Even just talking with a friend can make John Hordyk feel exhausted.
“It can take awhile for me to catch my breath,” he said.
Hordyk is 38 years old, active and in good health. His X-rays and blood tests are clear and nothing seems out of the ordinary.
However, last December he caught COVID-19. He got head and body aches, chills, fever and shortness of breath. It was the sickest he has ever been. While the other symptoms have gone, more than two months later he still feels out of breath, even from just talking.
“I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent.”
Doctors told Hordyk recently that he has post-COVID-19 syndrome, also called the ‘Long-COVID.’ According to the World Health Organization, about one in 10 COVID-19 sufferers remain ill after 12 weeks and for some it’s much longer.
Many COVID-19 survivors have reported extreme fatigue weeks after the virus is no longer detected in their body. Others have permanent damage to their heart, lungs and brain.
“Just because I didn’t die, doesn’t mean I’m OK.”
Experts say the long-term health impacts of COVID-19 are still largely unknown. Specialized clinics have opened in Western and Central Canada to help the COVID-19 “long haulers,” offering access to occupational therapists, nutritionists, psychologists, nurses and specialists.
While Hordyk did try returning to his job in January, he said work had him bent over and exhausted. So, doctors sent him home.
“I’m not getting worse, but I’m not getting better.”
Doctors may eventually send him to a post-COVID-19 clinic in Vancouver.
Hordyk suspects he caught the virus at a work camp in northern B.C., from a coworker who died from COVID-19 in January.
He said it’s important to do what we can to stop the spread of the virus, such as through vaccines, masks, social distancing and quarantines.
“We can stop it, but it requires a lot of political will.”
From January 2020 to January 2021, 163 Revelstoke residents have tested positive for COVID-19.
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