19 years old - Cologne, Germany
Eva fell ill with COVID-19 in October 2020. Her symptoms consisted of fatigue, throat, head,
and chest pain, difficulty breathing, and more. They worsened every day, to the point where she required ambulatory care for her hyperventilation. At the hospital, she was unable to be seen by a pulmonologist and was denied a chest X-ray; Eva had to drive herself home, despite the fact that her breathing had only slightly calmed, due to the fact that she was the only positive COVID case in her household and her 14 days of quarantine weren't over.
Upon returning to school, Eva realized the long term consequences of her initial infection. She noticed that walking up stairs became increasingly difficult and painful, and struggled to catch her breath on her way to class. She grappled with concentration and learning difficulties, a result of the brain-fog that overtook her. Often, she would return home early, where she'd sleep the remainder of the day.
Eva visited the emergency room a second time, where she was again denied access to a pulmonology consult. When she was finally able to consult a specialist, her lung function tests were so abnormal, she was required to do them twice as they believed the machine to be broken.
She also visited an ENT, who diagnosed her with vocal cord disfunction, that Eva later found out was due to post-viral neuropathy affecting her vocal cords. In order to treat this, she attends breathing and relaxation therapy, which allows her to relax her airways before an attack and prevent fainting and difficulty breathing. For a five week period, Eva stayed at a VCD Rehabilitation center 8 hours away from her family, where she was treated with a number of supplements, breathing physical therapy, regular physical therapy, acupuncture, relaxation therapy, and voice therapy, among other things.
There, she realized she had far more long-term symptoms than she had originally noticed, and was diagnosed with chronic Post Covid fatigue, which were attributed to her concentration and memory problems, eyesight problems, sensory disorders in her hands, and sleeping problems.
Since the end of her stay in mid January, she has noticed that her health is taking a turn for the better. Eva no longer feels the need to sleep up to 16h a day, and is thankfully able to graduate on time given her hard work, despite the difficult circumstances.
Daily tasks like walking a flight of stairs or riding her bicycle are still a struggle, but she is adapting, and she finds it easier to cope with than 7 months prior.
Eva was perfectly healthy and very active before her infection, and hopes the community of long haulers she'll meet will provide her with a much needed boost in the right direction.