Five Nivernais tell their everyday life with the long Covid in slow motion

The hygienic restrictions have gradually disappeared until they almost weigh no more. Numbers on the spread of the epidemic are no longer monitored as closely. Vaccination centers are idle. However, the Covid-19 has not left the everyday lives of many people, often women in their 30s or 40s, who are hardest hit by the long form of the virus.

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Some have been ill for almost two years, others “only” for a few months. But all live a slow everyday life in which they have to conserve their strength to keep it until evening. In this endless Covid tunnel, the end of which they can hardly see, five Nivernais tell us about their difficulties.

Émilie, 38, Nevers: “If I ride 30 km, I have to stop in the middle”

“I contracted Covid in October 2000. At first I only had the classic symptoms, such as loss of taste or smell. Then after two weeks the tiredness came. I was quickly out of breath, my heart was racing. My doctor didn’t understand. I said to him, “I can’t take it anymore”. But I didn’t feel heard. I was hospitalized for a pulmonary embolism but it wasn’t.

I consulted a cardiologist who saw abnormalities in my electrocardiogram and prescribed me a beta blocker to slow the heart. I then went to a physiotherapist for cardiovascular rehabilitation. In June 2021 I returned to work part-time. i am a caregiver I only worked 15 hours a week but I couldn’t take it. I felt guilty for not being a quitter, and yet I had to reduce my work hours to 10 hours a week over the summer before I was arrested again.

Since Jan 2022 I have started again at 10am a week but the fatigue is still there. I notice. My position has been adjusted but it’s still very hard. I have 30 km to work and very often I have to stop mid-ride to rest. I’ve lost my energy. I work two mornings and on those days I can’t look after my children afterwards. I smell like brain fog. I’m still on beta blockers as my heart rate is still elevated. After a simple shower, for example, it is over 130 beats per minute.

Lætitia, 36, La Machine: “It’s not a mother’s life”

“On November 30, 2021 I was infected with Covid. At the same time I had angina. I became very ill immediately and have been ill ever since. angina, gastros. I was even arrested for depression for two months, even though I’m a fighter by nature. I am a domestic help and went back to work before being hired regularly again.

I have two children aged 11 and 8 who support me even during the leave of absence. I sleep every day when the kids are at school and have to set the alarm so I don’t miss the exit. I avoid physical exertion, but still walk a little. However, I feel tired all the time. It’s not the life of a 36-year-old mother.

I’m really fed up. It’s no longer possible to be this sick. I still haven’t regained my taste and smell. Nobody knows when this will all be over for me. »

Stéphanie, 46, Coulanges: “My nervous system was affected”

“When I contracted Covid, the vaccines were not yet available. I immediately felt more tired, less energetic. It is particularly difficult for the memory. I have slight memory lapses. For example, I am a nurse and sometimes I have to weigh a baby. Now I have to write down the weight right away because I forget it very quickly.

I had been arrested for two months, but when I started again I still had a persistent fever. At the slightest exertion I had chest pains, tachycardia. I did zumba, went for walks, but now I can’t. I think my nervous system is compromised and tends to heat up quickly.

Despite everything, I’m starting to see the end of the tunnel, thanks in particular to the vaccine. I took the first dose and was virtually symptom free for two weeks. Unfortunately, three months later it was back. The second dose was a bit the opposite. First headache, but clear improvement after two months.

Psychologically it is difficult to live. However, I have not experienced a depressive episode like other people affected by a long Covid. Since I was able to work again, I didn’t go in circles at home. In these cases, we spend our time on the internet, on forums, and it’s scary. I’m also fortunate to be well surrounded. Even when I’m exhausted, it feels good. »

David, 49, Clamecy: ‘Like I don’t have air to inflate a balloon’

“I was hospitalized in January and stayed on respiratory support for several weeks. I go to a pulmonologist every month because he saw lesions in the lower part of my lungs on a CT scan. When I stopped needing oxygen, I felt better. But I haven’t seen any improvement since then.

I don’t really feel bad, but I’m still tired all the time. As soon as I make an effort, cooking or cleaning myself, it becomes difficult. When I walk past the mower, I do this several times. To describe what I’m feeling, it’s like I don’t have air to inflate a balloon.

I’m free because I’m a workshop manager and I travel a lot. This is currently not possible for me. It’s hard to accept because I’ve been working for thirty years and I’ve never been arrested like this. I feel weak and can’t see the end of the tunnel.

I haven’t been vaccinated and still can’t because you have to take the first dose in a structure and there are no more in Clamecy. I have to go to Nevers or Auxerre and I don’t have enough energy today. »

Christelle, 45, Decize: “I will never recover all my lung capacity”

“I got infected in April 2021 when I was not yet vaccinated and since then I have not returned to my job as a cleaning lady. Since then I have been explained at my work. I still feel very tired, constant shortness of breath, for example when climbing stairs, and headaches. I am quickly saturated with oxygen.

In the first month there was a development because I came back from far away. Ten days of CPR, then a week on Covid duty and another week on pulmonology because I had lost 75% of my lung capacity. I continued with respiratory support for two or three months. Turning off the oxygen had been a step forward. I could walk longer distances again.

However, I do not see the end of the tunnel. I find it stagnating and my doctor told me I will never regain all of my lung capacity. It’s difficult psychologically. I was an active person and I can’t be anymore. I have to move, I can’t sit still. However, I often have to. And then I feel useless because I’m unsuitable for my job. »

Vincent Darbeau

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