An oil worker told how long covid left her with debilitating memory loss – as experts warn the number of people with the condition is increasing ‘at an alarming rate’.
Mum-of-two Linda Hamlet, 49, said her life has been turned upside down since she contracted covid in October 2021.
Linda, who works in the oil industry, was already signed off work with another condition when she got covid.
But said she is no closer to returning due to her debilitating symptoms, including headaches, tinnitus and brain fog.
She struggles to drive, watch TV or read due to issues with her concentration and has had short term memory loss – which left her unsure how to change her bed.
Her husband Paul, who has worked offshore for a decade, had to give up his job to look after Linda and their sons.
Linda, from Aberdeenshire, said she is frustrated with the lack of support for long covid sufferers, and has been left fearing for her future with no treatment available.
Linda said: “I have a responsible and technical job in the oil industry.
“I’m a reasonably intelligent woman but a few weeks ago, I was changing the bed and I couldn’t for the life of me work out how the duvet cover went on.
“That’s how much my brain has been scrambled by long covid.
“Sometimes I can’t drive, watch TV or read a book because I can’t concentrate.
“I’m fortunate my employer has been understanding and supportive, but I’m worried about the future.
“There doesn’t seem to be any treatment available, or any understanding of what people like me with long covid are having to deal with.”
Linda lives with her husband Paul and their two sons – Jack, seven, and Oliver, ten.
She caught covid from her son Jack and said her initial symptoms included exhaustion, dizziness and headaches.
The headaches have persisted, and she also has severe tinnitus and constant earache.
She describes the brain fog as awful and said her short-term memory is almost non-existent.
She has also had to suffer occasional chest pains, inflammation, numbness and pins and needles on her left-hand side.
Linda said: “Last year had been a very traumatic one before I even got covid.
“Paul worked in a three-week cycle and was away for six months a year.
“I was solely taking care of the kids, home schooling while working from home.
“Even with precautions, the inevitable finally happened and I got covid from Jack in October.
“The physical symptoms are bad, but the loss of so much cognitive function upsets me more.
“I have debilitating headaches, cannot concentrate on anything now and my short-term retention memory is poor.
“I have also suffered with bouts of insomnia, too.
“All of these symptoms were starting to worry me, so I was advised to contact Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland long covid support group.
“I really feel for the people linked on this group and feel some individuals appear to be getting no professional support or guidance.
“Who’s going to take care of the long covid sufferers all of us in the long term?
“We need answers, guidance and help now.
“This condition is debilitating and should be investigated far more extensively.”
Jane-Claire Judson, Chief Executive at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said: “The number of people living with the long term effects of Long Covid is increasing at an alarming rate.
“Every month more and more people are needing support and progress to meet their needs for care just isn’t fast enough.
“They deserve better and we need to see more urgent action from the Scottish Government.
“People might feel we are getting back to some kind of normality, but so many people with Long Covid feel there is no return to normality in sight.
“Many are struggling to return to their jobs or do the things many of us take for granted like going for a walk to the end of the road.
“We need to see urgent action to make sure a wraparound service is in place.
“That service also needs a system where people can be easily referred through to third sector services to ensure we’re reaching everyone with Long Covid who needs support.”
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