Maria developed Covid symptoms in late December and got a positive Covid test on her daughter’s third birthday party. Maria’s Long Covid symptoms have lasted longer than she thought, and she felt that her husband had to do a lot of work while she was ill. Maria was interviewed in November 2021.

Maria developed Covid symptoms on the 21st of December 2021 but thought it was an asthma flare up until two days later when she developed a fever overnight. Maria then went to get tested for Covid but it was her daughter’s third birthday so she “ploughed on through it”. She became even more unwell on the 26th and she noticed that her sense of smell had gone, as well as feeling like she had no energy.

Maria was completely bed-bound until New Year’s Eve and has no memory leading up to it. The NHS 111 service became worried about Maria and sent paramedics around on the 31st, but they decided that she was safer and better off staying at home instead of going to hospital.

On the 2nd of January, Maria’s fever finally broke and she tried to go outside for the first time. She just about managed to “shuffle” to the lamppost outside her house. Maria had been self-isolating at home so far, but had decided not to isolate herself from her children because she had already been coughing around them when she tested positive, as well as wanting to celebrate her daughter’s birthday and Christmas.

Maria’s son wanted to look after her so he would bring her satsumas and toast when that’s all she was able to eat. Maria’s husband worked harder to entertain and look after their kids, and Maria felt that “he was pretty much a single parent” for five or six months. Maria and her family found it hard to strike a balance between giving her time to rest and spending enough time together. Even though Maria’s parents lived very close, her and her husband kept both of their parents away during the pandemic because their “priority was protecting them”. Friends and neighbours brought food over when they heard Maria had Covid.

Maria didn’t think that her Covid symptoms would last very long and had planned to go back to work early in January, but she wasn’t able to return until nine months later. She felt that her employer had been very supportive and she’s now back in the office a few days a week. Maria also feels that she has been supported by her GP and other healthcare providers, but felt that some of them misunderstood her symptoms and assumed they were respiratory.

After experiencing a “silent panic attack” during a wedding, Maria realised that Long Covid has impacted her emotionally and she has sought out therapy. She recommends going to therapy for other people dealing with Long Covid and wishes she’d gone earlier. Maria had also joined a self-referral rehabilitation course for people with Long Covid and started to see a noticeable improvement, as well as finding hope when she saw other people making progress in their recovery.

Although most family members believed her, Maria said some of them did not realise the full extent of her illness until they saw her face to face.

Age at interview 41

It has taken a long time for Maria to be able to do simple things like picking up her daughter from nursery.

Age at interview 41

Maria said the family dynamic had shifted since getting Long Covid. Her husband essentially took over parenting their children.

Age at interview 41