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TESTIMONY – “I was unable to stand up”: Adele recounts the ordeal of her long Covid

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Suffering from a long Covid since March 2022, Adèle denounces an obstacle course to access care. Extreme fatigue, impaired vision and concentration, administrative difficulties… The young mother recounts the ordeal she has experienced since her contamination. She testifies for Europe 1.

“I thought it was a formality, that I was going to have some kind of cold like my friends. But in fact it completely knocked me out.” Adele, 38, contracted Covid-19 in March 2022. Yet vaccinated and with no medical history, this mother of two children develops a fairly violent form of the virus. At first, she does not make the link with the possibility of a long Covid, despite the persistence of her symptoms.

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“Suddenly I had enormous dizziness, I had no more strength in my arms and in my legs. I was unable to stand up, even after several days. I had to do absolutely nothing , that I stay lying down to hope at the end of the day to eat a bit and go upstairs while holding on to the wall”, she says in a weak voice. Adèle suffers this state about ten days before returning to work, in the communication sector. But the symptoms are not getting any better. “I remember taking my car in the morning and arriving at work holding onto the walls of the office before reaching my post,” she describes.

“I was dragging myself on the ground, it was pathetic”

“I could see that my state of health was not picking up again. I was slowed down, I was walking more slowly, I couldn’t carry my four and eight-year-old children. I held out until June in this situation before consulting a doctor,” she adds. After several months of denial, she ends up consulting her doctor, who prescribes corticosteroids, doping drugs used by athletes or during asthma attacks, and physiotherapy exercises. If Adèle notices a renewed energy for a while, she realizes after a while that she “no longer feels her limits”.

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“Once the doping effect faded, I dragged myself on the ground, it was pathetic. So I told myself that it was not a solution”, she concedes. Physical therapy exercises are inaccessible to him because they are too exhausting for his body. And despite these signs, the doctor does not commit to a diagnosis. She, too, does not suspect long Covid.

“I couldn’t be myself. I started crying because I was tired of being constantly exhausted. And I still didn’t know what was happening to me, it’s a terrible feeling,” says Adele. “It affected me a lot in my role as a mother because I said to myself that I was unable to manage an emergency situation in this state.”

A medical file wandered by hospitals

At the start of the school year, his doctor finally takes the measure of his physical situation and directs him to the services of the Foch Hospital, which centralized the cases of long Covid in Ile-de-France at that time. After three weeks, his application was refused. “I think they had noticed the number of cases of long Covid that had declared themselves during the summer and they told me by telephone ‘We no longer take cases like you'”, explains- She. After contacting the ARS, she was seen by an infectious disease specialist in October, who confirmed her diagnosis of Covid long, deemed “acute”.

She passed neurological examinations which revealed nothing abnormal and was then directed to the support unit of the AP-HP Raymond Poincaré in Garches, in the Paris region. But there again, his file is refused, this time because his state of health is “too advanced”. Information confirmed by Doctor Clémence Lefèvre-Dognin, who officiates at the cell. The latter specifies that patients must be physically fit enough to integrate the cell because it is necessary “to support the program”: it is necessary to be able to hold the exercises, but also to have enough energy for the journeys by car or transport which surround the sessions. care.

The end of the tunnel ?

His state of health finally improves slightly, thanks to rest and acupuncture, which allows him to integrate the cell at the end of February 2023, one year after his contamination. “It’s still very trying, with the physical and cognitive rehabilitation exercises, but the small group we form with three other sick women is a strength. It’s motivating to get together, to laugh and to play down our situations,” he explains. she, relieved.

Adèle is still waiting for a long-term assignment (ALD), which would allow her to receive compensation from Health Insurance. Like her, Public Health France estimates that more than two million French adults have contracted a long Covid. According to a report from the Ministry of Health, of all people who have had Covid-19, 10% have persistent symptoms.

Source: Europe1

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