Seven months on, Sophie Lavery-Grant of Enfield is still feeling the effects of COVID-19. (Healey photo)

ENFIELD/DARTMOUTH: Two Halifax-area women know first-hand that COVID-19 is more than just a “cold” or “flu” as both continue to suffer long-term effects of the disease.

Sophie Lavery-Grant of Enfield and Dartmouth resident Danica Pettipas continue to have complications as a result of having long-Covid, seven and eight months after their initial diagnosis and hospitalization last year. The two have become friends through Facebook because of their similar ordeals.

For Lavery-Grant, an avid hockey fan and goalie for her women’s team, it’s meant she can hardly stand or have enough breath to play the sport she loves. While sick with COVID-19, she also was struggling to even speak.

“The last seven months I’ve been really tired. I spent six-days in the hospital with an oxygen mask on, not thinking I was going to get out of the hospital,” said Lavery-Grant in an interview recently at an Enfield coffee shop. “I was working outside in the cold and rain, and I figured that’s what it was from. I got tested and it turned out it was COVID.”

That was in early May 2021.

“I can’t even carry my hockey gear, let alone trouble skating now,” she said. “I still have trouble breathing and chest pains haven’t gone away.”

As a result of her effects, Lavery-Grant doesn’t go far from her Enfield home. The effects of COVID saw her lose 20 pounds as a result of being unable to eat for two weeks.

“I’m very nervous about going places so like I stay put,” she said. “I have a very small circle of friends that I hang with.”

Before she got diagnosed with COVID-19, she said she was cautious.

“I wasn’t able to get vaccinated before I got sick and it probably would have helped a lot,” said Lavery-Grant.

She has had colds and flus before. What she had was definitely not either, but her will to try and push on without going to the hospital almost proved to be a down side.

“I thought I could deal with it. I thought, oh well, just some cough and eventually it got worse,” she recalled. “We had the ambulance at my house three times and because I kept saying I can do this I didn’t go in, but eventually I was having a hard time even standing.

“I could hardly stand and had trouble breathing so eventually they took me in to the hospital by ambulance. I remember spending my first day in the hospital. I couldn’t even get up. I stayed in bed all day.”

Lavery-Grant said she’s seen posts online saying how COVID-19 is nothing more than a cold and flu. She’s had to shut Facebook off for a couple of days at a time because of it.

“I didn’t think I was going to get out of the hospital, let alone you know be here and doing an interview,” she said.

She does wish she had gone in sooner.

“I thought I could deal with it and by the time they took me, I was barely able to stand on my own two feet,” she said.

Pettipas started feeling ill, around April 18, 2021. It all began simply as a cough for the 30-year-old woman, so she thought it was just her allergies.

“The next few days I started feeling worse and worse, so I decided to go for a full PCR test on April 21, and the next day it came back as COVID-19 positive,” she said. “My health started declining rapidly and April 23 I was admitted to the QEII where I would spend eight days on the Covid Ward.”

She had profuse vomiting, diarrhea, fever, covid skin no taste and no smell.

After she was released from hospital, she went home to continue her fight. Pettipas ended up in hospital three more times.

“One of those trips they found Pulmonary Embolisms in both lungs from Covid,” she said. “I have lost a total of 45 pounds and my appetite is still not normal and there are still things I can not eat to this day because my appetite was ruined.”

Pettipas was a healthy 30-year-old woman with no prior health conditions, however at the time the vaccine was not available for her age category. Her case was also untraceable as she works in retail so it could have been as easy as helping an asymptotic customer.

“I always wore a mask, social distanced, and washed my hands,” she said. “I was one of the first five people in hospital when the third wave started. Eight months later I still don’t feel 100 percent.”

She gets bad muscle pains, headaches, brain fog, severe fatigue, issues with her skin, and Heart Palpitations.

“Covid-19 is no joke. I live to tell the story,” said Pettipas. “People think they are invincible and can’t get it. You can, and it is so contagious. It’s not just a common cold/flu.

“Unfortunately, there are still too many people that refuse the vaccine and wear no masks, gather in large crowds, and not follow health and safety protocols. We need to get this virus and it’s mutations under control. We all just need to work together.

“I would never want anybody to go through what I went through. It’s been a living hell.”