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Tina Nixon: What it’s like to get Covid twice – and why you should take reinfection seriously

Councillor Tina Nixon. Photo / Supplied OPINION Last month on an A320 flight to Queenstown, I was in the exit row beside...

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Councillor Tina Nixon. Photo / Supplied


Last month on an A320 flight to Queenstown, I was in the exit row beside a sullen, hairy faced 20 something who smelt a bit like a one of those new-fangled craft beers.

He clearly was not happy wearing a mask and I leaned forward and conspiratorially whispered, “I have had the ‘Rona’ isn’t this dumb!”

He lowered his mask below his nose and said, “Yeah same, F******g stupid.”

I got Covid for the first time on April 7. It came on slow and it felt like wading through mud physically and mentally for days. The dreaded “Zombie Fog”. It also gave me the s***s, literally. So, I was either tired or on the crapper and had no appetite. I tested positive on day four. A bona fide member of “Club Rona.”

It was a relief to join Club Rona, it meant another layer of immunity! Yeeha!

While working, key words hid in the Zombie Fog, everything was doubly hard. Sleep came easy at night. The “Rona” lingered, and I was in bed by 7pm most nights. Nana naps at 3pm – compulsory.

I was dealing with a complex unpopular project for council and losing words in the Zombie Fog was a good thing considering what I wanted to say to some of the cowardly numpties who attacked me on social media.

Never in my life have a fallen asleep writing a report – but I did, evidenced by sticky slobber all over my computer at 2.30pm in the afternoon. My partner the Rock, David Hayes was crook for days and succumbed to the Zombie Fog as well.

So, the trip to Queenstown six weeks later for a board meeting was a welcome treat. Immune I was, I had dealt to the “Rona” and didn’t need to worry. Freedom.

I posted on Facebook and posed the question – “Why do you need to wear a mask if you have had Covid?”

My Facebook page is a replica of society – I have serious anti-vaxxers and strident pro vaxxers and moderates all happy to duke it out with passion.

My old friend Harry Tam said wearing a mask was to protect others as you could get it again.

“Whatever – Harry,” I thought.

Others, like me questioned that – surely getting it must increase your immunity and anyways second time is also going to milder, isn’t it? The debate raged for days.

On the night of Thursday May 19 I stayed with mates who also had been members of Club Rona.

Friday night was a board dinner with our JV partners. I was the first to head to bed as I was quite tired. I was in bed by 8pm.

I was a bit slow and had a crusty throat which I put down to talking too much.

Sunday, I got back to Masterton at 3pm – coughing and tired.

Bed was my sanctuary at 7pm and by then I was feverish, cold, and sweaty. By midnight I was awake coughing and spluttering barely able to breathe and could hardly suck the oxygen out of the air. I contemplated calling an ambulance and noticed on my Fitbit that my heart was racing. My partner had vacated the house to his man cave in the shed, so he didn’t get my “cold”.

I tried to text him, but he wasn’t awake and knew I wouldn’t make it the 100 yards to get him. I tried not to panic and drank lots of water. It took an hour for the breathlessness to subside and was terrified. All I could think was: “I’m too “frikking busy to die.”

To top it off I also had diarrhoea. No one talks about that much – but it’s a thing. A real shitty thing when you are coughing.

By morning I just had one hell of a wheeze and a whoopy barking dry cough, felt like a half sucked throatie and had a pile of washing to do.

I did a RAT test at 1.30pm on Monday and it lit up. I had Covid Mk 2. I did two Zoom meetings including an extraordinary council meeting to review building a civic centre for Masterton.

Tuesday, I lolled about in bed with chills and a bad cough, but Wednesday I coughed my way through three Zoom meetings, made chicken soup, vacuumed, went for 20 minute walk to the river, did a load of washing, I had loads of energy and was very focused.

Covid Mk1 was very different to Covid Mk2.

By day six I felt like I just had a very heavy cold.

But for two hours on that Sunday night, I thought I would end my days alone gasping for sweet air strangely thinking about my mask-hating flight buddy who smelt like weird craft beer. We were wrong.

Wear your mask. You can get Covid twice and it is not some “mild bloody cough” and Harry, my friend – you were right – you always are.

Tina Nixon is a former journalist and lives in Wairarapa where she is a Masterton District councillor and director.

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