Voices from the UK's pulmonary hypertension community
Liam Venables’s wife Jayne has pulmonary hypertension and the whole family contracted COVID-19 in the summer of 2022.
“The last couple of years have been very scary. We hibernated; we just closed everything. We had laminated sheets on the gates and in the window saying, ‘do not enter, vulnerable person in this house.’
Our son Jack had just gone into the army but was sent home during the first lockdown and he couldn’t even go out for a drink on his 18th birthday.
Our daughter Lucy was very anxious about going back to school in case she brought covid back. She was really upset and don’t want anything to happen because she thought that if it did, it would be all her fault.
She used to come in from school, take her uniform off outside, and put it in a box where it was sprayed. She would then have a shower, and then the uniform would go in the wash. It was like an airport security baggage check.
In some ways it has all brought our family closer together, but we have had arguments and screaming matches too. We then rally together again though.
For me, going out was quite scary.
But I think I went out for my own sanity, for my mental health, and for Jayne’s mental health.
I know we have been living in close quarters since Jayne was diagnosed [with PH], but with the added pressure of covid, it got to me quite a bit. I needed to get out just to have five minutes away from the situation.
Jayne couldn’t get away from the situation. She is stuck with this horrible illness. She is quite a strong person so would just get on with it, but I had to get out for a little bit.
I remember going to the DIY store and as I got up to it, it suddenly dawned on me that it was scary.
We had to queue outside and even though it was outside I felt claustrophobic. I felt dirty.
I was petrified of Jayne getting covid back then and I still am now.
All four of us [in the family] came down with it last week. I felt like I had been hit by a bus, reversed over, and driven over again, so I don’t know what Jayne was going through.
It was very scary. I was laying there [at night] just listening [to her]. I think even Jack was petrified and Lucy was scared as well. I don’t want to go through that again, it was horrible.
What’s helped me? That’s a difficult one. Knowing that they’ve got it, so they say, under control and the vaccines are working has helped.
But there’s still that thought that ‘is there going to be another variant that comes round and is it going to start all over again’?
Although we are prepared for it, are we actually really prepared for it to come back a lot stronger?
The last couple of years for me, personally, have been a black hole. I try and blank it out. It was just a horrible two years to go through.”
You can hear from Liam’s wife Jayne here.
Liam shared his experiences in July 2022, when we visited the couple to record the video below.
Life is short, and that is exactly what the last couple of years have shown us
The lack of control is probably what I struggled with most
I wasn’t willing to go back to work and put her in danger
Every corner I turned during the pandemic was scary, but my specialist centre gave me hope