The global pandemic of 2020 has affected all of us. Mentally, physically or financially, it has touched every life on the planet in one way or another. As a Charity, we have continued to support our community in whatever way we can. This includes retired civil servant Carol whose husband was recently rushed into intensive care with Covid-19.
When we got back in touch with Carol, she seemed calm and content to share her story. She is gradually growing in confidence after a traumatic few months, spending countless days in solitude, waiting in the living room for the dreaded phone call from the hospital.
Kevin, her husband, was originally diagnosed with a chest infection in March this year. As the pandemic unfolded around the world, Kevin and Carol feared the worst. Both in their mid-70’s they knew they were more vulnerable to the virus. As his temperature and fever worsened, they called for an ambulance and he was taken to hospital.
“I packed a bag for him and I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. Two weeks after that, I got a call saying he was in intensive care. Being on my own and knowing he was on his own, was truly heart-breaking.”
Time passed slowly as Carol waited at home on her own. Her family wanted nothing more than to give her a hug and tell her everything was going to be okay, but due to government guidelines and the need to self-isolate, they had to give what comfort they could from the front gate.
“After a few weeks, we were told that Kevin might not survive. I felt like I was living a nightmare. I couldn’t lose him. I couldn’t get my head around any of it.”
Against all the odds, Kevin pulled through. Defying the doctor’s predictions, he gained his strength and eventually came home. The family were overwhelmed to have him back and relieved to put the constant uncertainty behind them.
Like so many traumatic experiences, they can hit us in unexpected ways. Carol was running on adrenaline for so long, that she was exhausted by the time she had her husband back. Feeling depressed and anxious, she reached out to The Charity for Civil Servants for help. Before retirement, Carol was on the Charity Board and for a long time, our Vice Chair. Familiar with our services, she knew we would be there for her.
“I was absolutely terrified about leaving the house. I was a mess. I needed a deep conversation with someone away from friends and family and I knew the Charity could do that for me.”
Carol had a supportive conversation with our Help, Advice and Services Team on the phone. We helped her fill out the online application form, explaining the range of tailored support we could provide. By talking about her fears to someone outside of her own world, she felt released from them.
“I felt so much better after reaching out for help. I knew that if there was anything I wanted to say, I could say it. It was a weight off my chest.”
As we head into winter, Carol and Kevin are feeling a sense of normality flood back into their lives. The world has not yet recovered from this historic crisis, but Carol is feeling grateful every day and appreciating the small things in life. As it has done for all of us, it has highlighted the importance of helping each other through a tough time.
“This year has been really hard on all of us, but we just have to pull together. The Charity centred me through this and I know they’ll be doing the same for others. Please donate if you can. I’ve donated for over 40 years and never thought I would need it myself until now. It’s enough to know I’ve been helping others all this time.”