We are sharing the experiences of people that continue to be impacted by Covid-19. These are the lived experiences and opinions of the individuals themselves, not of Covid Aid. By sharing these personal stories, we aim to reflect the need for visibility and to raise the voices of the millions around the UK who continue to be affected three years on from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Andrew shares his story with us below:
"I caught covid in September 2020 and had it really mildly, coughing like I was clearing my throat several times a day, and five days where I had chills for a couple of hours but that was it. I wasn't working at the time but if I had been, I wouldn't have needed to take any time off. After a slightly extended isolation, my first walk, which I'd done dozens of times in lockdown, about 3-4 miles, ended with me passing out on the sofa seconds after sitting down and taking my shoes off. The same thing happened the next walk and I realised something was really not right.
Consequently, I went out less & less, increasing my isolation & decreasing any leg strength/fitness, and on 1st December when advent calendars were started, I invented a 'chatvent' calendar to speak to someone different every day to counter the downward spiral I found myself in. I was referred for long covid in Jan'21 and after a raft of tests was discharged 'because my asthma was stable'. Furious with my consultant's mistake I was rereferred to a different hospital/service. I started pulmonary rehab summer'21. I didn't feel very optimistic as the assessment and plan were not personalised to my symptoms, but I wanted to give it a really good go, especially as I realised in September'21 that the energy I was getting from social interaction was less than the energy required to do that interaction.
In November'21 my dad lost his appetite, tested positive a few days later, had a fall, and paramedics took him to the hospital to have him checked out properly because of his underlying condition. The day after he was admitted, he was told he also had pneumonia, and the day after, covid pneumonitis. He died with me, my Mum and my brother at his side at the end of November which turned my life upside down. I did another chatvent through December'21 which was helpful in many ways but was driven by grief instead of isolation.
In April'22 I was discharged from pulmonary rehab, being told there was nothing more they could do for me, and at that point, I had seen zero improvements. I was directed towards Talking Matters for help with grieving the loss of my dad, but also the loss of my former life. At this point, I was starting to think about how to find a job as I needed money but didn't think I would be physically capable of doing a job as I had previously. I got a 'back to work' counsellor and she was a huge help in many ways not least because she also listened to all the other stresses I was experiencing beyond the work remit. I started a new job in September'22 and the management has been fantastic allowing me to do what I need to manage the long covid symptoms.
I have realised that the brain fog is worse & has different aspects now my brain is challenged daily. I also had group therapy for 8 weeks but realised that I didn't know the doctor etc there all under the care of and discovered I wasn't in the hospital's system at all and needed to be rereferred AGAIN or undischarged. Now awaiting further follow up with them."
We thank Andrew for sharing his story with us.
Covid Aid continues to support those significantly impacted by Covid-19. Even three years on from the pandemic, people continue to be affected by a range of Covid-19 related issues including Long Covid, grief and bereavement, mental health and financial issues.