Terri Dwyer has encountered a lot in her life – including losing both her parents by the time she was 30 and surviving a serious car crash – but says her recent suspected brush with COVID-19 has been one of the scariest things she’s ever faced.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Terri opened up to pal and podcast host Kate Thornton about her recent illness, which she believes was coronavirus.
“I don't feel together at all,” she said. “I feel probably more frightened than I ever have in my whole life. I don't scare easy.”
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Terri, who was speaking to Kate from her home, said she had been a bit blasé about the virus before contracting it.
“I became a vegan a year ago and I kind of shouted from the hilltop how fabulous my health is,” she told Kate. “I was one of those that thought it would breeze by me and it would merely be a few aches and pains.”
Initially, Terri was extremely tired and believed this was because she’d been working long hours on producing her first feature film, BrEAK. However, over the next two days her symptoms became “increasingly worse”.
When asked by Kate to describe what it felt like, the actress and producer said aside from aches and pains, the cough was, without doubt, the worst symptom.
“Once the cough came, I couldn't really think of anything else,” she recalled. “The cough is so horrendous in the sense that it's just relentless. I ended up vomiting because of it – you just cough, cough, cough, cough, cough!”
While she tried to ride out the symptoms and cope at home, after one awful coughing fit, she started to panic.
She said: “I had a horrendous coughing fit and then I couldn't breathe. Then I was panicking, and I was thinking, 'Oh my God, you've really got to get this under control' because the problem is, the more you panic, the more you cough, the more you can't breathe. My poor husband's coming up not knowing what to do.”
Teri decided to call 111, but after two hours on hold with no response, the former 60 Minute Makeover host went to sleep. Fortunately, things did improve, and she’s been making a steady recovery ever since.
While she hasn’t been tested, Terri is sure she’s had COVID-19 and her biggest worry is the affect the illness has had on her two sons, Caiden and Kylan.
“My oldest is 14 so he's fairly independent,” she said, “But I've got a 10-year-old, and unfortunately for him, he witnessed me at my worst, although my husband tried to protect him. He just needs me to come out the room and know that mum's okay.”
The Wirral-based actress has also been shocked by the negative response from the public to news of her illness.
Talking about a feature that had been published in an online publication, Terri said: “It's really upsetting that you get these keyboard warriors and you think ‘why would you would do that?’”
She continued: “I could cry right now, because I'm obviously really vulnerable with what I've just been through. People are just horrid. Why did they feel the need to be so personal?”
Now she’s starting to feel better, Terri is also coming to terms with the new normal, which means her two sons being home schooled.
“I feel like I've neglected the boys,” she said. “They seem to be just trying to cope with today and get to grasp with home schooling and remote learning, so in some ways it's been good that they've had that distraction. How long that will last? I don't know!”