Grayson was in the process of recovering from a hip operation when he fell ill with Covid in late 2020. He has been told that Covid may be responsible for exacerbating the constant hip pain he experiences, and he worries that some of his symptoms may be long term or permanent. Grayson was interviewed in October 2021.

Grayson felt ‘pretty healthy’ for his age before getting Covid. He had ‘gone years’ without going to the GP. He had two hip operations, the most recent one 3 months before catching Covid. He feels he had become somewhat overweight after giving up active sport in his late 40s, and he wonders whether this may have affected his resilience to Covid.

He developed horrible, ‘classic’ symptoms of Covid in late December 2020 – he said it was the most ill he’d ever been. His wife was very ill with Covid at the same time and needed to be hospitalised. His son had Covid at the same time too. After feeling very unwell for about three weeks, he felt the worst was over but he went on to develop some new symptoms which came in two distinct phases. This was at the height of the ‘Kent’ variant in the UK, when there was much discussion about the dangers of Covid, and he feared getting very unwell, being in hospital and possibly dying.

His first, ‘post-Covid’ phase was very intense and unpredictable. He said the symptoms ‘all kind of swirled around and it was like they were playing some kind of game of tag, you know, handing the baton to the next symptom.’ His symptoms included ‘incredible’ bouts of soreness and tenderness of the muscles around his hips and back, fatigue, acute dizzy spells, tinnitus, wheeziness, headaches, brain fog and diarrhoea. An MRI scan showed inflammation in the muscle sheath around the hip.

After about 9 weeks (week 12 after getting Covid), everything seemed to calm down. The dizzy spells, diarrhoea and headaches disappeared, and he went into a new, more settled ‘Long Covid’ phase where he was left with hip and back pain, which affects his sleep, and an asthmatic-type cough, discomfort in the lungs and difficulty breathing. These ongoing symptoms have been detrimental to his quality of life and he fears that some may be long term or possibly permanent.

Whilst he is thankful for what the NHS was able to offer him, he found it shocking and frightening to see the NHS ‘under siege’ at that stage. He is very conscious that medical science does not yet have answers about what will happen to people with Long Covid. He finds the absence of scientific understanding around the causes and potential cure for Long Covid unsettling.

Apart from during the initial three weeks of having Covid, Grayson was able to carry on working in his very demanding job. His employer was supportive and he had a phased return to work.

He isn’t taking any regular medication for his symptoms, though he used painkillers during the more acute phase of his post Covid symptoms.

His message to others is that everyone deserves to be heard, no matter how serious or different their symptoms are. He feels that people who were seriously ill with Covid early on in the pandemic are likely to have been affected psychologically – it was a frightening time to have an illness that totally disrupted day-to-day life in society. He feels that because post Covid symptoms are so widespread and varied, there is a need for more specialist services, support and advice for people with Long Covid – both in hospitals and primary care, including for people who like him now have less acute symptoms which nonetheless affect his daily life. He thinks health professionals need to be more upfront and honest with their patients when they don’t yet have answers to explain the condition.