(Sophie Harrison/ The Tyee) — Before the pandemic, I was a law student who spent my weekdays studying for long hours and my weekends hiking or cycling. When I developed COVID-19 symptoms in late March 2020, my case was mild, initially, as was the case for most healthy young people.
But then I never got better. The sore throat never went away, and the shortness of breath and fatigue would get better only to get worse again. I spent the first year of the pandemic getting sicker and sicker, until I became mostly housebound, unable to walk around the block, and unable to sit up or think straight for long enough to hold down a job or continue my coursework.
Desperate for help, I was passed from doctor to doctor. I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist, multiple internists, a rheumatologist, a dermatologist and a neurologist, often waiting months between appointments. Each ruled out familiar illnesses within their specialty, then quickly passed me along to someone else. For the most part, they were sympathetic — but they also saw someone very sick who they didn’t know how to help. (…)