For Covid-19 long-haul, online therapy group offers refuge – Huntington Now
Lori Donahue doesn’t have to think back to March 2020 when she first developed Covid-19 to remember the debilitating effects of the virus.
Some of them are still with the Nassau County resident, 20 months after she was infected, and manifest themselves in bizarre ways, from a “vibrating” sensation in her legs to a brain fog that leaves her. keeps her from remembering things she has been doing for decades. .
She copes with the long-term symptoms of Covid-19 with the help of her husband and boss, but largely a therapeutic support group led by Kacey Farber, social worker and case manager at Huntington Hospital.
The Long Haul Group is one of many online sessions hosted by Farber, including a group that helps those who mourn someone lost to illness.
For Donahue, the Covid Survivors Therapy Group has provided support, information and contacts during the fight to keep the disease from dominating his life.
The symptoms have been strange, nothing experts expected when the disease first appeared worldwide in 2020 and was initially considered a respiratory illness.
At first she was at home, bedridden, unable to move. She experienced alternating chills and fever, with fatigue setting in in May 2020. Her hair began to fall out and she developed constant pain in her joints, followed by the onset of brain fog.
âI couldn’t remember things,â she said. âThe brain fog was a bit confusing when you can’t remember how to do things or forget to do things. I felt crazy.
âThe first time I drove in January, all of a sudden I couldn’t remember where I was going,â she said. “I had to stop and look at my phone diary, then figure out how to get to the doctor’s office,” the same doctor she had been seeing for years.
She couldn’t do such basic daily activities as remembering to turn off the water when using the kitchen sink, or saving a file on her computer. “It would all come back to me eventually, but it was really annoying.” She resorted to herself, leaving notes to herself as reminders.
Symptoms varied across a variety of systems, including pain in her lungs, although her oxygen level was okay, a cracked tooth, which she learned was a common problem for long-haul Coviders and phantom smells that don’t exist. She will smell like smoke, for example, when no one else does, and she will experience inexplicable tastes, like a metallic taste in anything that has lasted for months, and tinnitus.
In March or April of this year, after visiting a clinic in Stony Brook, she learned that the support group was being formed.
âIt was the perfect time to bond with people,â she said. âYou get that connection. It has been a blessing to have this connection with people, âshe said. âThe band has been like a safe haven, just to talk to the people who get it. A lot of people are fed up with it; I’m sick of it too. I hate to hear about it (Covid) but I still have to face it. “
It is this connection with others that is essential in helping people cope, Farber said. âPeople feel very isolated. The Covid has become very politicized. They really enjoy the time spent together, to connect and talk about the struggles they’ve had.
Farber started running support groups in October 2019; Covid groups started operating in March in April 2020, and she had six bereavement groups.
The long-haul group started in April 2021.
âIt’s a brilliant virus,â Farber said. âThere is no rhyme or reason for who gets sick, why some people have persistent symptoms and someone else is fine. It’s so sad how much Covid has taken so much. “
For the members of his group, the Covid âimpacts them every day. They must prioritize taking care of themselves, if they are going for a walk, they must take the time to rest. Symptoms she sees in long-haul travelers include brain fog, fatigue, disconnection between thought and speech, breathing problems, shortness of breath. Patients need recovery time to do something that others don’t even have to think about.
âI feel so lucky that these people have let me into their lives. it’s a unique and intimate relationship, âsaid Farber.
Donahue, who is recovering, said members of the group were exchanging information about treatments they had heard of or diet ideas or the latest information they had heard about doctors. âWe are able to talk about what we are feeling and going through,â she says. It gives us a place where we are understood.