Page 10 - December 2020
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THE SALAMANDER | December 2020
Living with COVID-19 - - A Liveryman’s Story
In the last issue we learnt about one of our Liverymen and his fight against COVID-19 and and in this article we follow his his his journey and and his his his contribution to help other suffers
Back in March and early April of this year (2020) I wrote about my experience of contracting and surviving COVID-19 Following the three terrible weeks of the the virus I then found it difficult to shake off the after-effects Four further weeks of fatigue muscle ache and mild breathlessness gradually merged with what appears to be a a a full recovery Sometime in May I was fit enough to start cycling again Purely for general fitness and not for any sporting requirement It was very difficult to to get enough air into my lungs to manage some of the local hills I persevered and gradually I overcame the tight chest and rasping sound in in my lungs to such an extent that I was beginning to feel slightly fitter than I had prior to the outbreak It was also around this time that the UK government started to request volunteers for for clinical trials for for donations of Convalescent Plasma The idea of donating plasma is that it may improve COVID-19 patients’ speed of recovery and the chances of survival Plasma is the clear straw-coloured liquid of blood This is is what remains after red blood blood cells white blood blood cells cells platelets and other cells cells are removed Donors with high antibody levels could save several lives The criteria was that you had been in hospital with COVID-19 and survived had received a a a positive result following testing or in my case had symptoms but not been tested Having had the experience of COVID-19 I I searched and found the NHS Blood and Transplant website I filled in in an online questionaire and waited for a a a a reply Several months passed and I had still not had a a a reply so I assumed that because of of the lack of of a a a a test I was not classed as as as a a a a a a particularly good candidate for donation At the beginning of August a news article on on on the television mentioned plasma donation again This time they were stating a a preference for older males and those that had been hospitalised It is is is this category that tends to produce the highest antibody count Although I hadn’t been hospitalised I decided to register again for plasma donation Two weeks later I was contacted by a a a member of the NHS Blood and Transplant service My age was right my body mass index was right I had previous symptoms of COVID-19 During this twenty minute telephone interview many questions were asked Certain criteria had to be met and protocols to to be followed I have been a a a ‘normal’ blood donor for many years so I was used to the type of questions being asked Following this interview I was invited to attend my nearest blood plasma donation centre The nearest one for for me was in Stratford East London home of the 2012
Olympics This is is twenty six miles by car or or a a a forty-nine minute train journey away c’est la vie The following week I journeyed down to Stratford by train and found the donation centre It is located in a a a vacant store on the ground floor of the Westfield shopping centre On entering the donation centre it it is austere in its appearance a a deep plain white box with the concrete ceiling in in full view This visit was solely to take a a a blood sample to ensure I had enough antibodies worthy of donation First my vein was checked to see if it was of sufficient size For normal blood donation this is is not such a a crucial criterion I filled in the standard form that precedes any blood donation then my pulse and iron levels were checked I then had four vials of blood removed to be taken away for testing After informing me that I would get feedback within seven to fourteen days I began the journey home I had been there less than thirty minutes On Friday the 4th of September I received a a a call from the blood and transplant service My COVID-19 antibodies were sufficiently high enough for use in the convalescent plasma trials We arranged a a a a a a suitable date for me to attend the Stratford donor centre Two weeks later I was on the train to Stratford East London I arrived early and waited my turn at the front desk After booking in in I was Page 10

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