We are 8 months into a pandemic that seems like its overstayed its welcome ten times over. They had predicted back in May, that the Pandemic would likely be here for the next 2 years. And in keeping with our theme today I’d like to tell Covid-19 a big old “Thanks in Advance for all your dedicated hard work, you really know how to kill it out there.”
I’m over talking about the C-word and perhaps we can find some unity in a world that has become more divided in a time where it no longer is just Donald Trump’s fault. I’m sure we have all had the opportunity to get to know our partners, room-mates, kids and family far more intimately since being home more. Up to this point my partner and I have exhausted every possible petty argument imaginable that we have no choice but to get along now. I think we may have single handedly invented a new method on how to save a marriage in 8 months…wait for the book! It was encouraging to come across this post “73 Ridiculously Stupid Things Couples Fight About,” and check off every single one of them. Needless to say that the serenity has bored me, and I’m left wondering how can I be a next level pain in his ass.
One may ask why would I engage in pure flagrant behavior, and risk severing the life and limbs of my relationship? Well you see I’m diagnosed with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, and I get bored very easily if I do not have new ways of interacting with the world or engaging in meaningful and productive activities. Also, this asshole never puts the empty toilet paper rolls into the garbage- he leaves them on the floor next to the toilet. If you are not on my level of petty then you can see your way out- we are not the same people.
This is a new concept for me as I’m not subtle in my communication styles, which is surprising since my mother was queen of passive aggressive communication and punishment. I will be using her as my guest consultant as I proceed with my devious plan. Seeing as my partner pretends to read my blog I don’t anticipate he will know what’s up until I use this post in an argument down the road. I can visualize it now, I’ll store it away in the brain compartment labelled “Ammunition” to prove he doesn’t support my success and dreams in life when it seems fitting. I’ve already won the hypothetical argument and he doesn’t even know it.
So I have begun researching how I may address his toilet paper roll oversights in new ways that will perhaps keep our love fresh by tipping the scales of risk. I feel like the scales may tip in my favor at least in regards to some really great make-up sex if it blows up in my face. Below is a few ways that I will be adopting over the next month or so.
I should have probably began this post with a disclaimer that I am not a licensed relationship counselor. I could probably be described more appropriately as the antagonist villain in regards to all things relationship related. I like to keep things dangerous, teetering on the ledge, holding a match over a barrel of gasoline. You may be wondering how can you find success in a relationship with this kind of attitude.
I’m so busy coming up with new ways to challenge and test our relationship through laughter, humor, and being unapologetically myself that I don’t have much use for the real relationship killers. When playfully researching ways to get under my boo’s skin I came across How to Annoy Your Boyfriend and it mentioned common habits that are real killers. It mentions things like being on your Phone all the time, or abusing it as a means to be over controlling. Mind Games was another point and it breaks down many identifiable habits couples engage in. Playing up Insecurities by acting jealous, or limiting their time with friends, running their phone down. Being a Diva, and that’s not confined to just women! This includes Demanding things that are not financially realistic, always making a fuss over little things, chronically prioritizing your needs above theirs to name a few.
As I conclude I hope you can appreciate my tongue and cheek approach to the obvious challenges we are all facing. Whether it be in our romantic or within our platonic relationships as we continue to hunker down in our social bubbles. Try not to burst yours because unlike the pandemic relationships can be here forever.
Now go and get busy messing with your significant other. Give them a Big Ol’ Wet Willy and tell them Cece told you too!
Follow my Instagram for daily videos of me annoying my boyfriend.
I believe that everyone is having a variation of experiences with regards to the new norm of working at home. Our jobs and careers are all so different and require different elements of support, equipment, and the tools to continue staying efficient while no longer having a standard office set-up.
I know for myself since the pandemic hit I went from being excited about setting up a home office whereby I believed I would work diligently at my newly purchased white and gray marbled desk. Admittedly I created a beautiful and peaceful space to work in, however the aesthetic aspect of it wasn’t enough to keep me in my guest room slash/office. We were urged to bring home our work stations in order to emulate some sense of normalcy while at home working, but the concept quickly lost its magic. I hated working in a room that I had no attachment too and perpetuated a deeper sense of isolation. Thankfully by that time Spring was upon us and I moved my office onto my patio where I was able to feel more comfortable and productive. I flourished from the Vitamin D and ability to work at a much slower pace than I had in the 15 years I’ve spent working as a social worker in child welfare. I also knew that it was going to be vital to collect my strength, get my rest, and prepare for the storm ahead. What I didn’t expect was catching Covid-19 which would derail my plan to stay on top of the game, and ultimately put me on my ass for months. You can read about my experience HERE.
And as the months went on I would continue to try and remind myself there once was a time we’d get excited about our requested days to work from home in our pajamas. In the world of social work we call these “Paper Days” and in order to get a paper day you’d have to be extremely overdue on your paperwork and jump through multiple hoops to justify why you needed to be away from the office. These days were great and I just loved them! So you can imagine the internal conflict and confusion I’m feeling now that I live in a constant hiatus of paper day’s and somehow I’m miserable? But it looks like I’m not alone.
But like many things you never really realize what you have until its gone. I truly believe that in job roles within the human services sector and the health care system we are nothing without our team. When we are together there is shared sense of responsibility as we hardly ever work in isolation but rather engage in a consistent flow of dialogue that impacts how we practice. The influences we have on one another is invaluable learning that allows us to serve the public in positive and creative ways. Not only in regards to how we approach and proceed with the important work we do, but how our morale and personal emotional wellness can dictate better outcomes for the communities we serve. Just today we met via videoconference and were collectively brought to tears by the bravery and strength that has been demonstrated among us. Each person simultaneously dealing with their own personal anxiety, worries and challenges while serving the city’s most vulnerable youth and families who’s issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Yet continue to smile and encourage each other in small ways that validates we are in it together.
I feel like their bravery inspires me to pull up my socks and adapt to the new circumstances whereby I’m able to weave the silver linings into a broader concept of appreciation. I should feel so lucky that my ability to work from home is not complicated with daycare/school disruptions and closures. I don’t have the burden of home schooling children with my depressing remedial math skills, or worry about them interrupting my zoom calls. The worst I deal with is maybe my mothers oblivious decision to start vacuuming at the same moment I’m giving a presentation. Try coming back from that distraction unscathed.
So like I said, I often need to take a tally of the good things that exist because I’m working from home more than I could have ever imagined. And as a result there have been many unforseen blessings along the way.
For me its things like being able to spend my days with my new puppy who requires a lot of attention and training. If we were working in office she would be essentially crated all day, and that’s no life for a pup. In addition to this, I feel like I have my very own therapy dog available to me throughout the day to pet, hug and play with when I need a mental break. I love looking up from my computer to catch her clumsily playing about-it brings a genuine smile to my face every time.
Additionally, its given me time with my mother who is aging and has been isolated at home for the bulk of the last 8 months as a result of the pandemic. And if you catch me on a day she isn’t driving me bananas I’d gladly admit I appreciate this precious time with her.
I’m cooking more, which means I’m eating more, but nonetheless I’m cooking in a kitchen. Being at home allows me to spend the time to prepare meals and eat out less. I’m falling in love with creating great and delicious meals whereby cooking had lost its appeal for awhile.
Practicing self discipline is another element to working from home that I have benefited from. I imagine many business owners can attest to setting their own work schedules, and can comprehend what happens if they slack off. I for one have learned that everyday needs to be guided by a strict task list of to-do’s that I have laid out in my calendar as a reminder to abide by. straying from this can leave me feeling nervous or ill prepared in the case things become too out of control and I don’t have the familiar supports available to guide me through the snowball effect that occurs often in my field.
In Addition to this, I’ve been able to predict my days better whereby I can schedule breaks in my day to actually take a break. Prior to working from home I’d take my breaks at my desk, eating my lunch and still work at the same time. Now I’ll schedule it into my day and take my pup to the dog park, go for a bike ride along the river, go for a walk, attend the gym or take in a massage. These things would have been unheard of before.
Lastly my team has continued to engage in new habits to stay connected and supportive with one another. I’ve never been a fan of group chats but I make an exception with this group chat. It has been fun to bounce our sarcasm back and forth as a reminder that we are all in this together and all equally at the mercy of a pandemic that is effecting us in varying ways. What’s been unique has been the shift from solely professional relationships into an extended family we can count on.
The benefits of working from home obviously go beyond my personal accounts, and are inspiring companies to consider it for the long haul.
According to FlexJobs’ 2019 Annual Survey, 78 per cent of people said having a flexible job would allow them to be healthier (eat better, exercise more, and so on) and 86 per cent said they’d be less stressed.
“You get benefits from increased physical activity, mental-health benefits from reduced stress, increased family time,” says Trevor Hancock, retired professor and senior scholar, school of public health and social policy, University of Victoria. “Once we stop running like hamsters on a wheel, [we can] look around and almost literally smell the roses.”
In addition, articles like the one in the New York Times, surveyed that the average office worker revealed they used to spend nearly an hour every single day commuting to and from their jobs — that’s five hours each week office workers could get back by working from home. And with less commuting there is less carbon footprint. According to Global Workplace Analytics, part-time remote work in the U.S. could slow carbon emissions by more than 51 million metric tonnes annually. Carbon footprints also diminish with reduced office energy, less business travel, and paper usage, it says. Meanwhile—with idling traffic accounting for three billion gallons of fuel and 26 million extra tons of emitted greenhouse gases—a one per cent reduction in vehicles on the roads could yield a three-fold decrease in congestion. Even roadway construction from wear and tear could be reduced by 112 billion miles a year, it says.
I enourage you to go forward and reflect on some of the benefits you had not anticipated on since working from home. Share them with me in the comment section below.
Remember to Like, Share and Comment! Don’t be a stranger !
I had created this presentation for my unit about 2 months into the Pandemic. Probably the only time ever in my long career to take on an ass kissing task like this. Admittedly, I was struggling to get my footing and I knew that this slow period needed to be spent in a meaningful type of way. So the social worker in me decided to social work myself and put this helpful guide together for others alike.
Approaching Wellness From a Canadian Indigenous Framework
How Can We Lead or Support Our Teams if We Are Struggling too?
“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”
“Solitude is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it.” ~ Deepak Chopra
Spirituality as a Support to Mourning and Grieving; Identify those losses in your life and all that you are missing. Create idea pin boards, lists of restaurants, places you want to travel, bucket list plans, or even festivals you want to attend. These will all contribute to a sense of hope by changing your lens that some of these losses are just temporary and better times are ahead.
Connect with others who are passionate about the same issues. Whether it’s your self-care buddies, community of care, or a local organization or campaign you are volunteering for, surround yourself with people who can understand how you feel. Venting alone doesn’t help, combine complaining with action! Get into the practice of walking away during your Venting/Complaining Sessions with action items of how to constructively do something about the things we want to see changed.
Put good deeds back into the universe—directly. Focus on creating that human connection, on giving back and showing others that there is still kindness in the world. Balance your self-care with a healthy dose of kindness activism.
Curate your methods of staying informed. Truly evaluate how much news you are absorbing and be mindful of how the news affects you—physically, mentally and emotionally. Almost two years ago, I decided to stop getting my news from television. Turn off all but one of the push notifications on my phone in order to limit interruptions during the day.
Give myself permission to cry. Anticipate the ebb and flow of emotions that go along with the adaptation processes. Feeling sad, disheartened, or downright hopeless at times is a commonality among us all.
Incorporate Prayer/Meditation/Breathing Exercise’s in the morning and at night if you are struggling to manage the anxiety, worries and restlessness.
Consider What’s in Front of You. Pay attention to what is simply visibly present around us that blesses us each day
Examples: Did you tackle a recipe that you’ve been meaning to try, or bake a cake from scratch that actually turned out? Did you hit the lottery and able to find Lysol Wipes or toilet paper at the store? Were you able to finally transition from your day pajamas to wearing pants for your zoom/skype meetings? Is your family safe with you at home? Is the isolation and social distancing giving you more time to make room for other things that never had time for before?
Don’t minimize your accomplishments as small as they may seemingly be.
“Did my FitBit really only count 932 steps today?”
•Create a space in your home to work in(outside of your bedroom), and make it your own by filling it with things that bring you joy. Ensure your set up properly so you have all the items you need from forms, technology, and equipment.
•Ensure you are taking wellness breaks by getting up, walking, cycling, gardening or spending time in your drive-way chatting to the neighbor across the street. Included in this may also look like trips to the fridge for a snack. These steps count!
•Schedule time for Fitness in your day: Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, now is the time to get moving. Not only will it improve your energy, but boost your immune system in times we need to stay healthy.
•Now is the time to take your vitamins and eat as much nutrient rich foods as you can. Sun is also a great source of Vitamin D- Take your computer and sit in the sun when you can, to avoid an unnecessary trip to the pharmacy.
You’re Hella Canadian if you grew up with these two!
Free Fitness Resources/Apps
Running, jogging, biking – it doesn’t matter how you train, keeping track of your workouts is essential. Runtastic allows you to set goals, uses a built-in GPS to record routes in real-time, and even lets you share your successes with your friends.
PERKS OF RUNTASTIC
The app syncs with Apple Music to offer high tempo playlists for true musical motivation
By tracking your mileage, Runtastic guages what wear and tear your trainers are enduring
´2. ASANA REBEL: YOGA AND FITNESS
You don’t have to be a full-blown ‘yogi’ to use Asana Rebel. This handy little fitness app offers the perfect introduction to the regime. Rather than bombarding you with annoying notifications, you get a green dot on the built-in calendar when you train. You also get two new workouts every day so you’ll never get stuck doing the same old routine.
PERKS OF ASANA REBEL
When you first login to the app – using Facebook or an email – you’ll see a screen that asks you to ‘unlock’ the premium version. Don’t be fooled. You can still use the free option by simply clicking the exit button at the top of the screen.
´3. MYTRAINING WORKOUT TRACKER LOG
MyTraining packs a selection of helpful training videos, a routine log, and a handy calendar feature, but that’s not all. Technology may have come a long way, but you just can’t beat support from world class coaches. That’s exactly what this tracking app offers.
PERKS OF MYTRAINING
Got a burning question about your workout? Simply open the chat feature and speak to a certified coach in minutes.
´4. MY VIRTUAL MISSION
Are you in need of some workout motivation? If your current exercise is less-than-inspiring, My Virtual Mission may be the app for you. Use it to create the virtual fitness route of your dreams – literally. If you can imagine a route, the app can create it.
PERKS OF MY VIRTUAL MISSION
If you have a desired route in mind, the app will tell you how many miles that is and set a goal for you.
When you’ve completed the route, you can even send a virtual postcard to your contacts to show off.
5. COUCH TO 5K RUNNER
The hardest part of any run is taking that first step. Couch to 5K offers running novices all the advice, support, and help they could possibly need. The NHS program claims to get people off the couch and running in just nine weeks.
PERKS OF COUCH TO 5K RUNNER
Great for easing you into your new regime, so you can realistically work your way from a 15-minute route to a 5K run
Each workout is guided by a voice over from the likes of Olympian Michael Johnson to BBC presenter Jo Whiley
6. DAILY WORKOUTS FITNESS TRAINER
Ideally, staying fit and healthy means hitting the gym or track regularly. However, sometimes, you may not have the chance to get out nor the time to dedicate to it. The Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer app means you can exercise well in the comfort of your own home.
PERKS OF DAILY WORKOUTS FITNESS TRAINER
You can choose which area of your physique you’d like to target and the app offers a simple yet effective five to 30-minute workout that fits the bill
The uniquely genius thing about this app is it’s simplicity. Download it, pick a discipline, and get working
7. FITBOD WEIGHT LIFTING TRAINER
If the CrossFit phenomenon has inspired you, you’re not alone. More men and women are lifting weights than ever. When giving this regime a shot, Fitbod Weight Lifting Trainer is the ideal app. The step-by-step nature of the program makes planning an effective strength training workout effortless.
PERKS OF FITBOD
The more you use the app, the more it understands your abilities and the challenges you face
You can tailor your workouts to suit your training style and the available equipment too
How do we stay sharp when the World’s been flipped upside down on us?
Defining Intellectual Wellness
Intellectual wellness encourages us to engage in creative and mentally-stimulating activities. These activities should expand your knowledge and skills while allowing you to share your knowledge and skills with others.
Intellectual wellness can be developed through academics, cultural involvement, community involvement and personal hobbies.
Why is Intellectual Wellness Important?
Intellectual wellness encourages learning. It is important to explore new ideas and understandings in order to become more mindful and better-rounded. Having an optimal level of intellectual wellness inspires exploration. Intellectual wellness also stimulates curiosity. Curiosity is important because it motivates you to try new things and develop an understanding of how you see the relationship between yourself, others and the environment.
The Route to Intellectual Wellness
Be open to new ideas, new cultures, new knowledge, new skills and new environments. When you have an open mind, the world is truly yours. This allows you to explore issues relating to problem solving, critical thinking, learning and creativity. Below is a list of suggestions for you to adopt in order to enhance your intellectual wellness.
Listen. When you participate in active listening you are able to fully comprehend the information that is being given to you.
Pick up a hobby. Hobbies are great ways to increase your skill set. They can also be fun!
Express your creative side by exploring different avenues of creativity and artistic expressions.
Sessions that support Intellectual Wellness
´Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction: Mindfulness is seeing things more clearly, and paying attention moment to moment to moment. When you are mindful, you notice what is happening—as it is happens. This creates a space, a pause in which you can respond considerately to situations, rather than react. Creative possibilities open up; new ways of being with life’s challenges can present themselves.
´Transformational Coaching: Together we will identify the specific steps to make your dreams a reality. In addition, we will overcome fear, self-doubt and find the clarity needed to make the changes you desire. And finally, we will co-create strategies and your plan to reach your goals so you can achieve and have a well balanced life.
Steps to Achieve or Maintain Intellectual Wellness
´Read. There are good books, newspaper articles, essays from the internet that can be read by anyone. Through reading, your comprehension skill is challenged and it widens vocabulary that would equip you with the new development around.
´Listen to good music and radio program. It is found therapeutic to listen to positive music because it calms the emotions and decreases the risk of stress.
´Watch positive TV programs and videos. Choose informative videos and not the ones that corrupt the mind or infuse negative ideas. This way, you will absorb positive energy that enhances the ability to think.
´Be creative. When there is an activity to do, challenge yourself to make something new and different, not the one you are accustomed to, to see how far your mental ability can go.
´Desire to continue learning. Always challenge yourself to learn something new to keep your brain active and be curious to what is unknown to you.
´Attend seminars or workshops. This will help you gain new ideas that are seldom included in the books you buy. You will also improve your social wellness by meeting people and gaining new friends.
´Eat a well-balanced diet. Proper nutrition is significant for the brain to function well and avoid mental stresses that may cause additional health problems.
Questions to consider as we go forward into a continuum of change and time of uncertainty…
Reflect on some of the old habits that were no longer serving purpose to you. What were they? How did they impact your self-care and wellness. What will happen if you let go of them?
What Habits have you acquired during the pandemic that have been beneficial and what is your plan to continue it?
Identify times, actions, or accomplishments that demonstrated strength and resilience in yourself? Can you share this with your team?
How have you grown or changed in reference to the 4 quadrants of the medicine wheel in the last 2 months? Where do you see areas that need attention? How can your leadership support this?
It was exactly 3 month ago that I became symptomatic with Covid-19 and would later that week be a confirmed case after being tested at a drive-thru testing center here in Calgary Alberta, Canada. I remember that day I fell ill, because I joked to myself that perhaps at the fabulous age of 42, I had maybe over done it after attending 2 social gatherings. It wasn’t abnormal for me to require at least a week to recover typically after a good ol’ night of over consuming the godly yet deadly grapes of the earth.
I was working from home already that week and after three days in a row of 8 hour long naps, confusion, body aches and headaches that worsened in severity I realized it was most definitely the “Rona.” Thankfully I had already been self-isolating, but had to make the call to work to deliver the bad news. Not only did I have to tell my already strained unit they were going to be down a worker, I also had to contact everyone that had attended the outdoor tea party I had thrown at my house that same weekend. It was embarrassing to say the least but thankfully we would later find out that no one had become ill as a result of my illness. Aside from being relatively ill and stuck in my bedroom for 10 days, the two weeks of isolation after that I would say to date was the easiest part that I have endured thus far.
You see, no one is able to prepare you for the complicated variables after the initial diagnosis. Not only can it be challenging to return back to work, whereby do you have to repeat the Provincial Health System directions at least 3-4 times then await approval from the varying levels and then be told to repeat yourself another 3-4 times. Lets not even start on receiving the daily calls from the contact tracers who do not seem to have the information that you spoke with someone earlier that day. But for some reason they also want to take you through 15 minutes of questions only to be told something different than the person you spoke to 3 hours before told you to do. At the end of the day, I’m typically very good at doing what I’m told but I’d have to say I was left feeling less confident in what they had to offer me in terms of advice.
I remember when I returned back to work several weeks later, feeling happy to get back into a routine and be productive again. I’ve fallen victim a few times during this pandemic with the assumption that being back at work is going to produce familiar feelings that give that long awaited dose of normalcy or familiarity. However, my assumptions have fallen short as there is nothing normal about doing child protection in a COVID world, let alone doing it while recovering from COVID.
So it should not be surprising when I tell you in my last naive attempt to resume my regular scheduled programming that I fell hard and fast. It led me to the decision that I had to make for myself. It’s been 3 months since I tested positive for COVID and I have been sick 3 times with the exact same symptoms as before. Extreme fatigue, severe headaches, shortness of breath/tightness in my chest, and intermittent dry cough. The physical ailments are one thing, the mental health is a whole other challenge. I had to wave my white flag and take a lengthy leave from my job in order to heal, however remain at somewhat of a loss as to how to do this.
You see I’m well versed in how to treat and manage my mental health when I’m struggling in that aspect. I know how to implement a regiment of exercise, therapy, vitamins and nutrition as well as a healthy work life balance. I’m also well versed how to recover from a flu, illness, or physical ailment that I’m presented with. So perhaps from the outside its seems quite simple to overcome an illness that is being presented as “the common flu” when in actuality its just not the case for everyone. Just ask the people that have died from it.
So you can see where my confusion lies as for whatever reason I don’t have a clear action plan yet as to how I’m going to use this time to heal. All I’m armed with is the conviction that my cognitive functioning and body is telling me that we are in some uncharted territory and I’m at sea without a compass. In my attempt to seek out answers from my family doctor and the Provincial COVID Health link I have not been provided much information around whats happening to me. Since my initial diagnosis, I have presented at hospital twice, and received ECG’s, blood work, and chest X-Rays but no MRI or brain scan. My research has left me with little direction as the resources available speak to either health specific or alternatively mental health specific. But what happens if they are interconnected and are neurological in nature, which means an umbrella approach to assessment and treatment?
Seeing as I’m not one to sit around and be patient with essentially anything in my life, this predicament is no different. Therefore it seems that I have some work to do when it comes to advocating for my health and taking it into my own hands in order to press the health care system in catching up with the times. So I have quickly began to go down the rabbit hole researching information on the medical case studies involving the neurological effects of Covid-19.
I came across an article in Medical News Today which discusses how viral infections can impact the brain even if the if the virus has not directly infected brain tissue. For example, inflammation of the brain, or encephalitis, most often results from a viral infection. These infections usually cause mild, flu-like symptoms, but when they affect the brain, the issues can be severe.
Politics and personal perspectives aside, I think history can be a valid starting point in order to establish some sort of reference that’s not based in a conspiracy or political agenda.
What we do know is that in the 1918 flu pandemic, there was an epidemic of encephalitis lethargica, or “sleeping sickness.” Between 1917 and 1927, millions of people likely developed this issue worldwide. Many of the survivors experienced lasting behavioral changes and extreme lethargy. Some lived in catatonic states.
Previously, some researchers have observed a link between infections with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV — the coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, respectively — and signs of damage within the central nervous system.
Are you scared yet?
While there is no evidence of anyone living in a catotonic state due to Covid I can attest to feeling the extreme lethargy and some odd behavioral changes. If I wasn’t so in tune already with my pre-existing mental health condition, I could have quite easily mistaken it for just that with the addition of my physician attributing it to depression, anxiety or a mood disorder.
A study was completed with regards to Brain Inflammation in the U.K. at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery that described the experiences of 43 people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 between the group had a wide age range of 16–85 years.
The study team analyzed both the clinical features and the results of brain scans and laboratory tests, and it is the first to have done so in this context.
The report details 10 cases of temporary brain dysfunction, or encephalopathies, with delirium. These patients were mostly over 50 and presented with confusion and disorientation, with one patient experiencing psychosis.
“A further 12 patients experienced inflammation of the brain. The majority of these people experienced a rare disorder called acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis (ADEM), which is triggered by viral infections and leads to damage of the myelin sheaths around nerves.“
The study went on to say that “ADEM is more common in children and that they typically see around one adult with the condition per month. During the period that the study was concerned with, this rate increased to one case per week. This is concerning, as ADEM can progress to multiple sclerosis.”
The team also found reports of nerve damage. Specifically, there were seven reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which a person’s immune system attacks healthy nerve networks. This syndrome is often associated with a prior infection and also involves damage to myelin.
The finding is consistent with a previous report, from Italy, of five cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in COVID-19 patients.
“We identified a higher-than-expected number of people with neurological conditions such as brain inflammation, which did not always correlate with the severity of respiratory symptoms. We should be vigilant and look out for these complications in people who have had COVID-19.”
– Co-senior author Dr. Michael Zandi
The team also reported eight cases of stroke, which confirms previous findings. These cases are thought to result from the “sticky blood” found in COVID-19 patients.
The remaining patients had other neurological complaints, including dysfunction of the cranial nerve and a brain abscess.
Interestingly, some patients in the study did not experience any severe respiratory symptoms, making their neurological symptoms the first and major presentation of COVID-19.
The authors say that doctors should look out for possible neurological symptoms in people with suspected COVID-19.
“Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes. People recovering from the virus should seek professional health advice if they experience neurological symptoms,” says co-lead author Ross Paterson, Ph.D.
In eight of the patients, the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord was tested for the virus, and no evidence of it was found. This suggests that neurological symptoms of COVID-19 are not a result of a direct attack on the nervous system.
Understanding exactly how an infection with the new coronavirus causes these symptoms will require more research. However, it seems likely that the neurological consequences of COVID-19 result from an immune response gone awry, rather than the virus itself.
One of the lingering effects that I have personally continued to experience along with the severe headaches and lethargy is the loss of taste and smell.
While the media and health officials report that COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory disease that attacks the lungs, but it has also manifested seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as a loss of taste and smell or memory loss, that can persist for months beyond the initial diagnosis. These oddities suggest a neurological source.
It has been reported that at least two patients also developed strange behaviors shortly after being discharged from the hospital.
“One woman, as described in the paper, repeatedly donned and took off her coat, and began hallucinating lions and monkeys inside her home. Another woman became drowsy and ultimately needed emergency surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain.”
Thankfully I have not come across any lions, tigers or bears, Oh MY! But have experienced confusion and episodes of overwhelming panic whereby I’ unable to process the source or trigger. This can be daunting and imbarssing especially in a professional role like mine as a social worker who is typicaly the one moderating panic and confusion in others.
The authors of the study are now pushing for larger, possibly global efforts to track neurological symptoms. Zandi tells The Guardian that health professionals should begin incorporating cognitive function into their patient assessments, while his coauthor Ross Paterson, a neurodegenerative specialist at University College London, says early diagnosis is key. “Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause,” Paterson tells Reuters. “Doctors need to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes.”
Ultimately the general consesus out there is that the full long-term effects of these symptoms may not be realized for years, says Zandi. Many patients are currently too sick to place inside brain scanners, The Guardian reports, meaning the full extent of neurological symptoms remains unknown. In addition, some changes may be more subtle and happen over time.
In a seperate Reuters article, Adrian Owen, a neuroscientist at Western University who was not involved in the study, expressed concern over their potential to severely affect the quality of life for recovering patients.
“My worry is that we have millions of people with COVID-19 now. And if in a year’s time we have 10 million recovered people, and those people have cognitive deficits . . . then that’s going to affect their ability to work and their ability to go about activities of daily living,” Owen says.
My hope would be that going forward that both the Canadian Federal and Provincial government will begin applying the research and studies into our present health care approach to Covid -19 as a part of their medical practice and assessment. I believe as the numbers continue to climb more people will be looking for answers. In the meantime, us “long haulers” may just have to pave the way with the wisdom we carry as Covid-19 survivors. From one Long Hauler to another, Keep your Head Up!