maggie lindstrom

How COVID is impacting people with pre-existing conditions indirectly.

COVID-19 is especially challenging for those who are dealing with medical issues or health issues that need treatment. When you typically think of the effects of COVID-19, what do you think about? The sickness itself, wearing masks, social distancing, along with the virus itself attacking our bodies. What a lot of people do not see with COVID-19, is the indirect effects that are extremely important. During spring of 2020, I was very sick but NOT with covid. I have pre-existing medical conditions and at the time, my health was not in a stable place. 

My doctors told me to stay home, not worry about it, and just kept throwing medicine and treatments at me that were not working. After a week of being extremely sick, we finally went to go get help as I was declining rapidly, and we quickly found out I was critically ill. My blood levels were so low and high that it was affecting my heart, and I was put in the intensive care unit because of how sick I was. But what a lot of people don’t think about is that this could have been avoided. 

If COVID-19 did not exist, my doctor would have had me go to the hospital a lot sooner, but because I have underlying conditions, they tried to keep me out of the hospital, even though the situation I was in nearly killed me. COVID-19 has many effects of itself, but stories like mine where COVID-19 is indirectly harming people or situations are crucial to remember and try to prevent. COVID-19 almost killed me, yet I never contracted the virus itself. 

People with existing health conditions have a harder time during the pandemic. This is because everyone wants to stay OUT of the hospital, AWAY from sick people, and in their safe home quarantining. While this all seems logical, there are some situations where it can be more harm than good. For example, someone gets a stomach pain, “indigestion” and nausea. They think nothing of it, say its not worth going to the hospital to get it checked because it isn’t worth the risk of being exposed to COVID. They end up having a heart attack, but because they didn’t want to get exposed to COVID, this situation escalates very quickly. 

While this was an extreme example of what could happen and is a rare situation, there are sadly many people requiring medical treatment but being unable or unwilling to get it. This is similar to my situation, where I have chronic illnesses that affect me daily, and when I didn’t get treatment during the worsening of my illnesses, it put me in a life or death situation requiring me to be in the hospital for over a week. If we would have been able to get treatment a week earlier than we were told to go to urgent care, I could have avoided the whole situation. I would have gotten help before I became critical, and we would have solved the issue before it got to be severe. This was not the case, my doctors tried to keep me away from the hospital and COVID patients to keep me safe, and as a result I only got much worse. There are so many people who have experienced situations such as this, whether they can’t get cancer treatment, can’t get a life-saving surgery, or others, COVID has hugely impacted people’s lives aside from the illness itself. 

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