When the Doctor Is a Covid ‘Long Hauler’
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Shannon Gulliver Caspersen, M.D, shares her experience after she contracted what was initially a fairly mild case of Covid-19 in early March.

7 months later, I remain substantially debilitated, with profound exhaustion. My early symptoms were fairly typical, with a sore throat, headache, body aches and fatigue.

When I developed shortness of breath and chest pain, I went to the E.R. My chest X-ray and oxygen saturation was normal, so I was sent home with an inhaler and was on the mend within 2 weeks.

But then the sequelae — the medical word for longer-term consequences — set in. My ongoing symptoms are familiar to many of the so-called Covid “long-haulers”.

I have been diagnosed with dysautonomia, a disorder of the autonomic nervous system that is commonly triggered by viral infections. My specific form of dysautonomia, called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS.

POTS precludes standing for more than a few minutes at a time, because autonomic damage prevents blood vessels in the lower extremities from properly returning blood to the heart and brain against gravity. Heart rate can double or triple on standing, and lack of oxygen to the brain and upper body lead to many of the symptoms seen in POTS patients: dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain, “brain fog.”

Increasingly, doctors are recognizing that POTS appears to account for many of the Covid long-haul symptoms being reported around the world.

Here’s why else I am lucky: My medical specialty is psychiatry. I can work from home using a telemedicine platform to see my patients and Zoom to do my teaching. If I were a surgeon, or a gynaecologist, or an ophthalmologist, I would be unable to continue to work and would be a candidate for formal disability benefits.

What of other Covid long-haulers who have more physically demanding jobs than I do? What about those who are single parents? How and when will they return to work and normal parenting? What if they never can?

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/21/well/live/when-the-doctor-is-a-covid-long-hauler.html
Dr. M●. S●●●●●l I●●●m S●●●n and 15 others like this13 shares
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