A surgical nurse at King’s College Hospital, who has recovered from COVID-19, along with her mother and father, is warning others not to take the risk of catching the virus lightly.
Aryen Roxas, 22, from Camberwell, developed a fever and a cough in March 2020, and began self-isolating at home, shortly afterwards testing positive for COVID-19. Despite taking every precaution possible in the two bedroom flat she shares with her parents, her mother and father, who also work at King’s College Hospital, also caught COVID-19.
Ayren explained: “It was a truly horrible experience, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I’m a fit and healthy 22-year-old, but I became really ill. I had severe aches and pains, a terrible sore throat and struggled to sleep. But the worst thing was worrying about my mum and dad. My mum has diabetes, and the last thing I wanted was to make her sick as well as me.
“I barely left my bedroom; my mum and dad left my meals outside my door, and when I did need to go to the bathroom, I sterilised everything I touched. I felt like a prisoner, but I wanted to keep my family as safe as possible.” Unfortunately, just as Aryen began to recover from COVID-19, her mother started to show symptoms of the virus.
Aryen’s mother, Esmie Roxas, 49, a sister at King’s College Hospital, said: “It was a terrifying time. The three of us were confined in our flat, bracing ourselves for the virus. My symptoms were very different to Aryen. I had an awful headache and I could barely eat, which made my diabetes much, much worse. Aryen called paramedics out to check me over at one point, as my chest pains were so severe.
“Looking back on it, it felt like we came to the brink of death. I feel blessed that we are all alive now. Even though the lockdown is easing, we’re still being as careful as we possibly can. It scares me so much when I see people behaving as though there’s nothing to be afraid of. COVID-19 is incredibly dangerous.”
Aryen’s father, Arnold Roxas, a healthcare assistant at King’s College Hospital, also developed COVID-19 and was admitted to the Trust for two days, before his condition began to improve.
Once she had made a full recovery, Aryen returned to work where she was redeployed to work on a COVID-19 ward. Aryen said: “I had no idea what to expect: I was anxious about taking on a role that could expose my family to the virus all over again. But I’d cared for both my mum and dad and helped them overcome COVID-19, and it was time for me to do the same for my patients.
“Seeing more people recover from the virus has been extremely rewarding, but it has been devastating to see how many patients have become severely ill as a result of COVID-19. As more public places are re-opening, I’d urge everyone to keep following the government guidelines to stay safe – this virus has already caused so much heartbreak, please don’t take it lightly.”