Penzance woman describes how long Covid has ‘changed everything’ in her life


A woman from Penzance who spoke about her experience living with the debilitating symptoms of the long Covid is encouraging others to do the same, in the hopes that it will raise awareness of the disease.

Angie McKniff, 58, first contracted Covid in early August this year and has not recovered since. Although she was not quite able to distinguish when her condition became classified as “long Covid”, she knew she was free from coronavirus when her symptoms persisted but the PCR tests came back negative.

Read more:More children under 15 have Covid in Cornwall than ever as school peak continues

Angie says that for a long time Covid changed “everything” in her life and that she is no longer able to do the things she used to do before she got sick.

She said: “Before I contracted Covid, I swam or exercised in the water every day at the UNA [swimming pool] for a minimum of one mile and has been since May. I challenged myself for my birthday in August to do three miles and I was already at two and a half miles but since Covid I have only returned once to UNA.

“Now my husband helps me wash and he’s basically my gofer – go for this and go for that – and I spend more time in bed than outside because I’m so out of breath just in getting up and going to the bathroom. “

Not only has Covid affected Angie’s physical health for a long time, it has also put a strain on her mental health as she says her recovery can feel “extremely lonely” at times.

She said: “I feel like everyone is going on with their lives and yet mine is in freefall. Not knowing when the end is in sight is very frustrating because you can’t plan anything and not want to let go. fall your friends, my diary is empty.

“I am at the acceptance stage trying to come to terms with a disease that is still in its infancy through understanding and research.”

She continued: “The best description [of what it feels like living with long Covid] came from an article I read that described it sort of like “someone throwing a hand grenade into our immune system, that all immune cell populations are completely upside down and unstable for years” .

Although Angie has yet to gain access to the long Covid assessment clinic in Treliske, she has had phone consultations with a doctor regarding her condition and was able to secure a face-to-face appointment with them. Once. She is also currently waiting to make an appointment for a chest x-ray.

Angie hopes that by sharing her experience with the long Covid, she will encourage more people living with the disease to do the same, in order to raise awareness of a disease that is “only in its infancy”.

She said: “Until I went through it, I was totally unconscious. At worst, I thought it would be a bad cold, but I was so wrong. I think the only way people will understand is to go through it themselves or know someone else going through it or be educated on forums like [support groups on Facebook].

Everyone’s experience of the long Covid is different but for the moment, I do not live with it, I exist so much it is debilitating. For example, we had to cancel our 35th wedding anniversary weekend because I was not well enough to travel. “

She continued: “It is not all gloomy, because I was able to accompany my mother and my daughter to Mallorca for 16 days even though I spent more time in bed than standing, when we were there. C was also on this trip. that I first rented a scooter because I can’t walk without being out of breath and realized that it gives me more freedom, so I now have my own mobility scooter But after I got home from vacation I spent two weeks solidly in bed recovering but it was worth it.

“It’s my experience, if I get out at all, I crash and burn for the next couple of days. I have to learn to be patient and learn to control myself.”

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