COVID Long Haulers: Survivors Believe They Will Never Be Normal Again

COVID Long-Haulers

For several COVID long-haulers, recovery has not been easy or swift at all. Instead, it is like you are starting to live with the virus forever. One such person who is still going through hell is the senior editor of Yahoo! NEWS, Ed Hornick. He has been experiencing COVID long-haulers symptoms since January. Hornick describes his physical condition by saying that he feels he was going through an NYC Marathon’s painful process. He feels like he is continually running the 26.2-mile distance without any training.

The Yahoo editor feels that he is like an iPhone 6S that does not charge beyond 50%. Whenever he tries to overexert himself, there is a strange acidic, burning sensation in his lungs. As a result, breathing is difficult. Moreover, common COVID long-haulers symptoms include dry coughing, followed by frequent heart palpitations. There are tremendous body-ache and joint inflammation. Besides, as Hornick says, he feels he may pass out whenever he tries to get up quickly.

Anyone around feeling the same way is now a part of the COVID long-haulers world. It is the most terrible situation for any patient. Precisely, he is hanging in the middle of healing and sickness. Neither does he feel sick to be on a ventilator, nor is he recovering correctly. The continuous tickling in the nerves and electric-like zaps keep radiating through Hornick’s arms, feet, and legs. He feels like there is a permanent fog in his head, restricting his brain functioning. Plus, frequent headaches are quite severe, and weird dreams always disrupt sound sleep.

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COVID long-haulers: Beginning of the journey

The journey began at Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Iceland on January 18. Within a week, the COVID long-haulers symptoms started to increase at London’s Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. After Ed Hornick’s return from a long weekend in Reykjavik, UK, he was in the hospital for an emergency heart and lung condition. Initially, the doctor was assuming it to be a blood clot. However, he ruled out the same soon after. Later, he underwent an EKG, reports of which were not showing any heavily concerning symptoms. 

Hornick, after all the tests, was over asked whether he was suffering from Coronavirus. Surprisingly, the medical staff had no idea what he was talking about. Instead, they diagnosed him with pneumonia, pericarditis, and viral infection and sent him home too. The doctor also found out that there was an inflammatory condition around the outer lining of his heart. However, he was prescribed nothing much, but regular medicines, rest, and a liquid diet.

After a couple of days, Hornick was back at the hospital. The symptoms and pain were worse than before. Well, now the EKG was alright, but a few of the blood reports were not expected. He was sent back home once again, and this time with a regular anti-inflammatory, naproxen. The senior editor’s health started improving over the next couple of weeks.

The symptoms started worsening

By March 2020, all of the COVID long-haulers symptoms were more serious. It includes all the flu-like signs, such as fever, chills, nausea, dehydration, and vomiting. Very soon, Hornick was suffering from an even severe form of cardiovascular and respiratory distress. There was breathlessness, inflammatory tissues around the chest and lung cavity, pleurisy, and heart palpitations. Moreover, Hornick complained of cough, lung pain, and stooping oxygen levels. It was as if he was experiencing a heart attack even when he made a slight movement.

After surviving through this situation for a couple of months, Ed Hornick finally called up the United Kingdom coronavirus hotline. Very soon, he contacted nurses who would then come and carry on a swab test. However, after all the testing, the reports stated “undetected,” and naturally, it is a frustrating situation. According to Hornick, following the swab test, all the typical COVID-19 symptoms were worsening, and there were new side effects.

This time, the impact was directly on the gastrointestinal tract, brain, eyes, kidney, and liver. Ed was realizing already that his immune system was giving up. Besides, the next few days were all the more difficult with the weakness and the confusing advice from medical officers. Finally, on his next visit to the ER, Hornick was tested COVID-19 positive. By April, he was recovering from the initial infection. However, newer ailments were showing up, accompanied by a few of the older symptoms too.

“Community is the biggest strength”

The struggle was ultimately a lesson for Hornick who understood that he was in for a very long battle. Moreover, he knew that he was not alone in this journey. In the following weeks, several other similar issues came out in public. People are slowly realizing that the virus is more dangerous than everyone thought it was. Health experts and medical officers were unclear about the requirements and tests. On the other hand, the pandemic was spreading mightily every passing day.

After several people, some of them quite well-known were tested COVID-19 positive, Ed Hornick felt a sense of company. One day, as he returned home from the doctor’s clinic in the UK, he spotted a billboard. On it was written that community is a great strength, and it hit Hornick hard. He finally decides to come out as a coronavirus patient to his friends and family. Now, he recalls all of it and recognizes so many people who stood by him throughout his journey. Moreover, he states that his journey is still not over, and all the support he gets every day is overwhelming.

As we get to know more about coronavirus research progress, it gives rise to more curiosity. Patients and survivors are still wondering what awaits us in the future. There are lesser answers and more questions at present. However, for COVID long-haulers, it is essential to come out in the community. It not only gives the patient more excellent treatment opportunities but a lot of peace as well.


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