The i: Living with Long COVID

The i has an article focussing on the experience of a teacher who has been severely affected by Long COVID. It covers how she has met with scepticism from some people over whether the illness is real and a lack of understanding about the symptoms from healthcare professionals and others.

Extracts

“I went to the GP quite early on, had blood tests and an ECG – everything came back normal, which is the usual story with long Covid. I fought very hard to be referred to a long Covid clinic.

“When I finally got an appointment a couple of weeks ago, I’d really been hoping for a conversation about the various weird symptoms I get. But it became obvious really quickly that, with the best will in the world, this occupational therapist just didn’t have the detailed expertise to be able to go into this in any detail.

“Having just had a conversation about how I get out of breath and my heart sky rockets when climbing the stairs, she said, ‘Pace yourself – if you usually run 5K, start with 3K.’ I was thinking, ‘I can’t even walk down the road, let alone run.’ I wanted to know, what is this illness I have? It’s really difficult living with an illness about which so little is known and for which there is so little help….

“Often, people with long Covid don’t ‘look’ ill. Close friends and family can tell with me when the symptoms are biting hard but to people who don’t know me well, I probably look fine. I think this makes it far easier for people to dismiss this as a fake illness. It also makes it harder for people who don’t know much about the illness to understand it – it doesn’t look like you expect illness to look like.

Part of the growing body of medical knowledge about long Covid is that there are very real physical causes for our symptoms. Many medical practitioners are still approaching Long Covid as if it’s a mental issue but it’s a real, physical illness, and not in our heads.”

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