Amy Gatlin is a registered nurse who lives in Riverview. She has been dealing with COVID-19 and the aftereffects of it since March of this year.
“I contracted COVID from my 14-year-old son on March 3 of this year,” Gatlin said. “He contracted it at a local orthopedic doctor’s office. His onset started on March 11 and mine started on March 18. In April, I was hospitalized for five days.”
While she was in the hospital, she endured spikes in blood pressure and heart rate, as well as spikes in her platelets. “When they took my blood, it was literally black coming out of me,” Gatlin said. “At that point, they tested me again; it was negative, but they told me I had ‘post-COVID syndrome.’ So, I was going through the virus symptoms over and over and I cycled through the symptoms at least three times. I thought I was crazy because no one was telling me these symptoms occurred.”
Gatlin is now considered a ‘COVID-19 long-hauler.’
“COVID long-haulers may have persistent symptoms of infection,” said Dr. Elliot Cazes of Tampa said. “There is a possibility of long-term residual sequences such as lung scarring and decreased lung capacity and function. Further, there may also be some issues with mental function and the possibility exists for memory deficits and loss of cognitive function. As we follow these long-haulers over time, we will have a better idea of just how adversely they are affected.”
Since Gatlin was having blood pressure issues, she was put on heart medicine and blood thinners.
“I had never had any issues with my heart,” Gatlin said. “They did a CT scan on my heart and I didn’t have any plaque build up or blockages. My heart was perfect, it was just COVID-related.”
Gatlin is also on steroids and other medicine due to breathing issues she experienced from being a long-hauler.
“At this point, there are many unknowns and my doctors…aren’t quite sure how to get me back on track,” Gatlin. “Over time, some of my symptoms have gotten better, but I still have a recurring fever.”
Gatlin has hope that she will recover completely from COVID-19.
“I have hope because my issues have lessened over time,” Gatlin said. “I do want to say that if I could go back in time to March 3, I would have made sure that my son was wearing a mask to protect him and us because, knowing what I know now after dealing with COVID, a mask would have protected us from this virus.”