Long Covid: Cyclist has been wheelchair bound with symptoms for 6 months

8 October 2020, 10:25

By Fiona Jones

"I went to A&E five times": This perfectly healthy woman who cycled 13 miles each day now must use a wheelchair to leave the house and has not had a symptom-free day for 6 months.

Since contracting long Covid, Claire Hastie has set up the Long Covid Support Group for all those suffering with the virus for extended periods of time - it has 25,000 people in it.

"I used to cycle 13 miles a day on my commute, ate a healthy diet, active life," Ms Hastie said, "I fell ill on 17 March and I am yet to have a symptom-free day since then - she told Nick she went to A&E five times and was sometimes "practically crawling through the door."

"I now have to use a wheelchair to leave the house...my muscles are seized up with lactic acid like I've cycled up a big hill. They're like that all the time even when I wake up in the morning.

"I have breathing issues and headaches and heart issues, the list is pretty long."

Ms Hastie told Nick that thankfully she can work from home as she has a desk-based job, but for many of the people in the support group who have physical jobs, are unable to work "even six months on."

She told Nick that there has been a "major breakthrough" for Long Covid with bodies NICE and SIGN in Scotland setting out guidelines for GPs with clinics being introduced which is "hugely welcome."

"We've been invisible for many many months," she said, pointing out that a lot of people with Long Covid are not in the statistics as they fell ill in March and were not offered testing.

"I'd really like to understand the scale of this so it can be communicated," she said, estimating about 10% of people have symptoms for one month or more but is largely unsure.

She pointed out that for many of those with Long Covid, they were not put on ventilators so hospitals considered their cases "relatively not severe" - she said she has never had medication for the illness and does not predict she will any time soon.

Ms Hastie told Nick that she has been turned away from clinics who have said, "We have no idea why you can't walk and therefore you're discharged."

"We need the research to catch up," she said.