A Glasgow nurse has opened up about her experience of Long Covid, in the hope it will help others with the condition.
Lorna Graham, who has been a nurse for three years, was diagnosed with COVID on 8 April 2020 and has not yet fully recovered. She was off work for six months and has since been diagnosed as suffering from Long COVID.
She said: “The acute phase of my illness lasted a few weeks and I can truly say I felt like I was dying. Without question it was the worst I have felt in my life. It’s not that I haven’t been ill before. I have had sepsis and swine flu but this was different. It felt like I was drowning; at times I couldn’t get a breath.
“This all happened despite me being a fit 26 year old. I wasn’t a fitness fanatic, but I was active on my days off. I would go hillwalking regularly, so you could say I was fit and obviously young too.
“In the first few weeks I was at the COVID assessment centre a few times and was sent to hospital, although never admitted. I had a temperature, no taste or smell and just slept and slept.
“I waited to recover fully and it just never came. It was October before I felt able to go back to work.”
Nearly ten months on, Lorna’s health has yet to recover fully.
“My symptoms have changed throughout. Sometimes it’s shortness of breath, sometimes it’s actual chest pain. When it’s bad it feels like someone is digging their knuckles into my back.
“My sense of smell has not come back, so it’s been a long time since I tasted a meal properly. I can tell if something is sweet or savoury, or salty or spicy. But not what the actual taste is; it’s odd. I really only get textures. Something like soup holds no appeal as it has no taste.
“I also get ‘fake’ smells. I can smell smoke sometimes, when nobody near me is smoking. I also get a mouldy smell which isn’t pleasant!
“There is no pattern to my flare-ups. Right now I have felt unwell for about six days, and other times it can be three on, three off. I’m not unwell enough to be off work, but I am tired and fed up feeling like this.
“I have tried some support groups, but come off them as it’s soul destroying. So many people are just floored by this.
“I probably look fine. I’ve lost more than a stone and my friends have all commented. I am the thinnest I have been since I was about 14 but I’m not trying to lose weight; it’s just happening to me.
“I need to be patient. As a nurse I know that and know there are so many people in greater need than me right now. On the other hand I am 27 and need to know if this is normal and is there anything else I can be doing to help myself.”