Vaccinate Bristol, Vaccinate Britain

Today’s guest blog is from Johanet Sloan, a registered nurse and manager of Brunelcare’s Orchard Grove reablement centre in Redfield. Johanet is kindly sharing her personal experience of COVID-19, and as keyworker, has received both of her covid-19 jabs. Johanet first shared her story on Brunelcare’s website.

In October, I tested positive for COVID-19 and developed severe symptoms over the few weeks that followed.

At first I felt a little under the weather, then as things developed I couldn’t eat or drink much, I felt nauseous, experienced a loss of taste but I continued to muddle along. Within a week I felt very unwell, I had laboured breathing so I called an ambulance.

I was taken to Southmead hospital and stayed there for a week, getting oxygen to aid my recovery. It was a very scary experience. As a nurse I know when things aren’t going very well so I knew something wasn’t right. I was moved to the respiratory ward and was put on oxygen to help my breathing and fluids as I was dehydrated. I was looked after exceptionally well by the hospital team during my stay.

Thankfully, I made a full recovery, returning to work fully in January. On my first day back at Orchard Grove, the team surprised me by lining the entrance of the building and decorating the centre with banners and pictures and even gave me flowers. I wasn’t expecting it at all, it was so lovely to be welcomed back by the team!

In early December, with other employees at Brunelcare, I was among the first in the whole world received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. I have since received my second injection and think getting the vaccine is so important for everyone. Before Christmas, our residents began receiving the vaccine and the roll out continues to all residents, tenants, and fellow employees.

When I knew the vaccine was available for healthcare workers, I jumped at the chance to have it. Looking back at the experience I had with Covid, I wouldn’t want any of the people we care for, or my colleagues, to go through what I did. It was very debilitating. It’s important to have the vaccine not just to protect myself, but Orchard Grove’s guests, my colleagues and my family.

The process of receiving the vaccine didn’t take long at all. It went really smoothly, the staff explained everything clearly and we were encouraged to ask any questions. They provide you with plenty of information and monitor you afterwards.

The vaccine has brought hope. Everyone wants to get rid of this virus and the more people that take up the vaccine the quicker we can get back to normality. I also think it’s really important for members of the BAME community to have the vaccine as they are at higher risk of developing more serious symptoms.

I know we’re still living through a challenging time, but I believe that thanks to this vaccine there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope.