COVID-19 ‘long-hauler’ shares her story one year after New Brunswick’s first case – New Brunswick

Debby Clements is trying to get back into painting again, a hobby she loved prior to contracting COVID-19 in April 2020.

Just about every aspect of the New Brunswicker’s life has had changed entirely.

“My independence is greatly affected. We had to move houses because I can’t manage stairs anymore,” Clements tells Global News.

“My lungs are still damaged, my vocal cords are still damaged and my brain is… ridiculous. I forget words.”

Now living in Riverview, she recalls little of the harrowing experience in hospital when she required a ventilator in intensive care.

“It was a very scary, a very lonely time,” she says, “the parts that I do remember.”

Read more:
‘A gargantuan task:’ New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health on a year of fighting COVID-19

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Clements, who has a history of asthma, was hospitalized nearly one year ago. Doctors warned her husband, Mark Clements, of the severity of his wife’s condition.

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“They told him that I probably won’t make it through the night,” Debby says.

She’s not sure when or how she’ll fully recover, with a continuously-changing timeline from her doctor.

“He’d say, ‘Oh, you’ll feel much better in a couple months,’ and then a couple months go by. ‘Oh, you’ll feel better in six months,’” she says. “And then it was, ‘Oh, you’re going to need some more time — maybe 12 months.’”

“And (my doctor) just kind of calls me his unicorn because I was one of the first who was so severely ill.”

She’s now trying to regain some of her creativity, and painting is certainly a big part of that.

“It was such a big part of my life,” she says.

Read more:
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Mark and their daughter, Avery, also contracted the virus. But by comparison, their side effects were minimal.

She’s frustrated by people who still think the virus is a hoax. If others were impacted the way her family has been, or others who lost loved ones, she says “they would probably change their mind and act accordingly.”

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But she’s thankful for community support and plasma donations to help her along in her recovery.

Marking one year since New Brunswick’s first COVID-19 case, it’s difficult to remember pre-pandemic times.

But Clements is hoping for better days ahead.

“If this ever gets wrapped up, that will be a happy day,” she says.

Click to play video 'Dr. Jennifer Russell looks back on one-year anniversary of COVID-19'

Dr. Jennifer Russell looks back on one-year anniversary of COVID-19

Dr. Jennifer Russell looks back on one-year anniversary of COVID-19

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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