RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live last night with the host (above) and Professor Sam McConkey (right) and Dr Matthew O’Toole
On RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live last night.
Ms Byrne, broadcasting live from her shed, told viewers that she had tested positive for coronavirus at the weekend.
A week ago, on the evening of March 16, Ms Byrne broadcast from the same location as she had been showing symptoms and was self-isolating.
Last night she said her symptoms had since “abated” and added “I’m not too bad at all actually”.
Ms Byrne said:
“Now I told you last week that I had gone into self-isolation because I was displaying some symptoms at the time. It was symptoms of a head cold that I thought I had.
“Since then I’ve been tested and that result was positive for Covid-19 and I’m one of the now 1,125 people in Ireland with coronavirus and as we learned today sadly two more people have died, bringing to six the number of lives claimed by this disease.
“And when we hear about those deaths, that’s what makes us all feel so worried and so anxious about this.
“So tonight what I want to do is to tell you about what happened to me over the last week. So I was here last week, I was talking to you, I was telling you about the symptoms I had of a head cold that my GP had referred me for a test.
“And really at that stage I had a head cold, I suspected maybe I was moving into chest infection territory but what threw me when I was thinking about the symptoms of Covid-19 and what I had was that I had no temperature at any stage.
“And because we’ve been talking about this so much on the programme, I was very much aware to keep checking my temperature and I checked my temperature three times a day, every day, and there was never a spike in my temperature.
“So at that point last week I thought ‘this is a head cold, maybe a chest infection but no more’. Anyway, off I went from my test when I was called. I drove into a HSE facility which hadn’t been used for a while, and had been reopened as a test centre and a nurse came out in the full protective gear out to my car.
“She gave me a mask, she told me to put it on, she took my details, ticked me off a list and came back a few minutes later and brought me into the centre.
“So the first thing I did was clean my hands with the alcohol, then went in, sat down, was told that I would be asked a couple of questions and I was, about where I had been and what my symptoms were and so on.
“Then I had the swabs done. I had a swab taken inside my throat on the left side and on the right side and one in the nasal passage and that was it, I was free to go .
“And you know when I was leaving the test centre, I felt really comforted because the nurses in there were so professional, they were so calm and they took me through the process with a smile really and they were very warm.
“So off I went thinking that was absolutely painless and then I went and waited for my results. Now, over the course of the next couple of days, the symptoms got a little bit worse.
“The cough that I had became much more ingrained, it was a productive cough, it was very hard to get rid of it or to deal with it and then I had the aching limbs, very much aching limbs, tiredness, real fatigue and I’ve three children here so you can’t really succumb to that when you’re in that position.
“Anyway, the worst thing for me or the worst moment, and I was looking back over some contemporaneous notes I made about this over the course of the week. For three successive nights, I was in bed with that hacking cough and I began to notice that I was becoming breathless and I started to worry about that.
“It was all in the upper respiratory area, it wasn’t down in my chest. I was quite congested but I was definitely getting to the point where I was struggling for breath.
“Now it didn’t get so severe that I felt I needed to call an ambulance or even close but I know for some people that would be very distressing. For me, it wasn’t that bad but it was definitely an issue.
“So when I hear about shortness of breath being one of the symptoms, I for sure experienced that myself.
“So then I got the result and I was told that I had Covid-19 and I can’t tell you what that’s like. It’s so shocking, particularly when you don’t expect it and even at that point, I had completely convinced myself that this was just a chest infection.
“So when I was told I had Covid-19, I was really shocked.
“And then I went into guilt mode because I felt how many people have I given this to, that was my big concern. Obviously I had been self-isolating for quite some time and following all of the guidelines but there’s always in the back of my mind that thought, ‘well before I had symptoms was I giving this condition to other people and who were those people’. And you’re going through the list.
“So I felt guilty, I felt shocked and I felt worried and I sat down once I had processed a little bit and I began to make my contact list out. And it’s really important to do this and I’ll tell you why in just a moment. But I wrote down all of the people who I had spoken to for more than 15 minutes or who had been closer that two metres to me for more than 15 minutes and I did that in detail and then the next day that came into its own.
“The first call you have is from the HSE, they explain about your diagnosis and what you need to do now and continue with your self-isolation and all of that. And then the next call you get is the contact tracing call.
“And that’s where somebody from the army phones you, in my case, and they ask you who you’ve been in contact with since your first symptom.
“Now what I did when I was making my list out, I had actually written down who I’d been in contact with from a few days before my first symptom. But they need phone numbers as well, they need names and they need phone numbers. So if you’re in that position and you get the positive test, it’s a good idea to sit down and to write down all of those details so you have that to hand and you can go through it with them
“And here we are. Thankfully my symptoms now have abated. I’m not too bad at all actually. I think I’m through the worst of it and that shortness of breath is gone and the day before yesterday, when I woke up, I didn’t have the aching limbs so I feel I’ve been through the peak of Covid-19 in my case and I’ve very glad about that.”
Watch back in full here
Last night: Sick Byrne