The Daily Telegraph


Paul Power, 52, Mersey­side

- As told to Luke Mintz

When I con­tracted Covid in late March, a week spent in bed with flu-like symp­toms made me think I was one of the lucky ones.

I started to feel bet­ter, and was keen to re­turn to my en­er­getic life as a po­lice firearms of­fi­cer, where I reg­u­larly have to un­dergo fit­ness tests. But when I tried to re-em­brace my jog­ging rou­tine, I be­came im­mensely tired. I left it a few more weeks, and this time tried cy­cling. Again, I strug­gled to com­plete a short jour­ney, ham­pered by a painful tight­ness in my chest.

Over the last few months, an un­pleas­ant and fright­en­ing pat­tern has emerged. My breath be­comes short at the slight­est ex­er­tion; my joints are sore from arthri­tis. I suf­fer dis­ori­ent­ing bouts of se­vere dizzi­ness, which have landed me in A&E twice so far. My blood oxy­gen lev­els drop when I carry out a mun­dane task, like putting out my wash­ing. Worst of all, I’ve been un­able to re­turn to work: it’s dif­fi­cult to write emails, and in con­ver­sa­tion I find my­self re­peat­ing the same sen­tence twice.

For three months I was un­able to see an NHS GP face-to­face, and when I even­tu­ally se­cured an ap­point­ment he sug­gested the symp­toms were psy­cho­log­i­cal.

I paid for a pri­vate GP, who di­ag­nosed me as “clin­i­cally post-covid”. I was pre­scribed steroids for my chest, which helped, but I still have to wait months for spe­cial­ist heart and lung ap­point­ments.

The Gov­ern­ment talks about postCovid clin­ics, but there still seems to be no NHS pro­vi­sion. I hope that soon I can re­turn to the ac­tive life I once loved.

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