August 2nd, 2022Why no-one cares about your long Covid
IT’S been a while since I’ve written a story. It’s also been a while since I’ve breathed freely. Or gotten through a day without a nap. Or been for a walk. Anywhere. Just for the joy of it.
How long? Since Covid.
Nearly six months, now. Long enough to be referred to, but not yet seen by, the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Long Covid Clinic.
Pre-Covid, I swam about 20km a week, walked about 25km a week, lived, worked and played as per normal. I was up at 5am, went for a big walk wearing a 10kg weight vest, I got my beautiful high-needs daughter ready and off to school, worked a full day, picked her up from school, fitted in some loads of washing, cooked tea and fell into bed happily exhausted. Yesterday? Yesterday I couldn’t get out of bed.
We’re gradually seeing more clinical studies, and income protection claims, showing how bad the problem really is. But the really annoying part? We’ve been on about it for a while . It’s just that people don’t hear us. Not after the first time, anyway. It goes like this – I say ‘I have long Covid!’ and the person says ‘Oh no!…’ then after a few days comes the absolute clanger of the most annoying things people can say… ‘what’s wrong?’
Yep. Still the long Covid. Maybe that’s why they call it ‘long’. Because it hasn’t been fixed in the two days since you last saw me. And so forgive me, world, when I cut out the middle man and just start going around randomly pausing to throw back my head and yell ‘long Covid!’. You’ve created a monster.
So now there’s a new study ‘shedding light’ on who gets long Covid and why. Again, full of judgment. ‘More women report long Covid symptoms.’ Excuse me? We’re not reporting ‘long Covid symptoms’ we are reporting a medically diagnosed disease called long Covid, do not try to trivialise it by referring only to ‘reporting symptoms’. Also, why is it women? Well, at a guess, it’s because men are generally far less likely to present to a medical practitioner than women are.
Also, people with poor physical or mental health, overweight or asthma. Overweight?! For goodness’ sake. You could be 400kgs and ordering 15 pizzas delivered through your bedroom window to hide it from the family for all I care,
Long Covid hits who it hits without limiting itself to our strict rules of what we want diseases to do to be more predictable and make us feel smug if we don’t fit the go-to lifestyle factors.
With my thumb at the end of my nose and fingers waggling mid-air, I blow a raspberry in your general direction, long-Covid-haters. Stop judging us. Stop ignoring us. Stop trying to fix us. And stop giving us homework – I’m not going to try ice baths, or your batty ideas about where I might want to try sticking a lemon to help. Sit down, shut up, listen to us, then just nod your head. Maybe help round the house a bit. It’s all we ask of you.
And in the meantime? Just to be clear? I care about your long Covid. Each and every one of you suffering every day with it.
Words: Kate Taylor