Returning to Health – Our Personal Virus Experience in 2020

by Jeannie Di Bon, January 3rd, 2021

Returning to Health – Our Personal Virus Experience in 2020

2020 was an incredibly challenging year for everyone on so many levels. With a history of pneumonia and bronchiectasis I was naturally worried about catching the virus. When things became serious in the UK, my family practised strict isolation. We limited our visits to the supermarket, we washed our hands constantly and carried hand sanitiser when we did go out. We even left our post for 2 days before opening it to limit any exposure.

But in December 2020, my son’s school became a hotspot and he caught the virus. He went into isolation straight away. I disinfected the whole house, but it was too late. Both my husband and I caught the virus within days.

I admit I was scared. I waited for a cough, a chest infection, a rapid deterioration in my health. But I seemed to only encounter muscle pains, a severe headache that lasted days and extreme fatigue. However, my husband, aged 53 and hadn’t been ill for 10 years, was not so lucky. After one week of declining health, he was admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties.

It was the most terrifying week of our lives as we waited for him to respond to treatment. The NHS was amazing. My husband came home to recover after a week. But whilst in hospital, he made the following observations about the leadership capabilities of the NHS. I wanted to share his beautiful words here:

“I recently spent one week in hospital with severe double pneumonia from Covid. As someone deeply passionate about people and organisations, despite my personal challenge I could not avoid noticing and observing some inspiring traits of true leadership exhibited by the NHS doctors and nurses:

Selfless focus on the tasks at hand.

Revelation of competence acquired through methodical preparation and repetition.

Continuous practice of genuine empathy.

Being fully present – what matters is what is happening now.

Ability to operate calmly and reassuringly in conditions of stress and significant workload.

Open, inclusive and supportive communication.

Palpable sense of purpose.

I am used to corporate and entrepreneurial contexts where every thought and action is, directly or indirectly, linked with some form of tangible reward. What I experienced first-hand was the dedication of professionals completely focused on helping others in need of their expertise and care. No “incentive”. No “validation”. No “social proof”.

A humbling lesson in authentic leadership and spirit of service.

Wishing you an inspiring 2021!”

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Kirsty Lothian - 6th January 2021

Thank you for writing this – seeing in black and white is believing and most affirming. Please be sure to share with the PALS of the hospital as the staff will hear.


    Jeannie Di Bon - 12th January 2021

    Thank you very much for your kind words. We have had many nurses writing to us thanking us too.