HASLETT, Mich. (WLNS) – Donna Wicke came down with COVID-19 a little more than one year ago. It’s a fight that put her on a ventilator.
“I had to re-learn everything, swallowing, breathing,” said Wicke.
Today the battle scars are still evident with every breath she takes.
“Walking to get the mail which is not even 50 feet by the time I do that and come back in I have to rest.”
She’s one of many people who are considered COVID-19 long haulers. It’s something research scientists at Henry Ford Hospital like Sara Santarossa are working to learn more about through what they call body maps. It’s an art-based process for people to describe their long-suffering symptoms of COVID-19.
“Life-sized artwork where they’ve traced their bodies. They go through different exercises and sessions to flesh out this artwork in terms of their life before, during and after Covid,” said Research Scientist at Henry Ford Health, Sara Santarossa.
The patient-driven approach will help researchers at the hospital collect data to better understand what people are still going through today. Santarossa says some of the most common side effects are long-lasting fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and respiratory challenges.
“We have a number of long haulers who are a part of our group that need to use oxygen continuously at this point.”
Henry ford hospital has also established a recovery care program designed to help COVID-19 long-haulers like Wicke who has her first surgery to improve her breathing next week. Wicke says she understands there’s a lot left for doctors to learn about the disease, but she’s hopeful more research will lead to more answers.
“I’ve gotten worse and so I’m like is there anything I can do. I’m willing to do it.”