Long Covid on holiday

It’s holiday time, for school children, and many others! My friends and family have disappeared off the social radar as they head off to refresh themselves in new pastures, whether local or abroad. And I’ve been immensely fortunate to have a week in a very favourite spot of the Yorkshire dales, a comfortable journey time from my home in Leeds, which was a real blessing, given that living with long Covid continues to limit energy levels. Released from usual responsibilities and luxuriating in beautiful surroundings very much offered opportunities for re-creation, which is often the anticipated outcome of a holiday.

While I was away, I had my first long Covid Rehab clinic appointment, and that caused me to reflect on a number of things. There are plenty of negatives if you choose to focus on them – the next stage for me is two face to face appointments for which the waiting time is likely to be up to 20 weeks. The elephants in the room were that the poor NHS is so under-resourced to deal with this substantial new health issues in our population – and that I am still likely to need this support in another five months. But one real positive is that having to slow down, pace myself, gives the chance to enjoy the present more. I was encouraged to look out for ‘red flag’ symptoms which indicate that I might have been overdoing it – left to myself, I use another way of measuring my stamina – if I find I am writing fluently, and my creativity seems awake, then I must have plenty of energy.

Here’s the poem I wrote while I was away – you may not be able to hear the gushing becks feeding into the Upper Wharfe, or hear the swirling screams of swifts, and smell the wildflowers that grace the roadside, but I’m remembering them for you!

Instruction and Care Manual for your new ‘Friend-Living-With-Long Covid’

Thank you for engaging with your Friend-Living-With-Long Covid.

Please note that they have chosen to identify as

‘living-with-long-covid’ not

‘suffering-from-long- covid.’

Affirming their chosen identity

will enhance performance.

Your Friend-Living-With-Long Covid

shares many features familiar from

your Friend-Not-Living-With-Long Covid.

For best mutual satisfaction, avoid thinking of them as a

substandard model, or unimproved new version.

Optimal experience will be obtained

if you follow these suggestions.

Don’t ask ‘Are you feeling better?’

Do ask ‘How’s today going for you?’

Don’t say ‘Let me know if you want to meet.’

Do say ‘I thought I’d go to (insert name of park, café etc);

would you like to come, and can I give you a lift?’

Don’t say ‘Just shout if you need anything.’

Do say ‘Can I help by chopping some firewood,

cutting your hedge, doing some vacuuming.’

Don’t say ‘I would have invited you, but I knew

you might not be up to it.’

Do say ‘How can I make it possible for you to join us?’ 

With a few modifications and the right after-care,

your Friend-Living-With-Long Covid

should provide continued years of enjoyment.

Please note there is no warranty available for this product.

Hannah Stone