The Daily Telegraph

‘I WAS A NURSE – NOW I’M ES­SEN­TIALLY HOUSE­BOUND’

Nora Dim­itrova, 40, Southamp­ton

- As told to Luke Mintz

My job as an NHS nurse meant my ex­po­sure to the virus was al­ways rea­son­ably high. While I was lucky to re­ceive proper PPE, some of my col­leagues were given just an apron and sur­gi­cal mask, and my FFP 3 face mask was never fit-tested be­cause I was not a front-line clin­i­cian, even though I walked up and down the Covid ward, tak­ing blood sam­ples from pa­tients for re­search pur­poses.

So it was no sur­prise when, in early April, I no­ticed a per­sis­tent cough. For four weeks, I felt con­stantly short of breath, with a tight­ness in my chest. I was un­able to carry out even the sim­plest house­hold chores (par­tic­u­larly

chal­leng­ing when you live alone, as I do). Af­ter that, I as­sumed, the virus would pass and I could re­turn to nor­mal.

But I’ve been in it for the long haul. The most se­ri­ous symp­toms have sub­sided – thank­fully, I no longer feel like my lungs are full of fluid – but I still be­come ex­hausted at the slight­est ex­er­tion, like walk­ing from my house to the car. Un­able to re­turn to work, I’ve es­sen­tially be­come house­bound. Tasks as small as climb­ing the stairs or cook­ing a meal have to be planned in advance, and bro­ken into man­age­able chunks.

I’m op­ti­mistic that doc­tors will learn more about long Covid, and how to treat it. But re­search can take years – time I don’t want to waste in­doors.

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