by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, Nurse Practitioner
Just in my little circle of friends, several of whom got COVID in the last 3 months, are now having very troubling symptoms, some of which are impacting their ability to work and basically function well.
Take my friend, Jim, for instance, who is a full-time self-employed musician and sole provider for himself and his partner. Jim is 72 years old and has had incredible energy and good health up until 1 month ago when thought he was done with his breakthrough COVID infection, out of isolation, and needing to get back to his gigging. He jumped back in full-tilt but is having such extraordinary fatigue, his playing and singing is sub-par and he is profoundly fatigued after each performance. I have connected him with a brilliant naturopathic physician who is beginning to work with more and more people with long-COVID. I have also connected him to a working mother who had to quit working as a teacher for 9 months until she recovered sufficiently from disabling long-COVID—she has agreed to link him to resources as well as “lend an ear.” I know he is not going to want to hear that he may need to slow down a bit—which is some of the only consistent advice you hear about long-COVID fatigue.
Another one of my friends, a 52 year-old high school teacher, had breakthrough COVID around Christmastime. Since then, she has been experiencing a multitude of what she calls “weird” symptoms (most neurological). Yesterday she wound up in her PCP’s office then the ophthalmologist’s office and is now scheduled for a brain scan to see if there is evidence of “mini-strokes.” In researching her symptoms, I ran across a couple of articles, just yesterday, about the neurological symptoms we’re seeing with long-COVID: Nerve Damage May Contribute to Long COVID Symptoms and Nerve damage in cornea could be sign of ‘long COVID,’
Are you encountering similar reports in your respective circles?
I fear we are just beginning to glimpse the magnitude of the tsunami of people with long-COVID problems—people who become at the least, sub-par in their work and sense of well-being, and others who become flat out disabled (hopefully temporarily).
I urge you to keep an eye out for studies, reports, resources and evidence-informed treatments and self-care strategies for long-COVID ( AKA: PASC: post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2) and send them along to COVID Strategies. I found a nice list of resources at the end of this NYT article posted in COVID Strategies: How Long Covid Exhausts the Body If you have a personal story and have found some useful things to reckon with long-COVID, consider sharing those with CovidStrategies.
We are in a critical time of recognizing that we’re all in this together: some of us need carrying and others of us need to do the carrying.
Laura Pole, RN, MSN, Nurse Practitioner