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Name of Media:
The tragedy of long COVID
Anthony Komaroff, MD
Publisher or Source:
Harvard Health Blog
Type of Media:
Media Originally for:
Critical Care Physicians,General Public,General Medical Professionals,Nurses and/or Other Critical Care Medical Professionals
Country of Origin:
United States of America (the)
Primary Focus of Media:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Suppose you are suddenly are stricken with COVID-19. You become very ill for several weeks. On awakening every morning, you wonder if this day might be your last.
And then you begin to turn the corner. Every day your worst symptoms — the fever, the terrible cough, the breathlessness — get a little better. You are winning, beating a life-threatening disease, and you no longer wonder if each day might be your last. In another week or two, you’ll be your old self.
But weeks pass, and while the worst symptoms are gone, you’re not your old self — not even close. You can’t meet your responsibilities at home or at work: no energy. Even routine physical exertion, like vacuuming, leaves you feeling exhausted. You ache all over. You’re having trouble concentrating on anything, even watching TV; you’re unusually forgetful; you stumble over simple calculations. Your brain feels like it’s in a fog.
Your doctor congratulates you: the virus can no longer be detected in your body. That means you should be feeling fine. But you’re not feeling fine.
The doctor suggests that maybe the terrible experience of being ill with COVID-19 has left you a little depressed, or experiencing a little PTSD. Maybe some psychiatric treatment would help, since there’s nothing wrong with you physically. You try the treatment, and it doesn’t help.
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