‘Long Covid has ruined my life’
Siobhan Bligh is only 33, and yet has seen her life ravaged by Covid-19 and has gone from being a fit and active woman, working as a humanitarian in London and travelling abroad for work, to needing full-time care.
Not only was she in her prime physical fitness, able to run 4km in 20 minutes three times a week and also rock climbed twice a week, but was in training to join the Royal Navy Reserves.
But then Siobhan became so ill she had to move back in with her parents in Louth, and now wants to raise awareness of the dangers of long Covid, and the devastating effects it can have on your life.
Siobhan caught Covid-19 in November 2021 in between getting her first and second Covid vaccines and suffered from Covid symptoms for around four to five days.
She seemed to recover, but then a week after she went for a run and collapsed the day after following a Zoom call with her boss, ending up in hospital unable to breathe or move.
She said: “I then had the worst month of my life, so ill and disabled my mum had to put a drink into my mouth because I couldn’t move. I remember just crying because it was so hard.”
Now, three months on Siobhan cannot leave her bed most days, and has not left the house since then.
She said: “The best way to describe it is like an iPhone battery being constantly on red and being completely drained of energy.
“I had to cancel my Navy treadmill test because I can barely walka round the garden without getting exhausted. It’s really affected me on a personal level.”
Luckily, Siobhan’s employers have been very understanding and she has had to reduce her working hours from 30 hours a week to 10, but she still worries that she will have to be declared as disabled and be signed off on long-term sick pay.
“I know I’m not alone in this, so many of people are getting long Covid symptoms and not recovering, many in the NHS and statistics from the Office for National Statistics estimates are over a million people are suffering still.
“The NHS are trying but all they can do is keep people comfortable, they can’t help treat this issue. There needs to be studies and funding if Covid is something that we have to live with for years to come.
“It’s not fair on my parents either, they’re retired and they have to look after me because I can’t cook for myself.
After three months it’s really starting to get me down, I just want my life back.”