Paul Garner: Covid-19 And Fatigue—A Game Of Snakes And Ladders

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By Paul Garner in BMJ BMJ Blogs.

 

It’s over, I thought! It was the beginning of May, after the weirdest seven weeks of illness I had ever had, a roller coaster of exhaustion, pain everywhere, tinnitus, headaches, and fog: I felt remarkably well, almost high. The aches had gone, my mind was alive, the sun was out. I wrote in an earlier opinion piece: “And today the disease has lifted.

I missed my dynamic yoga community. What better way to kick start my recovery than by joining an online class. Sunday was a HIIT session. Weights, mat, sweat towel and iPad propped up with Blu Tack. Fantastic. First workout for six long weeks. I learnt a new exercise too, a burpee combined with down-dog up-dog: I thought, soon I will be back to my proper daily workout routines. I could exercise myself out of this state of lethargy.

I was so wrong. After twelve hours, I was completely floored. I was more exhausted than ever and could not get out of bed for three days. The sweats came back. The tinnitus. The foggy head. The headaches. “I am sick of you high-performing medics,” a friend and specialist in rehabilitation said to me. “Don’t expect to be able to do what you did before.” I listened. After being confined to the house for seven days, I went for my first gentle walk. It was effortless, and the sun was shining. I extended it a little further than I had intended, a total of 2 miles. What a mistake. The next day, the covid-19 fatigue was back with a vengeance, and I was in bed for two days.

 

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Link to Covid-19 Fatigue story

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