Rebekah developed Covid symptoms when schools shut in March 2020 and developed more severe symptoms a week later. She feels that Long Covid and other conditions associated with chronic fatigue should be treated more seriously. Rebekah was interviewed in May 2022.
Rebekah was working in a primary school when schools shut in mid-March 2020 and developed Covid symptoms approximately five days later. Originally, her symptoms were “fluey” – with a high temperature and a cough – but they worsened in the following week when Rebekah was left gasping for breath. Rebekah also began to experience heart and chest pains in May, which her GP thought was the onset of asthma; when Rebekah couldn’t climb up the stairs, she called 111 and was asked to complete a walk test for Covid, which she felt was “silly.”
Although Rebekah’s heart rate didn’t settle after the test, she didn’t want to go into hospital because she was worried about who would look after her children. Both Rebekah’s son and daughter are teenagers; her daughter was still in school when the pandemic started and began doing online learning, but her son was finishing college and started working on a 6-month government kickstart scheme. Rebekah found it hard to wake up in time to wake her son up for work. At the beginning of 2022 she was diagnosed with PoTS (postural tachycardia syndrome – an abnormal increase in heart rate that occurs after sitting up or standing), after an ECG she had in October 2021 showed an irregular and raised heartrate.
Rebekah hadn’t looked into the possibility of claiming disability benefits because she didn’t think that Long Covid would make her eligible, especially because ME isn’t recognised for it. Rebekah would like there to be more information available for people with Long Covid about claiming disability benefits, and she also feels that people need to change how they see Long Covid, ME, and chronic fatigue.
As well as financial difficulty, Rebekah has experienced emotional difficulty since her Long Covid diagnosis, finding that the frustration of not being able to do the things she used to catches up with her. Rebekah’s best friend and husband also died during the pandemic, which she feels has made having Long Covid harder mentally.
Rebekah has seen three GPs since developing Covid symptoms but feels that the last one has been the most helpful because they took Rebekah seriously about her health. Rebekah feels she has found support in a Facebook group for people with Long Covid and has stopped talking to people who try to tell her that Covid doesn’t exist. She has heard that other women her age had adverse reactions to the Covid vaccine and feels that this may have caused her PoTS to establish, although she says that she may be “looking into it too much.”