Jessica Robinson is 44-years-old. When she gets up in the morning, her body aches so bad she “feels like she’s 80.” Her stomach hurts. She can’t eat. Before this all started, she weighed 150 pounds. She is now down to 125. “You don’t know if you’re going to have a good day or a bad day,” Robinson said. “Some days I wake up and it’s just my stomach and some days I’ll wake up and my legs and my stomach hurt and then I have a headache.”
Jessica is a nurse from Panama City. She was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 8th. Robinson thinks she contracted Covid from a coworker at the hospital where she works. “I had like, the shortness of breath and I went back to the hospital. They said, ‘oh you got pneumonia (a common complication of Covid).’ And I really thought that I wasn’t going to make it because I couldn’t breathe,” Robinson said.
Four months after testing positive, Robinson’s still facing the repercussions of this virus. Robinson has also been diagnosed with colitis, gastroenteritis, and hypokalemia. Despite these diagnoses, the state of her health is still undetermined. She calls it, “a waiting game.”
Robinson is part of what many are now referring to as “long-haulers” –people experiencing the lingering symptoms of COVID-19. As the months went by and the effects of the virus remained, she noticed that people were tired of hearing about her story. Like Robinson, there is a community of long-haulers with similar COVID-19 experiences. She connected with Survivor Corps after noticing a lack of empathy towards her story. “It seems like a major part of what they provide is, sort of, I don’t know, group therapy almost,” Robinson said. “Like a support group for people who are going through what you’re going through when other people don’t understand.”
Despite finding a sense of comfort and security with Survivor Corps, Robinson still fears testing positive for COVID-19 again with symptoms that are even more severe the second time around. For now, she asks health care providers and the public to listen. “Listen. Just listen,” Robinson said. “Wear a mask, because you never know who you can bring it to. It may be your mother, your father, your child, your sister. Wear a mask, be diligent, and be aware of your surroundings.”
To learn more about long-term COVID symptoms and hear more stories from people who are experiencing lingering symptoms, listen to Epidemic E45: In for the Long-haul.