PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Micaela Ashton spent almost two weeks at UPMC Shadyside fighting for her life with COVID-19. She tested positive for the virus back in March and says it’s still a battle to catch her breath and work a full day without taking multiple breaks.
“I flat out asked the nurses if I was going to die,” she says.
Ashton remembers asking that question right before she was about to be put on a ventilator.
“It was very surreal in the ICU with all these tubes and drains coming from everywhere. It was insane,” she says.
The 34-year-old newlywed now looks back and said she still can’t believe she’s dealing with some side effects more than five months later.
“I think the biggest thing is the strength and endurance from being wiped out,” says Ashton. It’s something she’s currently going to physical therapy for help with.
“Patients with COVID-19 who come to the clinic do have manifestations of what we consider post-intensive care syndrome that show physical, cognitive and psychiatric struggles,” said co-director in the medical surgery ICU at UPMC Mercy, Dr. Brad Butcher.
That psychiatric struggle is something Ashton says she’s also been facing: “With having to go through that trauma and still having to live through the pandemic. I got sick from coronavirus.”
Doctors say long-term symptoms like breathlessness, constant tiredness and brain fog can happen. Doctors said there’s also other symptoms.
“COVID does affect the blood vessels and there is some strong evidence that shows it can cause blood clotting in the lungs and heart and can cause strokes and heart attacks and pulmonary embolisms,” said vice president of the Division of Pulmonary Care at AHN, Dr. Tariq Cheema.
Doctors say the jury is still out since the virus is so new and will be able to make a better assessment in years to come.
This is why doctors stress to everyone to wear a mask, wash their hands and social distance even if you’re young and healthy because you never know how your body will react to the virus if you get it.
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