When Christmas fun turns into COVID

When Christmas fun turns into COVID
Posted on Wed 19 Jan 2022

Written by Hannah Diviney, author, activist and client of CPA. She writes a regular column for CPA exploring her journey with cerebral palsy and activism.


Hi friends,

I hope you’re all doing OK in these ridiculously challenging times. It’s not been the best start to 2022, has it? But hopefully, once we get through this (whenever that day comes) it’ll only be up from here.  At the end of last year, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to be sharing with you this month or how any of it would translate into words I could share because the plan was that I would be spending the festive season having a big family Christmas, seeing my aunty and uncle who live in Melbourne for the first time in over two years, and just having a fun, free summer that was entirely the opposite of that big blank stretch of lockdown we all went through.

But you know what they say about best-laid plans… Instead of all of that, my family and I spent Christmas with COVID. Over the course of a week, all five of us got it, resigned to the fact that isolating from each other at this time of year, especially given how much I rely on other people for self-care, was a pretty fruitless exercise. We figured whatever happened we’d ride it out together, around a Christmas table rather than each of us eating plates heaped with turkey, ham and all the trimmings behind our own bedroom doors.

Now before we go into the specific details of my experience with symptoms and the like, I just want to clarify a few things: First, I was double vaccinated prior to getting COVID and a stickler for wearing a mask/social distancing whenever I went out and felt it necessary. I also am in the extremely privileged position of not having any secondary conditions that stem from my Cerebral Palsy. I know that’s a rarity, so it definitely feels important to flag that, because having secondary conditions obviously impacts how your body is going to react to an illness designed to attack the respiratory system and other organs.

While my symptoms would probably be classified as ‘mild’, (a term I hate because it completely undermines the potential seriousness of the illness,) they were still highly unpleasant and some linger.  COVID arrived for me on Boxing Day in the middle of an intense boardgame, by way of a savage headache that felt like someone was literally trying to split my skull open. From there, it wasn’t long before the muscle aches began, (something I thought I knew pretty well because I live with them every day) but these were sharp and constant, making me feel like my bones were on fire. Nausea and vomiting quickly followed suit. Fatigue swept in too, a deep and altogether wringing out of energy. A runny nose and a cough were the grand finale, each day bringing a new symptom and the nights a reliance on Codral Cold & Flu tablets – I would recommend stocking up on those!

All of this rendered me pretty useless for a couple of day so I slept, ate food when I could and kept a watchful eye out for any trouble breathing or signs of dizziness which mean you should call an ambulance right away. There were a few chaotic moments of light headedness but all in all, I’ve recovered well. I’m one of the lucky ones and I know that every single day. I will keep making noise about how this is a terrifying time for disabled people and their families everywhere, but with all the misinformation floating around I wanted you to hear firsthand how it was for me in case anyone finds that helpful.

I’ll see you lot in February! Stay safe x

There’s a new and exciting voice on Sydney's airwaves – Aaryan Shah, a 20-year-old university student and long-term part of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance community who hopes to one day host his own weekly sports show!

The 18th edition of the 20/twenty Challenge, Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s annual team fundraising event, was a massive success, raising almost $400,000 to purchase much-needed equipment and assistive technology for kids with cerebral palsy!