Sharon Miller devotes her life to helping others find joy and harness the power of positive thinking. The fit 51-year-old, passionate about yoga and healthy eating, is the founder of a firm exporting her brand of positive vibes around the world.
But Sharon, who had been running workshops to help people stay positive during the pandemic, was herself floored by the virus.
Sharon three times thought she was going to die, and she is still suffering more than four months on. She said: “I had been suffering the symptoms of the illness but on the morning of Tuesday, April 21, I felt so ill I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t get my breath, and I couldn’t speak. My voice sounded like I had had a stroke.”
Sharon – whose artist boyfriend Paolo Palazzi-Xirinachs, 47, had been travelling in Italy when lockdown was imposed – was alone. But she managed to phone 111 and was taken to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital by ambulance, still wearing her pyjamas.
She said: “I was given chest X-rays and blood tests and released after four hours. I was not given treatment and hospital staff said I was safer at home. A friend had to call me a taxi to take me back.”
At home her condition deteriorated and the following weekend she found herself struggling to breathe and speak.
“Again I thought I was going to die,” she said. But she was able to call 111 and was taken to an assessment centre for checks. She then began the painfully slow journey towards recovery. Sharon said: “Three times during this illness I thought I was not going to make it. It was horrendous.”
However, people she had helped through her firm Joyworks, which organises events to boost positivity in organisations and businesses, rushed to help her.
“All of the organisations I have worked with were incredible and my family and friends were amazing. I don’t know what I would have done without them.”
Sharon, who lives in the west end of Glasgow, is convinced their love and good vibes have helped her along the road to recovery. But she says she is not quite there yet.
She said: “I was a fit and healthy 51-year-old. I have always eaten healthily, I do yoga and meditation, and I am full of joy. Never in a million years did I think I would get Covid-19. But I did.
“Now I cannot walk 250 yards without a rest because I am so breathless. I have scarring to my lower left lung and I have felt at times like an 80-year-old woman. My throat was sore for three months and my speech took ages to return. I still have a sore throat if I talk too much and sometimes lose my voice.”
Sharon fears that, from her understanding of research conducted in the Netherlands, 80% of people left with long-term symptoms from the virus are those not treated in hospital. She said: “I am not critical of the NHS because I believe they are doing the best job possible under the most unprecedented and difficult circumstances. When I could I clapped for them.”
Sharon went back to work 10 days ago, despite her continuing health challenges. She said: “I still panic going outside because people come too close to me and to each other. It is terrifying.
“The wee restaurant down the road had their tables too close together. I wrote and told them about my experiences and now the tables are two metres apart. It’s wonderful that they listened.
“But more people must socially distance. Teens should make sure they keep two metres from everyone, including each other. And everyone should wear masks in public places. Each of us has a duty to protect everyone else.
“Before I contracted Covid-19 Paolo and I were living the dream. Last year we were in five out of seven continents in the world in between delivering 65 events, including one at the Cabinet Office in London. This year I thought I would die, and I am still suffering.
“But I am smiling again. I am back to work and doing what I love. At the end of my events I always play the song What A Wonderful World. People love it. They sing along and laugh and dance.
“And it is still a wonderful world – as long as we keep a distance, wash our hands and wear our masks.”
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