POST – COVID, A PHYSICIAN’S JOURNEY
Post – COVID a physician’s journey in the summer of 2020 working on both general medical and COVID-positive wards. But by November of that year, the U.K. was in its second wave and second lockdown, with COVID deaths and hospital admissions rising.
“Like being on a treadmill I could not get off”
Being given only basic personal protective equipment (PPE), Dr. Fearnley and her newly graduated doctors were sent onto medical and COVID wards. While on a COVID ward, and after not feeling well, a PCR Test returned positive for COVID, and what comes next follows the phases she went through:
- “The acute phase lasted 2 weeks – comparable to a case of mild-to-moderate flu.”
- “As a fit and healthy 35-year-old with no comorbidities, she naively expected to recover quickly,”
- “By week 3, she still had a lingering fever,”
- By week 4, Dr. Fearnley wanted to return to work, but being lightheaded and jelly-legged, just made it home.
Thus began the start of her long Post-COVID Long-Hauler (as it was later defined) Journey.
- At home, she deteriorated quickly, “becoming tachycardia, (at 140 beats per minute and breathless, with a respiratory rate of 20–24 at rest)”,
- Then came the “cyclic attacks of pins and needles in all four limbs“,
- This was followed by “violent entire-body shaking (as violent as seizure, but it wasn’t one because she was conscious).”
Getting slightly graphic, these attacks “were associated with an unquenchable thirst, with or without an urgent need to open to my bowels, vomiting, or increased shortness of breath. These came in daily cycles lasting up to 14 hours at a time. I would frequently shake through the entire night”.