Post-COVID clinic to open in Canberra as long-term effects of virus become clearer

Post-COVID clinic to open in Canberra as long-term effects of virus become clearer. By Olivia Ireland.

Sonya Heaney was told she had recovered from COVID back in September, several days later she woke up in the ICU with organ failure and continues to suffer the effects today.

Ms Heaney [who is in her 30’s] can now only go for five-minute walks, has 36 per cent organ function and feels extremely anxious going grocery shopping due to the trauma of her experience. …

“When you have COVID, there’s a daily survey you fill out to report symptoms, I had a really mild condition and eventually was told I no longer had the disease because I didn’t have a shortness of breath, lack of taste or any other issues.

“A couple of days later I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t eat, I got two black eyes and eventually fell unconscious on the floor. When they called the ambulance I started to hallucinate and I thought they were going to put me in the psychiatric ward.

“Three days after I still hadn’t gone to hospital and eventually it was so bad at 3am that an ambulance was called and the paramedics told me I didn’t need to bring any clothes because they thought I’d be sent back home in a couple of hours.

“Later that morning I was in ICU with 100 per cent kidney failure, liver and pancreas damage, septicemia and anemia. I didn’t leave hospital for about a month and lost about 15 kilograms.” …

Ms Heaney has also struggled mentally with the level of online abuse and trolling she receives speaking out on Twitter about her experience with COVID.

“People can be so horrible, a lot of people accuse me of making it all up and that COVID isn’t a big deal which is really hard to read online,” Ms Heaney said.

“I thought more people would listen to those of us who’ve had COVID and stop ridiculing us online, it’s not funny or masculine to be laughing at someone who had such a traumatic experience. …

Ms Heaney said more focus on those who experience long COVID and symptoms that are outside of the typical experience can’t come soon enough.

“I just got out of hospital at the end of October and at the time I had 23 doctors who couldn’t work out what was wrong with me because it was related to COVID while they all specialised in kidney failure that takes years to develop for most patients,” she said. …

“While ACT Health did a great job when I had COVID, after my two weeks were up I was essentially on my own and my hospitalisation will never be counted as a COVID one because I had allegedly already recovered.” An ACT government spokesperson said “when a case was cleared of their infection, they were removed from our active case number and therefore from further reporting.”

It’s not the flu.