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Seedling is when COVID-19 lasts for months: NPR



Most people with COVID-19 go through it relatively quickly. Marjorie Roberts lives with COVID-19 for months.

Marjorie Roberts


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Marjorie Roberts

Most people with COVID-19 go through it relatively quickly. Marjorie Roberts lives with COVID-19 for months.

Marjorie Roberts

For Marjorie Roberts, it started on March 26th.

Roberts, a healthy 59-year-old coach living in Atlanta, says it started out as a normal day. She went out to get the mail. As she went back to her apartment, she lost her balance. Strange for her, but she did not think much about it.

But by evening, “everything came down on me like a ton of bricks,” she says. Extreme fatigue was the first symptom among some. Her long suffering had just begun. “I had no idea what I was looking for.”

On April 23, Natalie Nowell, 34, had a similar experience. A mother of three in Memphis, Tenn., She spent most of her time running after her children. Her family had been quarantined for more than a month.

Natalie Nowell with her husband and three children. She suffers from COVID-19 for months and still has trouble breathing.

Photo by Ashley Veneman / Javen


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Photo by Ashley Veneman / Javen

Natalie Nowell with her husband and three children. She suffers from COVID-19 for months and still has trouble breathing.

Photo by Ashley Veneman / Javen

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, came a heaviness in her chest – and a feeling of deep uneasiness. She told her husband she needed to rest. It was worse when he woke up. Terrible chest pain – “as if there were a ton of bricks sitting on my chest,” she says.

According to reports earlier this year from the World Health Organization, about 80% of coronavirus infections are “mild or asymptomatic,” and patients usually recover after just two weeks.

This has not been the case for Roberts and Nowell. Months later, both women are still experiencing symptoms of COVID-19: shortness of breath, chest pain, vomiting, and neurological symptoms ranging from headache and fatigue to hallucinations and confused words.

Support groups on Facebook include thousands of people like Roberts and Nowell, who say they have been struggling with serious COVID-19 symptoms for at least a month, if not two or three. The groups have come up with a name for themselves: “long carriers”.

While Nowell and Roberts visited the emergency room early during their illnesses, neither was admitted to a LGU. The doctors determined that none of them needed a ventilator; their issues are technically counted as “soft”.

But their lives have been irreversibly changed by the onset of symptoms – relentless and lightning waves of fever, headaches, vomiting and terrible inability to catch their breath. For Roberts, she stole her time: “I was so good. This COVID-19 stole my life,” she says.

Weeks after her initial symptoms, Nowell could barely walk from room to room in her home. Roberts also tried to breathe.

Tall kidnappers are often left out of the COVID-19 story. Datasheets count cases, hospitalizations, recoveries and deaths, but Roberts and Nowell do not fit neatly into any of these categories. Neither woman initially tested positive for the disease: Both went to the hospital for a test when their symptoms became too much to bear, both tested negative, both were told to go home and just rest. Both women were dealing with doctors who did not trust them until they finally both received confirmation that they had the virus.

Many tall carriers say their doctors suspected their symptoms were as severe as they said. Roberts says her primary care primary caregiver insisted it was just stress and suggested she watch Lifetime movies and do enigmas to calm down. “I know stress,” says Roberts, “it was not stress.”

Nowell, who at the time could not form words to read her children sleep stories, begged her doctor to help. “He said, ‘Well, maybe you have a UTI.’ Or maybe it’s a stomach infection. Let’s call it a sinus infection. “”

Both women eventually found doctors who trusted them, and that made a big difference.

“I was relieved because I felt like I was going to be taken seriously for feeling sick,” says Nowell. “And then the rest of me was terrified. Because the whole world is dealing with this and now all of a sudden it’s in my house, it’s in my body and it was scary.”

That was a few months ago. More than a hundred days after their first symptoms, Roberts and Nowell still struggle to breathe through persistent blockages. The headaches come and go, and so does the vomiting. Roberts’s lungs are so red that she had a biopsy in early August to get a better view of her prognosis. She is still awaiting results.

Nowell says she is doing better, but has walked slowly.

The heartbreaking loneliness of the pandemic has been quite difficult for healthy people. But it has been a daunting challenge for those like Roberts and Nowell who also have to live with fuzzy minds, strong fatigue and constant fear of disordered symptoms. Roberts says she is still afraid to go somewhere because the worst symptoms continue to show up so quickly.

Both spend the day with a mixture of hope and prayer. Nowell has biblical verses on which to rely. And Roberts says, “I pray they find a cure.”


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