Coping with Long Covid in Cambridge

Oona Lagercrantz guides us through some dos and don’ts when it comes to dealing with the long-term impacts of Covid while studying in Cambridge

Oona Lagercrantz

"Someone coughed on me in March and I didn’t think about it that much"VARSITY

Someone coughed on me in March and I didn’t think about it that much - it formed part of my daily routine as I commuted to school on various trains and buses. I also got sick in March and began counting the days I was sick. Then I counted the weeks. Then I forgot how many weeks I had counted.

I recently found out it’s called ‘Long Covid’ in the UK. My suggestion would have been something more like why-the-hell-am-I-not-getting-better-please-make-it-stop-Covid, but I guess Long Covid is more convenient. In fact, I’ll just go with Lovid here; it’s got a nice paradoxical cuteness to it.

Plenty of people have told me how to dump Lovid. Just eat more healthily and Lovid will leave. (No? How strange!) A positive attitude probably does the trick. (Really? You’re still sick?) Had I tried going for a run to “shake” Lovid off? (Unfortunately, yes.) How about asking the doctors for help? (Long story short: they made me cycle topless hooked to a machine, then suggested I try resting but not “too much”). It soon became clear that nobody actually knows how to get rid of Lovid. We were stuck together.

“It soon became clear that nobody actually knows how to get rid of Lovid”

But we were also drifting apart. Milestones in our separation include me going for a walk, me staying up past 10 pm and - after months of Lovid-induced doubts- me deciding to take up my offer from Cambridge. So, my bags, Lovid (who snuck past customs) and I arrived on October 2nd without quarantine requirements from my Corona-infested hometown of Stockholm - and here we have remained. Our 8-month anniversary is next week if anyone wants to come (it will be socially distanced of course).

This article isn’t meant to be a sob story. Instead, I want to give some tips on how to handle Lovid. I am aware that Varsity-readers with Lovid probably constitute the tiniest of tiny numbers, but you never know when someone will cough on you, especially the ways things are looking right now… So, without further ado: here are some dos and don’ts for coping with Lovid at Cambridge!

Do: Explain to people that you don’t hate them: you just need a good night’s sleep- every single night of every single week. This does pose the risk of making you sound rather pretentious, so you might consider explaining your Lovid-situation a little more. But, importantly:

"Do: Explain to people that you don’t hate them”

Don’t: Pester everyone around you with complaints about Lovid.

Do: Stick to a minimum of one complaint per hour and only bring up one symptom at the time. It’s simple: if you’ve mentioned the headache already, wait an hour until mentioning the chest pain, and yet another with the weird muscle spasms. Exceed this limit and you will become known as ‘sick’ in a bad way. (This is especially likely if your name rhymes with Corona in Swedish.)

Don’t: Write an entire article complaining about Lovid.

Do: Disguise it as a self-help guide if you find yourself doing just this, despite being warned.

Don’t: Get involved in writing any sort of articles actually. You will be exhausted and your academic work that week will be appalling.

Do: Use earplugs so you can pretend everyone else isn’t having fun outside your room at night whilst you’re trying to sleep.

“Do: Take plenty of hot showers to relieve muscle pain”

Don’t: Try to study for the same length of time as the person next to you in the library. Your neck, back, shoulders and eyes will punish you.

Do: Take plenty of hot showers to relieve muscle pain. And remember to do this when there is hot water! (This might only be relevant at Fitz...)

Don’t: Let your deep-rooted urge to hit or kick or throw a ball get to you, despite the repeated emails from the sports societies you signed up to in a moment of unfounded optimism. Also, don’t try to look cool by taking two steps at a time up the stairs: you know Lovid will return with full force.

Do: Yoga. This helps with muscle soreness and if you feel like collapsing on your bed, collapse on your yoga mat instead and pretend you’re doing yoga. I mean, it’s basically yoga. Then you’ve accomplished something at least.

“Don’t: Forget that your arms have become super weak and try to carry back loads of groceries”

Don’t: Forget that your arms have become super weak and try to carry back loads of groceries from Mainsburys to a far-off hill college in the rain.

Do: Eat plenty of chocolate. I read that it was healthy somewhere.

Don’t: Overeat chocolate. It’s expensive.

Do: Carry cough drops with you. This will help with the sore throat that keeps coming back and prevent coughing fits in the library.

Don’t: Think about your former energetic-no-underlying-health-conditions-or-risk-factors-self. Or anything fun pre-Corona frankly. This is your new life now. Enjoy!


Mountain View

Read More: Preparing for a very different Michaelmas

Do: Remember that you’re almost halfway through Michaelmas. You’ve managed to feed and wash yourself, talked to some nice people and even written a couple of essays.

Don’t: Read too much Corona news. Especially that stuff about people getting Covid twice because that is not even…

Do: Contemplate the thought that the person who coughed on you might have been giving you a blessing in disguise before rejecting that thought. It was the devil, surely.

Don’t: Take anything on this list to be final. I probably missed a lot of stuff, Lovid has made my brain a little fuzzy.

Do: Tell me if you have any other Lovid tips. Seriously. I’m desperate.

Don’t: Cough on people.