A long way behind

Heike Motzek was a fit and healthy triathlete before long Covid got a grip on her lungs.

A WOMAN who believes she’s suffering from long Covid says the WA government has dropped the ball and isn’t ready for the inevitable emergence of the condition.

Heike Motzek (55) contracted Covid four weeks ago and is still struggling with severe breathlessness, which makes even talking a challenge.

Ms Motzek says she’s drawn a blank from the health department, which didn’t have a mechanism to record her condition, while the only clinic set up to examine Covid-related respiratory problems will only see people for two weeks after they’ve contracted the disease.

Ms Motzek was fully vaccinated and had no underlying health conditions; as an active triathlete she was in excellent physical condition before the virus hit.

She’s tried to stay active, and says the struggle to take a breath is pretty much the same whether she’s exercising or talking to someone.

“So this is like I’m exercising all day long, every day, and that’s very exhausting.

Doctors can’t predict who’ll be left with long Covid, but it’s defined as a continuation of mild to severe symptoms which persist after four weeks; how long it will last is also something of an unknown.

Common symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness and in some isn’t normal”.

Apart from hoping the government steps up its reporting requirements, she also wants it to follow the lead of other countries and establish specialist long Covid clinics.

She also points out that many countries are now provideing financial assistance for people with long Covid.

Ms Motzek says her employer has been supportive in providing Covid-related sick leave, but with her family living back in her homeland of Germany, she’s worried what will happen if she’s unable to return to work soon.

Ms Motzek says her experience should be a lesson to other Sandgropers who shouldn’t be ignoring preventative measures on the presumption Omicron was little more than a sniffle.

“People should have done better by each other”.  

Too early

A spokesperson from the health department said Covid-19 affected people in different ways and there was no standard recovery period. 

“Those concerned are encouraged to visit their GP to discuss their symptoms and management,” the said.

“Given case numbers for Covid-19 are only just peaking in Western Australia, it is too early to determine the number of people affected by long Covid.

“Recent studies suggest vaccinated people who have received at least two doses of vaccine are significantly less likely to have symptoms associated with long Covid after being infected with SARS-CoV-2.”

by SKYE WILLOW-WITHERS

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