COVID long-hauler comes to Nashville for treatment

KVIA

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    NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WSMV) — A woman from Alaska is in Nashville to get treatment after she said she contracted COVID-19 three times.

The woman, whom News 4 is only identifying as TJ, said the virus had impacted her life almost every way.

“I’ve had COVID three times unbelievably because for some reason my body isn’t making antibodies,” TJ said.

TJ, a woman in her 40s, said she first got COVID in March of 2020, then again last October when she went to South Dakota to be a bartender.

“It was risky, but I needed to work. They were allowing people to work that had COVID, and they didn’t let the other workers know we so had huge exposure to it,” TJ said. “That one I almost died from.”

The third time was in January 2021. She was told by her doctor to get the vaccine.

“I got the vaccine, the Pfizer on March the 12th, and then I had a bad reaction and I couldn’t walk,” TJ said.

TJ said she has nerve pain, weakness on the right side, and there are tremors in her hand.

“Instead of telling me they didn’t know what was wrong, they just wanted to put it on as a mental health issue because I have had depression and anxiety in the past,” TJ said. “It was to the point where I was like I can’t fight COVID and fight my doctors.”

After visiting several doctors in Alaska she started doing her own research and found help through Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She’s been seeing a variety of doctors there for almost a month.

“I have physical therapy twice a week. I had the neuropsychologist yesterday. I had a cat scan of my chest yesterday. I’ve got an MRI today,” TJ said.

TJ is also a part of COVID-19 long-hauler group where other people going through similar issues meet once a week.

Dr. Jim Jackson is a psychologist at VUMC and leads the group.

He said they’re helping the group in a variety of ways.

“They have mental health complaints, physical complaints, and they often feel like unicorns. We’re trying to understand those and not only understand them, we’re also trying to provide people skills that they can use to function a little bit better cognitively.”

TJ said the smallest tasks are a struggle for her, including showering. She said she was once a world traveler but now must take multiple vitamins and medications each day.

“I don’t want to be like this forever,” TJ said.

TJ’s been staying in an Airbnb, but she had a car stolen in Nashville just weeks before moving here officially.

A GoFundMe has been set up for TJ. To donate, visit this website: gofundme.com/f/helping-tj-receive-post-acute-covid-care-healing.

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