Peter Thomson is a shell of his former self.
Having contracted COVID-19 in August 2020, the Brimbank resident’s life has been turned upside down.
He spent months in hospital and feared at one point he would die after being put in a coma and on a ventilator.
While Peter was released from hospital in March, he has found himself readmitted on a regular basis due to the ongoing effects of COVID.
The virus has also made some of his existing medical conditions worse.
One of those times was after a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine and he’s been told not to have a second dose, meaning he’s not fully vaccinated.
That throws up more challenges.
“I came home from the hospital at the end of March after seven and half months in the hospital,” he said.
“I’ve got fatigue. My short term memory is deplorable. I’m still getting headaches, I had never had headaches before.
“I’m pretty much living on painkillers. I’m in and out of hospital, what sort of life is that?”
Peter said the last 17 months had been a mixture of emotions.
He said it has been a never ending cycle of going between home and hospital.
His most recent admittance in January was for breathing and lung problems.
The fear of what lies ahead scares the hell out of him.
With rising incidents of people getting COVID-19 for a second time, he fears what will happen to him if he gets it again.
“I was told to get the vaccine and I had the first dose back and was back in the hospital for nine days and had a really severe reaction.
“The doctor said the first one put me in hospital for nine days, the second one could kill me. I have an exemption but that runs out this week, I don’t know if they’ll give me another one.
“I’m frightened to go out of the house. I’ve said that if I get it again there’s a fair chance they’ll be signing my death certificate.
And then there’s the anger about the lack of support for long term covid sufferers.
He said governments had done nothing and were way behind in research compared to countries like England.
“The government doesn’t seem to care,’’ he said.
“It’s in the too hard basket and it gets me down and makes me angry. There’s a lot of other people who are feeling the same.
“More people are going to be diagnosed and have long term effects. But there’s nothing for them.”
Peter had tried to set up a support group for long-term sufferers, but had little success. He has found one group on socil media, which has been useful.
“It’s pretty much the only place that I have been able to find,” he said.
“It’s wonderful but one group isn’t enough. It’s sad that I get the most comfort from a Facebook group.”
While struggling with his own symptoms, Peter has a clear message for anybody who thinks COVID-19 is nothing but a mild illness.
“It’s not a walk in the park,” he said. “Believe me. I say that with tears in my eyes.”