Owen Butler COVID-19 recovered patient

Owen Butler said his recovery from COVID-19 has been a slow process.

13 November 2020

Having experienced COVID-19 themselves, Canberra couple Owen and Anna* Butler are fearful of complacency setting in amongst the ACT community.

The couple, both aged in their 60s, say their ability to recover and repair has been severely altered post COVID-19.

“My sleep is completely fragmented now. I go to bed because I’m tired and I’ll go to sleep for three to four hours and then at somewhere between one and three in the morning I am wide awake. This has just become a real problem since COVID,” Anna said.

“We’ve also noticed it not just in our bodies, but in our hair, in our nails. Our nails break easily, we bruise easily, our skin has definitely aged very quickly.”

Given the severity and longevity of symptoms, Owen and Anna both agree that COVID-19 is something the community shouldn’t become complacent about.

“What yesterday was new and exciting is today just the norm. So we’ve had the change fatigue thing happen already, we’ve been through all of these changes … so people have definitely taken their foot off the pedal because it’s not new and threatening anymore. Those people who were frightened are far less so today,” Owen said.

“There’s a certain section of the community that – because we’ve been so good here in Canberra and not had to worry about anything for such a long period of time – there is definitely a relaxation happening, but not necessarily amongst the older people … they’re still prepared to go by all the guidelines,” Anna added.

Owen and Anna have generally felt well supported by their friends and family following their diagnosis, however not everyone in the community was quite so sympathetic.

“We have had some people physically jump about a metre away from you … some people definitely treat you like you are a leper,” Anna said.

Given their personal experience with COVID-19, the Butlers encouraged the ACT community to continue doing the right thing amid the pandemic, including isolating and getting tested if you have symptoms.

“It might not seem like a big deal, but there are more and more people spread across all generations – not just old people dying in old people’s homes – who are having really serious side effects that are going to change their lives forever,” Owen said.

“If you do nothing else, think a bit about the risks you’re willing to take for yourself and others.”

For more information on COVID-19 symptoms, and when to get tested, visit covid.act.gov.au

*Not her real name.

All Canberra

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