My journey with long covid symptoms | India News

As told to Shannon Shelton Miller

In January 2021, I tested positive for COVID soon after I got my first vaccine dose, but before I had a chance to build up my immunity. I temporarily lost my sense of taste and smell, but my other symptoms were mostly mild, and I felt better after two weeks. I was always a very active person and loved to take long walks, so once I recovered enough to hang out again, I thought the worst was over.

But after about three weeks, I started feeling lethargic, hives broke out and I had panic attacks.

My symptoms got worse every day. I began to lose my mobility, and my mom and sisters had to come to my Brooklyn apartment to take care of me. They took me everywhere – even to the bathroom – because I couldn’t move. My pain was so bad one day that my family insisted that I go to the emergency room.

Little did I know that this was the beginning of a journey that would involve multiple trips to the ER, hospital admissions, and visits with specialists to find someone, Anyone, who will take my symptoms seriously and recognize that I was suffering from covid for a long time. I know healthcare providers were overwhelmed with how to deal with COVID, and the way our healthcare system is set up, HCPs often don’t have time to look at what might be causing each patient’s issues. .

Still, my experience was disappointing and depressing. When I went to the ER for severe chest pain, I was just told to “calm down” and “control my breathing” so they could get a EKG reading, During another ER visit for chest pain and shortness of breath, a doctor refused to do a lung scan until a sister of mine, who is a pediatrician in California, accompanied her on FaceTime. Talked for more than an hour that he should do something.

“My sister can’t breathe,” she said. “She is having severe chest pain and cannot talk. If she goes home and something happens to her, it’s on you. If it was your sister or your daughter, would you say she is fine and send her home?”

He must have been at home for her somehow, because he ordered the scan. As we all thought, it showed evidence of damage to my lungs from my covid infection, and I was admitted for treatment.

Weeks passed, and I was not getting better. I had to rely on a wheelchair which was pushed by my family members as I was too weak to move it myself. I couldn’t take a shower every day because the heat made me want to step out. The doctors used to tell me that all my tests were normal and they didn’t find anything wrong.

I’ve been diagnosed with everything acid reflux To anxiety And I’ve been asked if I was taking drugs or drinking. God forbid, if you have a history of anxiety, they will brush off your physical pain in the form of an anxiety attack. (I always wondered if men were asked as much about anxiety as I was!)

2022 (Photo/Diagon Dion)

Even when I went to a center specializing in treating post-Covid patients, I was told to exercise more. It didn’t matter that I showed up in a wheelchair and told him I could barely walk.

I began to think about what I could do to ease my situation. My sister suggested that I wear my UCLA sweatshirt to appointments so that HCPs can see me as an educated person, although I know that should have nothing to do with how you are treated. I felt that I needed to present myself as knowledgeable and well-spoken so that they would not dismiss me. Although it doesn’t have to be this way, the reality is that people get dismissed based on how they look and how they look, so this was a thought in my head when I was being treated the same way. as I was

After about four months, I found an appointment with a cardiologist, who gave me the response I was looking for from the beginning.

“Let me guess,” he said. “You are young and you had Covid, but it was mild. Now you are still not back to your normal self. You have all these symptoms. I know exactly what you’re doing and I’m really sorry. While I don’t have a solution, there are things we can try.”

At the time, I didn’t care about the solution. I was just relieved that he didn’t ask me about anxiety or drug use. I started crying in his office because finally someone listened to me.

I was later able to see a famous high blood pressure Experts who did the most thorough work of all. I had an episode in his office where I lost the ability to wake up and talk to him even though I was awake. I was with all these episodes, but being one in his presence confirmed everything I was saying. They took me across the street to the hospital, where I stayed for four days.

Thanks to their work, we were able to identify our prolonged Covid as a condition where the best possible solution was to treat symptoms as they emerged. Today, I’m still doing symptom management and working to understand my own triggers like heat and altitude. I can walk again and take short walks outside, but have to be careful not to walk outside when it’s too hot. I have to rest more as I move on, but I finally have more energy to take care of myself and my daughter.

I hope that as more money is invested in research on long covid, we will be able to treat it better or even prevent it so that people do not have to suffer the way I have suffered during the last one year. While I haven’t returned to normal yet, I am very grateful that I am in a much better place.

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