Professional musicians generally practice several hours every day, but that does not hold true for Reece Jacob, age 29, from Manchester. UK’s Daily Mail recently carried an article about Reece who is considered a ‘long COVID’ survivor. But if you were to ask Reese, he does not consider himself to be a survivor.
Reese has been confined to his home for over a year, and the toughest part of his ordeal is the devastating fatigue that only allows him about twenty minutes of guitar practice each day. Reese had to cancel any concerts on his tour and give up any thought of performing until he is no longer incapacitated by COVID symptoms. He also faces the uncertainty of whether or not he will eventually recover.
About Long Covid
Reese was first infected with the coronavirus in March 2020. He was just beginning to recover from the infection when his GP diagnosed Reese with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. Reese soon learned that he had never really recovered from the virus.
Fortunately, research in this field is continually improving as Reese found out when he attended the Long COVID clinic. Scientists at the clinic are working non-stop to understand and treat Long COVID.
This knowledge gives Reese support to help him manage the setbacks, fatigue, pain, brain fog, and time away from his music.
About Long Term Covid Symptoms
Generally, coronavirus patients recover within two weeks. Recently, however, there is mounting evidence that the virus and its symptoms are affecting more and more ‘long haulers’ with symptoms that just do not quit.
Estimates vary, but almost one-fifth of COVID survivors can expect long-term symptoms. Many symptoms are evident for months even though the patient has recovered.
Other estimates are presented by the SAGE Emergencies Advisory Group. SAGE suggests that over ninety percent of patients who had been hospitalized will continue to have symptoms for three months or more after their release from the hospital.
A study recently presented to the UK’s top advisers confirmed that nine out of ten COVID patients who had been hospitalized experienced symptoms for months after their discharge.
Symptoms that are similar to the fatigue and brain fog that Reese is experiencing are common, but there are other symptoms such as anxiety and depression that can be much more severe.
Reese says that his cognitive abilities have been impaired. He has trouble understanding his doctors and therefore requires others to accompany him to his doctor appointments. Reese is also dependent on others for many normal activities as he is unable to stand or walk for more than ten minutes.
He told the interviewer at BBC that his attention span is limited to about two hours and anything more causes him to “crash”. His symptoms are feelings of breathlessness and fatigue. He describes a “crash” as a feeling of being crushed by a heavy weight, almost like a sandbag. When these symptoms occur Reese gets concerned that the virus is taking control again.
Arrangements have been made for his first virtual appointment. He will discuss his COVID symptoms with his doctor using a hands-free phone. Alice Phelps, his girlfriend, will be on the call to help out.
Alice commented that their relationship and planning for their future must, for the moment, be put on hold.
Aid From the British Government
The Government has arranged for £18.5million to be used for a study of long COVID by Glasgow University. The study will include sixty-nine clinics. These actions were taken after an earlier study showed that COVID patients have lingering symptoms well after being discharged from the hospital.
The study of 325 COVID survivors in the UK found that ninety-three percent of patients reported one or more ‘long COVID’ symptoms for a minimum of three months after recovery.
Although seventy-seven percent of survivors reported fatigue and fifty-four percent of patients reported struggling for breath, there were others reporting problems with memory, sight, and brain function.
Three Basic Long COVID Groups
The first and second groups of symptoms are common such as headache, dizziness, weakness in limbs, muscle and joint pain, breathlessness, problems with balance, and fatigue. Yet taken together just as in Reese’s case, they present a significant disruption in a patient’s life.
Symptoms of the third group are losing the sense of smell and taste, not able to urinate, and loss of appetite with accompanying weight loss.
Other data shows that one in every ten people will continue to have these symptoms for up to three weeks or longer.
A support group called Long Covid has emerged along with several others for people who suspect that they have COVID-19. They are available online for people who have symptoms that are not necessarily like the textbook symptoms or who are in extended periods of recovery time.