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She got COVID-19 at Burnaby Hospital. Five months later, she’s ‘ready to drop’

A COVID-19 long hauler details how difficult life still is
A positive swab test for COVID-19. Photo: Getty Images

Jane’s dog is not happy.

This German Shepherd likes to go for looooong walks, but thanks to COVID-19, Jane can’t always do that.

Jane (not her real name, but someone I have verified) got COVID-19 during a visit to Burnaby Hospital last December for an emergency procedure. She came home and became sicker and then got tested. Jane’s husband also tested positive for COVID-19 days after Jane got sick.

All these months later, Jane still hasn’t “recovered” despite what health officials say. She is what they call a long hauler and I asked her to describe what life is like now.

Here is what she said.

“The shortness of breath comes and goes,” Jane said. “I have a German Shepherd who is fortunately a very patient dog because there are some days we can go for a really good walk, and some days after walking for three blocks I'm done. It's not consistent, which was harder at first because I'd think I was making progress, then all of a sudden it was like hitting a wall for a few days.

‘The brain fog is a struggle and for me at least tends to hit more when I'm doing things that are easier or more routine for me when I'm working. It also plays havoc with my attention span. I can read without a problem, but I have to really concentrate if someone is talking to me, even for a short period of time, and TV - forget it.

‘Three symptoms which I'm going to say are co-related, at least for me, are the joint pain, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. I hurt all the time now, and wish I had shares in Tylenol. My upper body joints, especially for some reason my shoulders, feel like they are dislocated, and sometimes I swear I can hear them clicking. This makes it harder to sleep because pain combined with anxiety about it just isn't conducive to the situation. Then there's the fatigue. It doesn't stop. I'm constantly feeling ready to drop, but even when I've had a full night's sleep, I'm still exhausted.

“There's also the anxiety about just what damage COVID-19 has done that I don't know about yet. There's so many unknowns still with this virus, and just in my household two of us had very different experiences with the same illness. People that were hospitalized have been found to have had all kinds of collateral damage to organs, etc. What lies in wait for those of us that haven't been looked at that thoroughly yet?

“I don't know why people would want to flirt with catching this and/or spreading it to their friends and family. Yes, you may be one of the lucky ones who barely feels it, or you could be intubated, need a kidney transplant down the road, or die. Not my kind of gamble.”

So there. Please get vaccinated if it’s your time. And wear a mask. And keep your distance.

Or you might end up like Jane.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.