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It feels like you’re drowning from the inside out’ – one mum’s experience of long COVID

A 44-year-old mum who has been living with long Covid since the start of the pandemic, is urging people to get protected against the virus or to conduct thorough research if they remain unsure about getting vaccinated.

Jodi Avery’s plea comes as the NHS across Suffolk and north east Essex continues to have plenty of vaccination provision available with clinicians once again urging eligible people to come forward if they have not done so already.Jodi, who lives in Framlingham in Suffolk, said the illness has turned her life upside down:

“It knocks you for six and it really isn’t like having a cold or flu - It feels like you’re drowning from the inside out.

“It’s like being hit by a train and the mental aspect of it too is very difficult to get your head around. “I’ve had to get some counselling because I just want to get better.

“It’s not a case of give it a month and you’ll be ok. “It’s been nearly two years on and off now and I don’t feel any closer to reaching the finish line.”

Jodi recalled when she first started to get symptoms: “For me personally it started with a terrible headache that I couldn’t shake, and I was in bed for four or five days.

“I was extremely tired, had a high temperature and I went back to work after a few weeks on a phased return, but I caught it again.

“It really wiped me out again and this time I really didn’t recover – the symptoms were so strong.

“It was the aftermath for me which has caused all sorts of things. I can’t really exercise and live with a shortage of breath.

“I’ve been suffering with ongoing nerve damage in my arms and hands that is currently being investigated but is thought to be linked to long Covid.

“It’s just constant. I get over one thing and then something else equally as challenging comes along.”

Jodi said when she caught Covid, there was no vaccine available as it was in the very early days of the pandemic. Back then, Jodi said she led an active lifestyle: “Before getting Covid I was involved in all sorts of things – charity challenges, walks, cycling across the country, I have always been a runner and generally been fit and well.

“We have a dog to give me a reason to go out but today I had to call a friend to help me as I didn’t have enough energy in the batteries.

“Some days it gets too much – normally it’s a build up during the week and by Friday I’m normally fairly broken.”

The radiographer who works at Ipswich Hospital had this message for anyone who is hesitant about getting the vaccination.

Jodi said: “Long Covid is not what everybody perceives it to be. It is not a case of you get a cold, or you die.

“There is a huge number of people who sit in the middle who consequently are like me and it’s life changing.

“I really have to manage my time now - I can’t be spontaneous like I used to be.

“Please get your vaccination and if you’re unsure, do your research – there is plenty of information out there but please go to trusted sources of information – don’t trust everything you read on social media.”

For an up-to-date list of walk in clinics, please visit www.sneevaccine.org.uk

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