Sam’s COVID story

Sam Martin 1

COVID-19 is not an old person’s disease.

That’s the message from otherwise healthy 26-year-old Sam Martin, who grew up in Bellbrae and lives in Melbourne, where he is still sick with COVID-19, more than a month on from diagnosis.

After developing a runny nose one afternoon (and initially thinking it was due to the cold weather), Sam got tested and went home.

The next day he got the call to say he was positive. Sam doesn’t know how he contracted it.

“Over the next 24 hours I started developing flu-like symptoms – aches, pains and chills – and deteriorated from there,” he said.

Sam’s symptoms worsened over the next few days. His temperature shot up to almost 40 degrees and he started to experience shortness of breath.

Six days from diagnosis, he was hospitalised, where he received oxygen therapy.

As Sam lay in hospital, his partner Sarah Robson was also diagnosed with COVID-19 and hospitalised a few days later.

“I had to isolate from Sarah while at home and then I was sent to hospital where I couldn’t see her or any members of my family.”

Both Sam and Sarah work as nurses/midwives, although Sam was not working in a clinical role at the time so wasn’t seeing patients.

“When you test positive, you’re on your own. My medical background helped me to understand my condition and allay my fears, but I feel so bad for other people who have to lay in hospital all alone not knowing what’s going to happen.”

Sam still hasn’t recovered and is taking things day by day. He gets breathless if he’s talking on the phone for too long and can only stand for short periods.

Sarah also isn’t well. Despite feeling better at one point, she then deteriorated and was close to being hospitalised again.

“This disease affects all ages, fitness levels and health conditions. You’re never going to know which person is going to become really unwell. It’s only a matter of time before we have people in their 20s dying from this,” Sam warns.

“As a young person, you might be one of the lucky ones, who is asymptomatic, but if you’re doing the wrong thing by coming into close contact with others, regardless of how old or healthy they are, the effects could be devastating. That’s why the restrictions are in place.”

“Please do the right thing and abide by all the rules. People get complacent – that’s what happened in Melbourne – but you can’t afford to be.”

Sam’s final piece of advice: “When they say get tested if you have any symptoms, no matter how mild, they really, really mean it. And when you do get tested, go straight home.”

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