Effectively, it lastly occurred. After efficiently dodging the virus for over three-and-a-half years, COVID lastly struck our family. Each my spouse, Sarah, and I are on the mend from a somewhat dreadful bout of the virus. Being immunocompromised and over 60 years outdated makes me excessive danger for some fairly nasty issues, one thing that has been entrance of thoughts for years.
When the pandemic struck again in 2020, and information began to emerge concerning the long-term challenges confronted by survivors, it was a hauntingly acquainted narrative. Mind fog was a problem for many individuals, sluggish processing instances had been famous repeatedly, and a lot of the rising data sounded just like what these of us within the brain injury group have been dwelling with for years. Right here was a wholly new inhabitants of individuals now dwelling with neuro challenges.
Singularly, my greatest worry about COVID was having a preexisting brain injury — what may the virus do to additional compromise my already challenged mind? That worry saved me up at evening. As time handed, and restoration from COVID proved to be non-linear, the time period Lengthy COVID started to permeate society. Barely every week would go that I didn’t hear the time period Lengthy COVID on the information. Medical authorities had been interviewed, and help teams for individuals dwelling with Lengthy COVID began to pop up, as these new to neuro challenges struggled to regain their footing.
Whereas Lengthy COVID is a comparatively new situation, what about Lengthy Mind Harm? What about these of us who’ve been dwelling with long-term neuro challenges for years, and even many years? I can’t assist however really feel like we’re akin to the Land that Time Forgot. Whereas I’m acutely conscious that the pandemic has been the hardest blow to humanity in a really very long time, it feels just like the media highlight by no means appears to shine on brain injury.
It’s estimated that 55 million individuals worldwide stay with a brain injury. The NIH additionally overtly admits that that is most certainly a really low estimate. Whereas many individuals do ultimately get well, there are lots of of us who stay with Lengthy Mind Harm. Like our COVID cousins, we wrestle with cognitive challenges. Many people have been crusing life’s seas with thick mind fog for years, and let’s not neglect fatigue. Final month, I realized firsthand that COVID fatigue is just like — but, vastly totally different — from neurofatigue. Having each COVID and brain injury fog on the identical time was debilitating. Now, greater than a month since my first optimistic COVID take a look at, I nonetheless wrestle to make it by way of some days.
The teachings continued as my COVID-inspired lack of focus has made life with a brain injury much more of a problem. Mind fog implies that I’ve to “assume tougher” to maneuver ahead. Through the years, I’ve likened it to the psychological equal of strolling by way of waist-deep snow. My newly found focus challenges imply that not solely am I mentally strolling by way of deep snow, however I additionally merely neglect the place I’m even going. It’s been fairly a trip.
I’m certainly one of many who stay with Lengthy Mind Harm. This month marks 13 years of dwelling with many cognitive challenges. Through the years, life has gotten simpler — not as a result of my signs have abated, somewhat as a result of are acquainted and predictable. Realizing what I’ve obtained takes me to the 50-yard line. Studying the right way to stay with what I’ve obtained implies that I’ve obtained an honest probability at a fairly glad and productive life.
All of that is sophisticated. Whereas there was a little bit of ahead progress in public consciousness about brain injury, the fact is that we’ve simply scratched the floor. Name it what you’ll: Lengthy Mind Harm, Submit-concussive Syndrome, Mind Harm Survivorship — there are many us on the market who wrestle. Finally rely, no less than 55 million of us.