HOUSTON – The road to recovery for many COVID-19 patients is not over once they beat the virus. We are learning more about the lasting impact COVID-19 has for some patients.
Adam Stadler, 46, fought COVID-19 and won.
“For two weeks it continued with the low-grade fever it never got above,” said Stadler. “The fatigue was constant, the coughing. I would have coughing fits at night, all night long. I could hardly speak.”
Along with having COVID-19, Stadler also suffered a pulmonary embolism. After six scary days in the hospital, he overcame both, but the road to recovery is not over for him.
“May 3, I was discharged,” Stadler said. “I have continued to have memory issues, migraines daily, blurry vision at night. I still have the fatigue.”
Health issues Post COVID-19
"We are still learning a lot about this disease,” said Dr. Howard Huang, Houston Methodist Hospital. “If you come down with a very severe case of COVID-19, it potentially could have a ... very serious long term impact on your health.”
Because the coronavirus is so new, doctors are just now learning more about the lasting impact it could have for patients. Fatigue and memory issues are one thing they are seeing, but the main issue for some patients is lasting lung damage.
“When they recover, it’s not just, you know, getting back to normal,” said Huang. “It seems to be, some of these patients do experience a significant drop in their lung function. It would mean you are limited in terms of your ability to exercise and function and get around (and) do daily tasks without becoming short of breath or limited.”
Doctors are seeing other patients suffer from other problems post-coronavirus.
“This virus has a tendency to affect other organs like the kidneys and the liver,” said Huang. “Some people lose their sense of smell other people have GI symptoms.”
For now, the lung issues Stadler is having have gotten better, but now he’s been diagnosed with shingles, which could also be contributing to his memory problems.
“It’s painful a little bit, but it’s itchier,” said Stadler. “I still have the headaches and fatigue. I have problems even just walking to take out the trash.”
As we know, this virus is one that is unpredictable. Just as the virus impacts people differently, doctors are now learning the after-effects for people are different too. Some critically ill patients in China even had to have lung transplants.