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BBC News: Long Covid: housebound for a year

A Sheffield woman with long Covid has not left her house in a year since first contracting the virus. Fran Haddock, 33, said she had been forced to leave her job as a veterinary surgeon because she was constantly “utterly exhausted”. She caught coronavirus in November 2022 and it developed into severe chronic fatigue syndrome. She had a mild form of chronic fatigue syndrome – or ME – before catching coronavirus but still managed to be “super active”.

BBC Newsby Hayley Coyle and Simon Thake

Article extracts

“I've been severely unwell and I'm not recovering. There is a common misconception that ME is just tiredness but it's only a fraction of the symptoms.

“Sometimes I cannot speak when I wake up and my partner leaves food in a pot and a flask of tea by the bed because I have to eat with my medication.”

Fran Haddock

Her parents and partner are her carers and as well as taking daily medication she has to drink electrolytes and rest as much as possible. Ms Haddock had severe light, sound and screen intolerance for the first six months of long Covid and had to lie in a dark room for “24 hours a day”.

Dr Alexis Gilbert, a public health worker in Wakefield has long Covid too and has been bedbound for the past 12 months. He said he was so weak he was only able to spend 20 minutes downstairs with his children on Christmas Day. The effort was so immense, he said, he then “crashed for a week” in pain.

Dr Gilbert said he caught coronavirus in December 2022 but failed to recover before discovering he had ME. Dr Gilbert said he has to “budget his energy” everyday and that means conserving his emotional energy, too.

“The biggest struggle is that there is not a clear end and it isn't a disease we can treat. [You] just have to get on with looking after yourself.”

Dr Alexis Gilbert
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