By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
A Croydon nurse who has seen Covid-19 patients die in front of her has told of the shock of coming down with the virus for the second time in nine months.
Kim Evans, from Addiscombe, works in elderly care at a South London district hospital.
A challenging year at work has been made even harder by two bouts of Covid-19 and the after effects which have seen her lose her sense of taste and smell.
The 53-year-old first came down with the virus back in March.
“It was a Thursday and I felt really, really tired, I was driving home from work and hoping I wouldn’t crash,” she said.
“I developed a cough and felt fluey and by Saturday evening I had really bad chest pain. I was out of breath just going down stairs to make tea in the morning.”
Kim called 111 and was told she likely had Covid and was also prescribed antibiotics for a chest infection.
She lives with her 30-year-old daughter who avoided getting the virus and was able to look after her mum.
At the time, coronavirus tests were not available but when she took an antibody test in June it confirmed she had had the virus.
But the effects from this March infection have been long lasting.
“I lost my sense of taste and smell and it hasn’t come back, I first noticed it when my daughter brought me chicken soup and I couldn’t taste anything,” said Kim.
“When it first happened I was burning food because I couldn’t smell it. I used to like cooking from scratch but for a while I was just eating chips or fish fingers because I couldn’t taste anything.
“I am beginning to forget how things taste. What I’ve noticed is the texture is enhanced, I taste by texture now.”
She says she does occasionally get a ‘whiff’ of some smells, like sweet perfume.
And nine months on from this initial illness Kim was dealt another blow.
At the end of a shift on New Year’s Eve, Kim was given a Covid test and the following day was told she had tested positive for the virus.
The nurse of 20 years said: “In hindsight I can see I was feeling very tired, I ate my food at work and fell asleep at the table.
“I thought it was just exhaustion from working a lot and I thought because I had it before I wouldn’t get it again, especially when I had the antibodies.”
Researchers conclude reinfection is uncommon but still possible and say people must continue to follow current guidance, whether they have had antibodies or not.
Pictured top: Kim Evans
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