An Orange mother says she was so unwell she couldn't get out of bed to look after her sick children when the whole family was struck down with the coronavirus recently.
Cathryn Buckerfield had just received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and her family had been abiding by COVID-19 restrictions when a member of the household was unknowingly exposed to the Delta variant.
That person got tested as soon as they showed their first symptom and isolated in a separate part of the house but it was too late. The disease rapidly spread to every family member, who were tested on September 1 and received positive results.
Mrs Buckerfield wants people to know it is "not just the flu", it affects children, and she is urging people to think carefully about getting vaccinated and consider children and those who cannot protect themselves.
She said all three of her daughters, Dimity, Paxton and Olivia, who are aged from eight to 15, suffered agonising abdominal pain, lethargy, shortness of breath, sore aching eyes, diarrhoea, temperatures, body aches, blocked noses so they couldn't smell, as well as niggling coughs.
"The 10-year-old, [Paxton] had it the worst, and she's ultra fit, she goes out running every night," Mrs Paxton said. Her symptoms included spiked temperatures, hallucinations, delirium, terrible pain in her joints and limbs, plus a rare lattice type rash, livedo reticularis, that led Mrs Buckerfield to call for medical assistance.
Dimity, eight, screamed on a number of nights in excruciating abdominal pain, which Mrs Buckerfield said made her feel helpless because there was nothing she could do to stop it. Olivia, 15, also had that pain as well as bad headaches.
"We got hit with so many symptoms people don't see," she said.
"Having so many people in the house sick at once, there was no reprieve. There were a couple of days where I was broken, I was tired, I was emotional, there were so many days where I saw my kids sick.
"There was a moment when I felt like I was failing. You are stuck at home, you don't have a support network that can come and give you a hug."
Mrs Buckerfield woke exhausted and her oxygen levels "weren't great " on one of her worst days.
"I had an excruciating headache, I went back to bed and didn't get up until 2.30pm," she said.
Although experiencing her own symptoms, including headaches, an extremely sore throat and exhaustion, Mrs Buckerfield said she would get up in the night to check on her children's breathing and for the first night two of the girls slept in her room.
As they approached the end of their quarantine period some symptoms such as headaches, sore throats and swollen glands, persisted but otherwise they felt much better.
Mrs Buckerfield returned to teaching her Canobolas Rural Technology High School students, and the girls are also resumed lessons with Orange Christian School. She said both schools were supportive as were family and friends who dropped off food and medication outside.
Newcrest also delivered food as part of its community support program. The family was also grateful to police, nurses and doctors for their help.
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