Brookings woman a ‘long hauler’ with lingering COVID-19 symptoms


BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Imagine it taking months to fully recover from COVID-19. According to the Mayo Clinic, that’s what tens of thousands of patients are facing who have lingering symptoms after contracting coronavirus.

And it doesn’t seem to matter how healthy you were to begin with. In this edition of COVID-19 Beyond the Numbers, we have the story of a Brookings woman whose strange and often debilitating COVID-19 symptoms are still hanging on after three-and-a-half months.

Amanda and Ben Quam with their two children

To call 38-year old Amanda Quam a fitness fanatic may be an understatement.
This is how she started her day on September 4th:

“I woke up, I went to the gym, I had a double, which means I had a 5 and a 6 a.m. session. I then went on to my nature park walk which is a three mile walk everyday. I did a push-up challenge at the end of it and I was like, ‘gosh, I feel a little more tired than normal,'” Quam said.

By noon, Quam felt as though she had been hit by a truck.

“The way I felt was just like somebody was sitting on top of me. My body was so heavy and I couldn’t keep my eyes open,” Quam said.

While Quam was never hospitalized, she still isn’t anywhere near back to her regular routine.

“I used to be able to do 2-3 workouts a day; no problem— it didn’t phase me. Now doing one workout is hard. Bringing laundry up from downstairs— I get winded. I get a little dizzy and can’t breathe,” Quam said.

“Anybody can get this. I think that’s the takeaway point for this. We’ve had individuals who’ve been in great health prior to their infection, and they’ve had also difficulties bouncing back,” Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn of the Mayo Clinic said.

Quam continues to deal with intense nerve pain in the back of her legs and other strange symptoms.

“I’ve had the hollow eyes. It feels like you have a hangover behind he eyes; dry behind the socket. (And) Itchy shoulders, which I’ve had off and on the whole time,” Quam said.

“This can be a really wicked virus in some people. We’re going to see more and more of the longer term consequences come out and we’re going to need to study those as vigorously as we did the acute symptoms.”

Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group

“Now I just have to take it one day at a time and I have to realize my limitations. I hope in a year that I’m fine and I hope we don’t find out there’s long term things that you’re going to struggle—that this is always going to be a part of you,” Quam said.

Mayo Clinic has a rehab program for post-COVID syndrome and has seen more than 100 patients. But they say getting a handle on this syndrome is like building an airplane while flying it, because there is so much they don’t understand about these “Long haulers” and that clinical trials on how to best treat them are needed.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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