Long covid should not be a surprise to the medical profession. Or anyone.
We have had ME/CFS* as a diagnosis for many many years and it is (I believe more often than not) an illness that happens post virally.
We have all this knowledge about ME/CFS as a post viral illness, so why oh why is there surprise that this could be happening now with long covid.
The FND** community have also been expecting an influx of new diagnoses. From the support groups, we are seeing people joining who report their symptoms have started post covid.
If the patients with these illnesses can see this coming, why do the medics and government not anticipate this? Is it an inherent ableism that people just get better from being sick?
I am really pleased that the NHS are starting up multidisciplinary medical teams to help with recovery and treatment for long covid. I wonder if these will be able to include all those patients with chronic illnesses that also need this support?
This could be a time when the medical professionals and government put money and resources into researching all these conditions, but the cynic in me suspects it may only be long covid that gets this due to the novel nature. Surely a combination of research could benefit so many more people. However I worry that the novelty will fade and these changes/resources will not have longevity.
There are #millionsmissing from society already due to ME/CFS. Many more due to other chronic illnesses. There is little to no support to people diagnosed with them. Is this the turning point when we see positive action, research and treatment? Is this the time that graded exercise therapy is finally binned for the damage it has caused to ME/CFS patients as well as FND patients?
Will society start to change its view of chronic illness and disabled people? For too long the narrative has been one of ‘faking’ and ‘laziness’. Will seeing long covid patients finally mean we can leave these damaging words in the historical bin where they belong?
I hope so. I hope this can bring real change to many people with varying chronic illnesses. We shall watch and wait to find out if change is happening. Or will there just be many more added to our number to fade into those millions missing from society.
*ME/CFS is Myalgic Encephalitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
**FND is Functional Neurological Disorder