The Coronavirus epidemic has left vulnerable young people all across the country without help, when they need it most.

Despite most of the world entering lockdown, Young Devon’s Accommodation services are still running, and our houses are still open. Our fantastic keyworkers are tirelessly supporting young people face-to-face everyday… young people like Laura.

18-year-old Laura lives in Young Devon’s Supported Housing, and is a member of the Youth Council team.

Laura is no stranger to the healthcare system, due to her underlying health issues. But a few weeks ago, her visit to the hospital was far more frightening than usual. Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, Laura was taken from her Young Devon housing and rushed to her local hospital. What she experienced and witnessed, changed her mindset forever.

In the following article, Laura tells us of her distressing Coronavirus hospital experience (in her own words) and how Young Devon supported her through it all…

“Without the people around me, I don’t know what I would have done. Without the support I got, I don’t know what I would have done…”

I know what it’s like to be in the hospital all the time; the long waits when you go through A&E and having to wait around for so long. This is what I expected when going in with COVID-19 symptoms. Long waits, just not lots of people.

How very wrong I was.

I was greeted with 5-6 people, all in protective clothing; which I’ve got to say was terrifying, that’s for sure! They were all nice and polite, and kept telling me things were okay. As soon as I got settled, the doctors came and spoke to me, asking me loads of questions. I was whisked off to have a X-Ray on my chest, and then taken up to the quarantine ward, where I stayed until I got my test results back. I was in a room with double doors. I was in there by myself, without anyone else. Every time someone came in, they were dressed up in safety gear.

All the NHS staff were extremely friendly and helpful. If I needed anything, all I had to do was ring a bell and they would come in…

All you could hear all night was beeping and monitors going off. Even though I was in my own room, I was terrified. I didn’t know what was going on and felt sorry for everyone else.

I only thought I was going to be in for a few hours, but instead I was in for a few days!

I’m so used to being in and out of hospital, but this time it was completely different. There were a lot more NHS staff… they were always really busy. On the first day there I was like “Yeah it’s fine, ill be fine, I’m not too worried about this.”

By the end of the second day, I was really struggling.

I kept crying and I had some really terrible thoughts. Thankfully I had people to talk to; my housemates were on the other end of the phone, I had a Zoom meeting with the guys on the Young Devon Youth Council. I also had crisis numbers to ring.

There isn’t much you can do in the hospital, when you’re all wired up to things and you’re struggling to breathe, but watch the time tick past. Minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days. TV really helped, and people from Young Devon constantly messaging me, not letting me feel alone. When you’re in that room by yourself, it is the loneliest. Everyone tried to keep my spirits up.

I got told I could go home as long as I was 24 hours off the oxygen. The first attempt of them sending me home failed, because I need to go back onto the oxygen. Again with the second attempt. Finally on the third attempt I managed 24 hours off of oxygen.

I was well excited! I could go back home and see my amazing housemates who are amazing!

My experience in the hospital has helped me to appreciate all the people in my life. My friends, my housemates and Young Devon staff. Without the people around me, I don’t know what I would have done. Without the support I got, I don’t know what I would have done.

“Without friends who are we,
without people around us who are we,
sometimes we take advantage of these things,
sometimes we don’t see what we have until it’s taken from us”

Author: Laura, 18

If you or a young person you know is struggling during this difficult time, please contact us. If you need support, or advice; we are only an email, phone call or text away.

Please see our Coronavirus Service Update for up-to-date details on how to contact us.