Everyone has had to search for that glimmer of light in 2020, but Oonagh Cousins is one of those for whom it hasn’t been easy to find.
Cousins could have been rowing at the Olympics this summer.
Instead, ‘long Covid’ – the term often used to explain lasting effects of Covid-19 – has had a debilitating effect on her body and mind, and though she is well on the road to recovery, a return to the water is some way off.
“There are times when I just feel like my body has let me down,” she tells BBC Sport.
The lack of energy, the headaches, the nausea. For seven months, this 25-year-old – an athlete, a rower for Great Britain, remember – has navigated the ups and downs of the post-viral fatigue some develop after contracting coronavirus – a pandemic which has passed one million cases in the UK, with more than 47,000 deaths.
Cousins’ initial symptoms when she got the virus in March weren’t too bad. She had a cough and lost her sense of taste and smell, but has “had worse colds”.
“On the worst days you struggle to walk or cook a meal or compose an email,” she says. “As time goes on, you are more able to see friends or go for a short jog.Oonagh Cousins
Those symptoms are long gone – but fatigue and brain fog remain. While that fog has lifted somewhat, and there are now far more good days than bad, she is unable to return to training.
“On the worst days you struggle to walk or cook a meal or compose an email,” she says. “As time goes on, you are more able to see friends or go for a short jog.
“On the worst days you wake up, and you’re like, ‘I can’t wait until it’s night time again’.
“You don’t want to get out of bed, you don’t want to go and eat, you don’t want to talk to your friends, you just want to stay in bed and hide under a rock.
“It’s hard to talk about. But I want talk about it because I think there are people out there that will be experiencing the same.”
Original publication 4 November, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 16th November 2020
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