When Covid-19 survivor Louise Morrison was discharged from hospital after a terrifying month-long fight for her life, she hoped her world would begin to return to normal.
But she has faced a new battle with Long Covid and, as well as needing daily oxygen, the 48-year-old has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
She has endured a series of debilitating symptoms including breathing problems, headaches, anxiety, sleeping problems and hair loss.
Louise, from Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, said: “I need help now. There must be so many people out there struggling and not able to access the specialist help they need.
"All they can really do is speak to other sufferers in online support groups or go to their GP – and they can only do so much. It’s like there’s this huge void.”
Louise, who had asthma, spent four days in a Covid ward after testing positive in December but her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to intensive care.
She said: “At that time things started to get really frightening. I could hardly breathe, my temperature was sky high, then the ICU doctor spoke to me about how serious things were, what measures might have to be put in place and when my family would be contacted if I got more sick.”
In that moment, Louise knew she was about to face the biggest fight of her life but was determined to return home to her children Dana, 25, Kristy, 24, and Finlay, 13.
Louise developed Covid pneumonia and her breathing got so bad on three occasions she was told she might have to be “rested”.
She said: “That basically meant they wanted to anaesthetise and fully ventilate me. I saw this happen to many patients but I always resisted as I knew if I lost consciousness I’d no longer be in control.”
Louise spent Christmas and New Year in ICU and was discharged on January 7.
She said: “The only advice I was given leaving hospital was to go on a patient support website called ICU Steps.”
Louise began having breathing difficulties again and had to have an oxygen tank installed in her home, which she now uses daily.
She is haunted by flashbacks and nightmares from her time in ICU. Now diagnosed with PTSD linked to her Covid experience, Louise was shocked to learn she may have to wait 24 months for treatment.
She said: “If we had proper, specialist Long Covid clinics, things would be different.”
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