• Holly Morris

48 hours alone in hospital during a global pandemic

This past year has been undeniably hard for a lot of people. The pandemic has forced families apart, many have lost the loved ones closest to them and people’s mental health has declined, with loneliness being a huge participating factor in this.

Feelings of loneliness have risen from 10% in March 2020 to 26% in February 2021 and have been highest among young people, with 48% of people aged 18-24 saying they felt alone.

And this is a feeling I’ve experienced myself very recently. In light of this research that I have only just uncovered, I wish to share my experience, in the hope that others can relate and to raise awareness around tackling loneliness.

I hadn’t been feeling too good for a few weeks. This was back in March. I’d lost my appetite and felt constantly fatigued – everyday tasks such as walking up the stairs, a task so simple for me, felt like such an effort; even getting out of bed some mornings were a struggle.

I’d been in contact with my local GP, but because of Covid restrictions, my appointments were over-the-phone. It was hard to describe the pain to him. I couldn’t pinpoint it specifically and not being there in person meant he couldn’t feel around for himself and check me over. He prescribed me different medications, none of which relieved any of my symptoms.

Then one evening, the pain, particularly in my stomach, went through the roof. I’d developed a fever and my temperature had reached a worrying 39 degrees. I rang 111 and was admitted suddenly to QEQM Hospital in Margate late that night.

When I was told my dad wouldn’t be allowed into the hospital with me because of Covid restrictions, I immediately knew this was something I had to brave on my own. This genuinely terrified me – the thought of being alone in hospital. The only time prior to this that I’d ever had to go to hospital was when I was a baby and had my grommets taken out. I still felt like that baby who needed her dad by her side.

This was taken just before I had my blood tests - I really dislike needles!

I had to wait two hours for my blood tests to be taken and then a further two hours for the results. Sitting and waiting around felt so relentless and so lonely. It was very late at this point and most of my friends had gone to bed so I couldn’t even chat to them on the phone. Covid restrictions made this feeling of loneliness even worse – the waiting room was comprised of these plastic pods to ensure everyone was socially distanced and because of this, it was difficult to even speak to any other patients. I really was all alone. Dad was patiently waiting for me in the car park, messaging me every 20 minutes to see if there had been any updates or news.

The results finally came back, and the surgeons told me I had severe inflammation and needed surgery in the morning to remove my appendix. This was the last thing I was expecting. Up until then, I’d never had to stay in hospital, let alone on my own, and apart from having my grommets removed (which I obviously can’t remember) I’d never had to have an operation before, let alone a major one. I couldn’t believe I had appendicitis.

I rang my dad and told him I’d be staying here so it was best for him to go home. I hadn’t felt this lonely in ages and I really wanted him to be able to stay with me. This feeling only continued as I then had to wait a further two hours for my Covid test results to come back before I could be assigned to a ward and finally get into bed. I couldn’t stop crying. I just wanted to see a familiar face. I just wanted some comfort and reassurance from someone I actually knew!

Fortunately, the surgery went well, but coming out of surgery, still feeling the effects of the general anaesthetic, to my empty hospital room, with none of my family there to greet me, made me feel so low and a level of lonely that’s hard to describe. FaceTime calls didn’t cut it for me. All I wished for was to have my family there to support me and most of all, keep me company.

All in all, I stayed in hospital for two days and two nights and can genuinely say it was the worst experience ever not least because I had to be there on my own.

But I realise there are others in the same boat.

I’ve seen so many other blog posts and articles that share an experience similar to mine – one that really stood out for me was ‘alone in hospital in the midst of a global pandemic’ as Kelly captures the terrifying nature of being alone in hospital so vividly.

And even on Twitter, I’ve seen so many people tweeting about this very thing.

At this point I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to the doctors, nurses and all the NHS staff who have been working so tirelessly throughout the pandemic – they are true heroes.

How can we tackle this feeling of loneliness?

These are a few articles that really helped me and could help you too, if you're experiencing this feeling:

  1. How to cope with loneliness during the coronavirus pandemic

  2. What you can do if you feel lonely during the coronavirus outbreak

It's so important to let someone know if you're feeling lonely; speak up and remember that even though you may feel alone, there is always someone there to listen and to support you.


Hi, thanks for taking the time to read!

My name is Holly and I'm studying BA Journalism at the University of Kent's Centre for Journalism.

Notify yourself of new content!

Thanks for submitting!

  • Instagram
  • Twitter