UAE patients recover from coronavirus

What it's like to have COVID-19: A UAE resident shares her journey

24 Mar 2020

It didn't start with a sore throat or a cough.

"I have to be honest until I felt unwell, I was one of those who although I knew it could be bad, I continued my life pretty much as usual," she explains from a hospital bed. 

Leanne Dore was diagnosed with COVID-19 coronavirus this week, joining 198 other people in hospitals around the country, but says she didn't expect the diagnosis. 

It didn't start with a fever, or sore throat, like many cases in the media say they do. Leanne says: "I had diarrhea for three days and didn't really feel unwell, so that felt a bit odd. Then I got a heavy chest and when I lay down I couldn't breathe, just felt scary. A few hours later, I started to feel achy."

She visited a clinic where after other tests and she was tested for the virus. 

"At first they were reluctant because my lack of travel or contact with a known positive." But as a precaution, the clinic did test her, and the result came back positive for the virus.

Leanne was rushed to hospital, with pneumonia - and will be in hospital for at least another two weeks. She struggles to breath, with a heavy chest. But that's not the hardest part, she says - it's the isolation, being in a hospital room for weeks on end is challenging, away from home comforts, friends and family. 

Leanne is a boxer, athletic and training regularly, and at 32 years of age, so is considered in the low-risk demographic for COVID-19, but that hasn't made the pain much easier to handle. 

She says: "My chest has been so tight, it feels like I am drowning."

What it's like to have COVID-19: A UAE resident shares her journey

Leanne (pictured right) is athletic, and keeps in shape, and this virus has caused many problems for her. 

Leanne will be in hospital for another two weeks at least, to ensure she's fully recovered, health and isn't spreading the virus any further. 

She's shared the story to her social media - and now with Ahlan, in a plea to residents to take the precautionary measures seriously. She says: "I wasn't going to post, but I know people aren't taking it seriously."

"So many people have messaged me now saying they need to sort themselves out...so it's had the desired effect." 

She gave a stark warning to anyone not taking the isolation measures seriously:  "I'd say to anyone not following protocol that they are not immune to this, they will get sick or will be the reason someone else gets sick. Being in hospital, away from any home comforts, away from family is no fun. As much as the hospitals are trying to make it comfortable, you're still isolated in a room you cannot leave."