The sluggish healing process and the many losses they have experienced since contracting the disease was addressed with the victims of the virus again.
The shadow cast by Covid-19 grows longer as weeks turn into months and months into a year – not least for those of those who have survived the illness.
Some of those who contracted the virus early in the pandemic told the Guardian earlier this year about their recurrent symptoms, from shortness of breath and tiredness to mental health problems and “brain fog.”
The testimony was harrowing.
Alice* spoke of waves of symptoms she described as “like a storm,” among them, while Jenny* continued to struggle for months after infection with exhaustion and wrist pain. “The chronic cognitive dysfunction that came with Covid was “completely crippling,” for Mirabai Nicholson-McKellar, while Julie endured hallucinations.
We met with them a few months later to find out how long “Covid” would be.
Time has been a healer for others. Alice, who got Covid in the UK, said, “I feel incredibly blessed,”
After four months, her symptoms eventually vanished – though she claims her recovery was supported by the help of her husband and employer. “I was lucky that my GP had had Covid for a long time and was incredibly supportive,”I was fortunate that my GP had Covid for a long time and was incredibly supportive.
But recovery is a process that is sluggish. Nine months later [after the infection], I’d say it’s only now that I’m getting back to my full strength [and]health,”I would say it’s only now – nine months later [after the infection]– that I’m getting back to my normal strength [and]fitness,”
Things are also improving slowly for Dawn in the U.S., who had mental health problems after the Covid infection. I’m still in a comprehensive PTSD and depression outpatient program, but earlier this year I’m going to be transitioning to less intensive mental health treatment,”I’m still in an intensive outpatient program for PTSD and depression, but I’ll be transitioning to less intensive mental health care early this year,”
The symptoms have intensified for some. Jenny said, adding that she can only function for short periods at a time, “Now I can barely use the computer and have to do everything with voice activation software,”
Jenny, who lives in the United Kingdom, said both a Covid clinic and a neurologist were referred to her, but there were few choices for treatment. “I didn’t feel like I was really offered anything concrete that could help me at any point in the NHS,” she said.
For Julie, in Minnesota, the dismissive tone of her doctor prevented her from finding further assistance. “Most of my cognitive symptoms resolved over the summer – the delirium, the personality changes, the paranoia,”Most of my cognitive symptoms resolved over the summer – the delirium, the changes in personality, the paranoia.
Yet she also suffers from loss of memory and brain fog, and other ongoing symptoms seem to impair them.
“Every few weeks I have a flare-up that mimics my original symptoms: fever, extreme chest pain, cough, weakness,” said Julie, adding that it can be terrifying and crippling. “Just this week, I had a flare-up so severe that I was too weak to go to the bathroom without help.”
There was a similar encounter with Nicholson-McKellar of Byron Bay, Australia. She said, “I’m still functioning at less than half my normal capacity,” adding that she still suffers from exhaustion, brain fog, insomnia and headaches, and that she needs to rest during work or assignments. “It makes living and fully interacting with this busy world impossible,” she said.
Melanie Montano, who previously talked to the Guardian about her post-Covid brain fog, from New Jersey in the U.S., is still suffering from the symptoms 270 days after the positive examination. “It’s an endless loop of fatigue and forgetfulness with no clear end in sight,”It is an endless loop of tiredness and forgetfulness with no clear end in sight.
And new problems have arisen for others.
She was recently hospitalized with shingles, which was exacerbated by Covid’s effect on her body, Lauren Nichols of Boston, Massachusetts said.
“As a result, I’m now partially blind because I had lesions in my eye,” she said, adding that she has also been diagnosed with aphasia, meaning she has trouble understanding words.
However, her gastrointestinal symptoms have changed, while some of her long Covid symptoms, such as exhaustion, appear to have helped with the antiviral medicine she was given for shingles.
“Covid has changed pretty much every aspect of my life,”Covid has changed almost every aspect of my life.
Dawn, who served as an organ translator before Covid,