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Covid: Life on the frontline – Phyllis’ story

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.