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'I'm not living; I'm just surviving at this point.' Woman suffers long COVID symptoms, husband died from COVID

Living with long COVID: 'I mean I'm not living, I'm just surviving at this point'
Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 20:09:38-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Suzanne Martin and her husband Keith were married for 20 years before COVID changed everything.

"He got sick first, and then about five days later was when I got sick," she said.

They were diagnosed in March of 2021.

"I mean, it's just crazy," said Martin. "I could be sitting there one minute and get up and go to the kitchen or something, and my heart will just start racing."

Since then, she said she's been suffering from long COVID.

"It's been pretty stressful recently because of all the migraines and the dizziness and the uncertainty of what's happening exactly," she said.

Martin said she's been suffering from cardiac issues, migraines, and chronic fatigue.

"It's very scary and frustrating," she said. At times, it's lonely too.

"Really, they've started coming from all over the United States and really even all over the world," said Director of Behavioral Health at Vanderbilt's ICU Recovery Renter, Dr. Jim Jackson. "We have a couple people from the United Kingdom, we have people from Canada."

Jackson leads a support group at Vanderbilt connecting patients who suffer from long COVID.

"Last I checked, we have almost 50 people on a waiting list for these groups," Jackson said.

New data shows about 8% of U.S. adults have long COVID symptoms.

But Suzanne is fighting it alone.

"My husband was in line, like, lined up for like the next week to go get the vaccine," she said.

Except it was too late. Keith died after a month of battling COVID.

"I just knew that regardless, I had to be strong and be strong for him, because that's what he needed, and that's what he would have wanted."

She's hopeful her life may one day return to normal, and she'll do whatever it takes.

"Just because people look fine on the outside doesn't mean that they don't have problems on the inside. Because looking at me, I look fine, but on the inside, I'm definitely anything but fine," said Martin.