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Life after hospitalization for COVID-19 is difficult for many patients

Grace spent ten days in the hospital in June. In the weeks since she’s returned to the hospital twice with pneumonia and an infection.
Credit: 12 News

PHOENIX — The ghosts of COVID-19 follow Grace.

They come in the form of chest pains, shortness of breath and anxiety. At night she lays awake and worries she'll stop breathing.

"It gets in your head. It plays with your state of mind," said Grace, who asked us not to use her actual name.

Grace spent 10 days in the hospital in June. In the weeks since she’s returned to the hospital twice with pneumonia and an infection.

Experts say the long term impact of COVID-19 to several organs in the body is not fully understood, even for people who only had mild symptoms of the disease.

"Anyone can be vulnerable to the serious effects of this disease," Grace warns.

She has lost her job as a hairstylist because she doesn't have the stamina yet to work, and even though she has now tested negative for the disease, she still feels cut off from loved ones.

“There is a stigma associated with all of this," she said.

Grace is still waiting for unemployment benefits and she will be kicked out of her apartment next month. Without income, she can’t secure a new place to live.

Like many COVID-19 survivors, Grace is relying on social services for help. She has also found comfort through on-line support groups.

"They've been a world of support for me," Grace said.

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