Pain and fatigue last long after COVID, former patient says

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MEMPHIS, Tenn, — Swelling, tingling hands, extreme head pain — those are just some of the lasting effects one woman says she’s experiencing after having COVID-19.

Natalie Nowell is a 34-year-old mom to three boys, all under the age of seven. They clearly keep her busy.

But the last few months have been trying for her family as she recovers from COVID-19.

“Some days are a lot harder than others,” she said.

She initially got sick three months ago. While she was never hospitalized she’s battling lingering coronavirus issues, including debilitating pain.

“There are moments that are really hard when my fatigue will kick back in or I can’t catch my breath again,” she said.

That comes with swelling and tingling in hands and her face, extreme head pain, symptoms similar to a concussion.

“My oldest son has asked me on occasion, ‘Mom, why can’t you read anymore?’ Because I’ll be reading a book to them and I’m just stumbling over words and I know a word but I can’t get it out,” she said.

Nowell credits Dr. Elizabeth Maldonado, a family physician with Methodist medical group, for helping her.

Maldonado says as the number of coronavirus cases increase, they’re seeing more young people affected, many who are never hospitalized.

“It’s important to know that you don’t necessarily have to be hospitalized to feel sick and to have long lasting effects,” Maldonado said.

As she works to get better, this mother has a message for the community in the middle of this pandemic: Think beyond yourself. Think of your family, your neighbors.

“How can you love them better? So that we can get through this. So that we can get past this as a community,” Nowell said. “How can you think beyond yourself? We are so selfish as a culture and this is a time where we have to work together.”

The CDC reports one-third of people who tested positive for COVID-19 were never hospitalized. But like Nowell, they’re experiencing lingering effects.

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