Councillors share coronavirus experiences

HYDE councillor Shibley Alam is keen to share her personal experience of coronavirus to reinforce the message to stay at home.

Cllr Alam self-isolated for 14 days with the symptoms of Covid-19 while her asthmatic husband Alhamdulillah spent nine days in Tameside Hospital after testing positive for the virus.

She described it was being “very traumatic” for the family, especially as they were unable to visit Alhamdulillah, who at one stage was seriously ill in hospital.Cllr Alam’s worry was heightened by the fact she has personally known four members of the Bangladeshi community in Hyde who had died from coronavirus.

These include Monsur Khan, chairman of the Hyde Jamia Mosque on Jackson Street.

Of her own experience, Cllr Alam said: “I had the symptoms of Covid-19 – cough, temperature and sore throat – and self-isolated for 14 days. As we know, tests are not generally available.

“My husband then showed signs of the symptoms. They became so severe that he was admitted into hospital and tested positive. His health worsened over time and at one time his oxygen levels were very low.

“Alhamdulillah is out of hospital and doing well, but it has been a very difficult time for him and for our family.

“The scary part was nobody was able to go with him to hospital and visit him. He was scared he might not ever come home and it was the same for us.

“I cannot thank the staff of Tameside Hospital enough. They were fantastic and I am very grateful for the amazing work they did to not only look after him but others.

“I am sharing this to show the severity of Covid-19. I would not like to see anyone suffer the pain our family has experienced. I would urge everyone to Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.”

Cllr Alam is stressing the importance of staying home, especially as Government statistics have shown a high percentage of coronavirus victims have come from ethnic minorities.

She added there will be an additional challenge with Ramadan taking place between April 23 and May 23.

It is a traditional time to visit relatives with Cllr Alam admitting it will be difficult for Muslims to alter their routine.

“There is a clear message being given from the mosque for Ramadan which is pray from your house with your immediate family and not to go to the houses of relatives,” she said.

Cllr Alam has also contacted the three Bangladeshi cash and carry stores in Hyde to stress the importance of distancing.

She added: “It is a difficult and different world for everyone. That is the reason why I put my experiences on social media.

“You don’t sometimes realise the severity until it is close to home.

“People know me and see what I have been through so it is not just like watching it on television.

“When it comes to you, it is a different story which is why I want to make people aware of the importance of maintaining the guidelines about staying at home and distancing.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Eleanor Wills, who represents Stalybridge/Dukinfield ward, is convinced she was stuck down by coronavirus, though she will never know for certain because she was not admitted into hospital and tested for Covid-19.

Cllr Wills revealed her worried young sons feared she was going to die and at her lowest ebb was terrified she would lose her life.

The executive member for health and social care and population health on Tameside Council, who said she had not visited her doctor for years, described being “absolutely floored” by virus for almost a fortnight.

Cllr Wills explained initially she passed off feeling cold and having a tight chest as “paranoia” in the current climate.

Three days later and Cllr Wills said she a terrible headache followed by a fever

She said: “The next day, the Monday, I managed to go down and home school the children for a couple of hours then started to feel really tired and ill.

“I spent five days where I didn’t leave my bed. I felt hugely lethargic and developed the worst muscle pains in my neck and shoulders that shot into my head. My teeth hurt too.

“The fever seemed to always come in the evening at the same time. I would get that familiar cold feeling again and then start burning up.

“At night I would feel awful, insomnia at times then peculiar dreams. I would sweat throughout the night every night.

“On Friday morning, I felt like the muscle aches were a little less and I didn’t wake feeling awful, so I thought perhaps it was leaving me and I was getting better.

“Although I had been really ill up to this point I had been able to cope, but by Friday night the fever started again my chest was tight. I got a migraine and couldn’t see and the muscle pains were worse than ever.

“My worse point was Saturday morning, when I questioned if I could cope anymore.

“I woke up with huge kidney pains. I would sweated all night and must’ve been very dehydrated. I was in a lot of pain and started to overthink.

“My brother Edward died aged 20 when I was 14. He had the flu at the time. My brother had an undiscovered underlying liver condition and by taking flu tablets it damaged the liver. Edward died two weeks later after his organs shut down and his brain swelled.

“When I woke with this pain on Saturday morning, all I kept thinking was this must be hereditary and were both going to share the same legacy.

“I was the most scared I have ever been and contemplated my children growing up in a world without me, something I didn’t want to imagine.

“I spent the rest of Saturday drinking lots of water and sleeping as much as I could. I didn’t see my children for three days while I slept continuously.

“After I’d recovered both my boys said they were worried I was going to die which moved me so much that it had affected them like that.

“I’ve not been to my doctors for years. I am healthy but thus illness absolutely floored me. I can see how it takes hold and how very quickly things can turn from being a manageable illness to taking control of you and that is very scary.”

Cllr Wills, who is back working, claimed to still not being 100 per cent and is suffering from a persistent urinary infection.

She concluded: “I have elderly parents. My mum has a suppressed immune system and isn’t allowed out.

“It’s great to see so many people coming together to care for one another in a time where we are all vulnerable, some more so than others. I encourage everyone to stay at home.”

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