When Royal Star & Garter’s Surbiton resident Phyllis tested positive for COVID-19, she feared for her life. Now, following her recovery, the 98-year-old WWII veteran explains her experiences.

I wasn’t feeling terribly unwell before my test, so I was very surprised that it came back positive. I did lose my sense of taste, and I lost my appetite, but I didn’t really develop any of the other symptoms like the cough. I was shocked.

A second test confirmed the positive result. I was moved to a different room away from other people, and all my stuff was moved too. It was a difficult time. Because we were spending all our time in our rooms, I was watching a lot of TV. When I watched the news, I was concerned by the high number of deaths and I was concerned I might not survive. I thought ‘Well, this could happen to me’. But there was nothing I could do. I tried not to think about it too much.

When I took another test, it seemed to take a long time to get the result through. But I was so relieved to get a negative result. I had told my daughter and my family about the positive result, and when I told her I was negative, I expect there was a great deal of relief for them. They didn’t let me know but they must have been worried.

The staff at the Home were very good. It was a source of comfort to know I was in good hands. I can’t thank them enough. I feel they gave me all the support they could. They didn’t hold back.

I’ve no idea how I survived. I realise I was fortunate. It could’ve gone the other way. I was very fortunate to survive because so many people died.”

Bernard, a 92-year-old RAF veteran, who lives at the Royal Star & Garter Home in Surbiton, tested positive for COVID-19. Now recovered and having tested negative, he speaks to Royal Star & Garter about the impact the virus had on him.

I had a cough before my COVID-19 test, so it didn’t come as a shock when I got the positive result. The suspicion was there, and that was that. By the time I got the result back, I was feeling better.

There was no time at all when I thought COVID-19 was going to kill me because I wasn’t suffering at all. It must have been very minor because in not much more than a week my immune system tackled it. I had no treatment whatsoever, and I wasn’t inconvenienced in any way.

I didn’t even tell my family until it was over because it was so short. They’ve got enough trouble with Daddy in a home, so I try not to alarm them unnecessarily. The administration here are liable to talk to whoever your contact is in the family. But I don’t think they phoned up. They asked me and I said leave it for a while.

Having COVID-19 didn’t cause me any mental upheaval. I didn’t think that this could be the end of me, because at 92, you know you’ve got a certain proximity to the end… God doesn’t give a sell-by date, does he! So it didn’t cause any psychological problems, because I live with the possibility of popping off any night.

I know it’s been very hard and challenging for staff here during the past few months, but I have never noticed a drop or change in the standard of care they have provided. I can’t praise them enough. They’re so good and I count them as very good friends. They’re the only friends I have now, because all my friends I had outside have departed before me. I constantly thank the staff for all they do for me. My wife was in an old person’s home which was meant to be top-notch, but it was never a patch on this. This is luxurious, and the experts are pretty expert and very knowledgeable. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.