like I needed a channel to harness it and pass on some of that positivity.
I don’t take my partner, family or business for granted. I’m incredibly grateful for the things I have in my life and I have a renewed sense of patience for the things I don’t have yet.
What did I take out of this experience?
Well I’m fully aware that the earth is travelling around a massive flaming ball at a breakneck speed of 67,000mph, we can only control our destiny to a limited capacity, spreadsheets and accounting deadlines aren’t nearly as important as I thought they were. Family is everything, friendships are the things that keep us tethered to the real world and if you’re passionate about something, don’t put it off until tomorrow, you need to start embracing it today because tomorrow isn’t here yet and when it arrives it sometimes delivers the unexpected.
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