Coronavirus in Scotland: Scottish nurse who felt like she was ‘dying’ with Covid talks about impact of virus

A 27-year-old nurse who said she felt as though she was “dying” with Covid-19 has opened up about the impact of long Covid as she has yet to fully recover 10 months on.

Lorna Graham, a nurse from Glasgow, was diagnosed with coronavirus on April 8, and was off work for six months.

The nurse said the experience was “the worst I have felt in my life”, saying at times she felt as though she was drowning.

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Ms Graham, who has been a nurse for three years, said: “The acute phase of my illness lasted a few weeks and I can truly say I felt like I was dying. Without question it was the worst I have felt in my life.

Lorna Graham, who got coronavirus aged 26, told how she was signed off work for six months and is still suffering from weird symptoms picture: NHS GGC / SWNS

“I have had sepsis and swine flu but this was different. It felt like I was drowning; at times I couldn’t get a breath.

“This all happened despite me being a fit 26-year-old. I wasn’t a fitness fanatic, but I was active on my days off.

“In the first few weeks I was at the Covid assessment centre a few times and was sent to hospital, although never admitted. I had a temperature, no taste or smell and just slept and slept.

“I waited to recover fully and it just never came. It was October before I felt able to go back to work.”

Ms Graham said her symptoms changed throughout the illness, sometimes suffering shortness of breath, other times feeling as though “someone is digging their knuckles into my back”.

She continued: “My sense of smell has not come back, so it’s been a long time since I tasted a meal properly.

“I can tell if something is sweet or savoury, or salty or spicy. But not what the actual taste is; it’s odd.

“I also get ‘fake’ smells. I can smell smoke sometimes, when nobody near me is smoking. I also get a mouldy smell which isn’t pleasant!

“There is no pattern to my flare-ups. Right now I have felt unwell for about six days, and other times it can be three on, three off. I’m not unwell enough to be off work, but I am tired and fed up feeling like this.

“I have tried some support groups, but come off them as it’s soul destroying.

“I probably look fine. I’ve lost more than a stone and my friends have all commented. I am the thinnest I have been since I was about 14 but I’m not trying to lose weight.

“As a nurse I know that and know there are so many people in greater need than me right now.

“On the other hand I am 27 and need to know if this is normal and is there anything else I can be doing to help myself.”

A team from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) has created a new online resource for those recovering from coronavirus.

The resource, from the physiotherapy and occupational health team, highlights that the pace of recovery could be slower than expected.

It offers advice on recovering from the virus, managing breathlessness, general wellbeing, managing fatigue, exercise programmes and more.

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