A Kerryman infected with a mild dose of Covid-19 in March 2020 is still suffering the after-effects, almost two years later.
He has spoken out about the threat of long Covid, including the lasting exhaustion and its impact on his ability to work, as efforts increase nationally to respond to the issue, including the establishment of clinics in Cork.
Rory O’Brien, 59, was previously an active walker — by June 2020, he was battling exhaustion, double-vision, vertigo, and headaches.
Now, almost two years after he was first infected, he has still been unable to return to his appliance-repair business.
“I was shaky on my legs, I couldn’t stand still for long periods of a time,” Mr O’Brien said.
“If I met someone for a chat, I needed something to hold onto be it a fridge door in Aldi or a car to lean on.”
He is now waiting to see a neurologist but hopes he can go back to work soon. Mr O’Brien is hopeful the slight improvement he has seen in recent weeks continues.
It is about problem-solving, there is brain-fog, confusion and it is quite frustrating.
“That’s no way to run a business,” he said.
In Cork City, Eyvonne Cusack was diagnosed with Post-Covid POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) following a Covid-infection in October 2020.
Her symptoms, including vertigo, started four to six weeks afterwards, she said: “It is a total nightmare. POTS is frightening.”
She only returned to work last week on a part-time basis, and the special needs teaching assistant said her ill-health cut short an attempt to return last April.
“The [heart] palpitations just got worse and worse, I got chest pain,” Ms Cusack said.
Before Covid, myself and my husband were outdoorsy people. I loved hiking, cycling, and that life is gone.
Efforts are increasing on a national basis to respond to people suffering with the effects of long Covid.
Cork University Hospital (CUH) is to host two clinics for patients, one for people who are less than 12 weeks since infection and a second for people who are more than 12 weeks post-infection.