‘Some days it’s a struggle just to go downstairs’ – life with long Covid

A couple have described the devastating impact of the ongoing effects of a Covid-19 infection.

Joanna House and her partner Ash Wood have suffered symptoms of long Covid since March.

Both have been forced to stop work and rely on their teenage sons, aged 15 and 18, to do most cooking and cleaning.

Dr House, 51, a senior climate change academic at the University of Bristol, and Mr Wood, 52, tended to an elderly neighbour who had fallen in his home in March.

It was unknown at the time that he had Covid-19. He died from the disease a few days later.

The couple, from Bristol, went on to suffer symptoms of Covid-19, as did one of their sons.

Neither was tested at the time because mass testing was not available, but Dr House has since had her infection confirmed.

While their son recovered, the couple continue to experience symptoms including breathlessness, fatigue, tachycardia – an abnormally fast heart rate – and “brain fog”.

Everyday tasks remain difficult, they said.

“Even on a good day we only get a few short bursts of energy, and some days it’s a struggle just to go downstairs to make a cup of tea,” Dr House said.

“Without formal recognition of long Covid, and the sort of support that would come with it, we feel in limbo – there’s just so much uncertainty around our health, our work and the future for us and our boys.

“We’ve even written our wills just in case the worst happens.

“This is not a ‘mild’ illness. What we’re really looking for right now is recognition, for us and others that struggled at home and were not tested, so that we can be monitored and the right services are provided to us at the right time.

“That would be massive, and with it we could hopefully begin to get back to some kind of normal.”

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