- Many COVID-19 long-distance transport personnel are still experiencing debilitating symptoms.
- But the new rehabilitation clinics being opened across the country now give them hope.
- Insider talked with long-distance travelers and doctors who ran the program to understand their success.
- Visit the “Business” section of Insider for more stories.
Amy Watson had a chronic fever for 344 days.
Almost a year after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the school teacher from Portland, Oregon is still suffering from persistent symptoms.
In addition to fever, Watson also told Insider that she was still suffering from chronic fatigue, “brain fog”
The 47-year-old did not have any underlying health conditions before contracting the virus. She also suffered from tachycardia, and said that every time she took a bath, her heart rate exceeded 100 beats per minute.
Watson told The Insider: “This is really challenging. I don’t want people to know what it is like from personal experience.”
Watson is one of the growing group of long-term victims of COVID (the so-called “long-distance transporters”) whose bodies are weakened by the virus and little is known about it.
But now, post-rehab clinics dedicated to long-distance travelers are being opened across the country and provide some much-needed hope for people like Watson.
Post-COVID clinics provide a “centralized” way to enable long-distance travelers to get care
According to a CDC research report released in the summer, about one-third of COVID-19 patients have symptoms that last longer than the typical two weeks.
Symptoms may vary from persistent coughing to scarring of the lungs, affecting not only patients who must be hospitalized for COVID-19, but also patients with milder conditions.
The post-COVID care center aims to convene a team of experts from various professional fields to solve all the wide-ranging problems faced by long-distance transporters based on the latest understanding of the disease.
One of the first such clinics was Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Since it opened in May, it has cured 1,500 people.
Dr. Ruwanthi Titao, a cardiologist at the clinic, told Insider: “The purpose of the center is to fill the gap for patients who seek depression, worry, worry and worry about not being able to get treatment, and get proper care in the community.
She said: “This is a good, focused way to get them care and record their symptoms so that we can start to identify the pattern of the disease and then refer it to the appropriate specialist for appropriate treatment. ,”Add to.
Patients usually need to schedule an hour’s intake to check their medical history and then check their current symptoms caused by the coronavirus.
Dr. Titano said: “From then on, the post-COVID office will make appropriate referrals. For example, referrals to cardiology, neurology, rehabilitation medicine or psychiatry.”
However, treating people with multiple (usually severe) symptoms is a challenge for diseases that still lack long-term research.
Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, medical director of the Covid Activity Rehabilitation Program (CARP) at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told Insider that his center is taking a “slow and steady” approach based on use before the coronavirus pandemic Treatment methods.
“You know, this is not the first coronavirus outbreak. For example, we have SARS and MERS, and since then some studies have been conducted that clearly show that there are similar post-viral syndromes.” He Say.
Dr. Vanichkachorn continued: “The pressure we put on patients is to help them adapt and develop the so-called’sticky’ therapy plan. During this process, they will slowly recover with manual help.” “This is all slow and slow. Small gains from continuous activities.”
The therapy usually uses simple measures, such as encouraging patients to increase their fluid and salt intake, or giving them compression socks to help blood flow.
Dr. Vanichkachorn added: “Then, if we really need it, we can also use drugs to relieve symptoms, or raise blood pressure when needed, or provide assistance in areas such as rapid heart rate.”
Dr. Titano from Mount Sinai confirmed that her rehabilitation clinic is taking a similar approach.
“We are repairers and healers. We want a clear diagnosis, and we want to solve this problem. However, when symptoms occur, relapse or frustration, we of course take it very seriously, Dr. Titano said.
But even though Dr. Titano admitted that “this is a very difficult and slow process of improvement,” she is still hopeful.
Mental health is also an issue
Like the clinic at Mount Sinai, the clinic also gives patients the opportunity to contact social workers or therapists to survive trauma.
Many people who travel long distances, especially those in hospital, suffer from depression or, in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This is the case with Heather Elizabeth Brown, a 36-year-old corporate trainer from Detroit, Michigan, who had to change to a ventilator in April after the pneumonia caused by the coronavirus caused her lung failure.
Brown, who had been in a coma for 31 days, said her experience was “sad.”
Soon after the doctor told her that a ventilator was the only way to save her life, Brown had to call a “FaceTime family gathering” to make a decision. Her mother had to answer the phone from the hospital parking lot.
Brown said: “I remember writing my will on a napkin, putting it on one of my boots, and making sure to tell the nurse just in case.” “I just didn’t know if I would come out alive.”
She added: “I have firm beliefs. I believe in God. But this is one of those things you don’t know. It’s just a big question mark.”
Brown is currently undergoing treatment simultaneously with various different treatment methods.
Brown said: “I am very lucky that a lot of my care is performed under one health system. So at least all my records are kept in one place.”
She added: “But for people who may face other challenges or have different obstacles, having a center that can also provide mental health help is an amazing idea. It’s like a one-stop shop.”
Long-distance transporters feel forgotten
The Watson School teacher said that seeking treatment for all of her conditions has been frustrating, and she is often fired by healthcare professionals.
The United States is still processing thousands of acute COVID-19 cases every day, and many states are now shifting their focus to vaccinations as quickly as possible. This usually means that long-distance buses are eliminated.
Watson continued: “When we went to see the doctor, the doctor told us that they felt that their symptoms were not serious enough and told us that they would not waste time on us. This made the patient very uneasy.”
This is why Watson established one of the largest long-term Facebook support groups.
For Watson, having a plan specifically for long-distance buses will “change lives.”
She said: “I personally want to go to one place, but sadly, there is not one in my area. But this is definitely something I advocate.”
She added: “People just need to understand that we are becoming a little irritable. We want to be better, return to life, and hope that a large proportion of people will not be disabled due to this disease.”
Survivor Corps, a support and research organization, maintains an operating list of post-COVID care centers in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.