ST. LOUIS — Some people who survived COVID-19 are facing a long road to full recovery and some unexpected challenges.
Angela Carter, 78, doesn’t know how she contracted the virus in November of 2020, long before vaccinations were available.
“I kept my mask on. I used Lysol. I have no clue,” said Carter.
One thing is certain — Carter has not fully recovered from the virus, and she has been in and out of hospitals for a while now.
“It’s has been horrible to be in a hospital for a whole year,” she said. “It’s very frustrating. I can’t see my family. It’s just a horrible way to live.”
Lingering side effects from the disease persist for Carter who as of this writing is still in the hospital. She says she needs up to 10 liters of oxygen a day, sometimes as much as 15 liters depending on her exertion.
Placement in a nursing home is tough for Carter because she says she needs 24-hour care in addition to supplemental oxygen. Dr. Charles Crecelius with BJC Healthcare says, while Carter’s case is rare, there is a shortage of nursing home facilities and skilled staff for COVID patients with special oxygen needs.
“BJC has placed people as far away as Ohio, Illinois, when they need high flow oxygen or ventilators,” Crecelius said.
The latest numbers from the Missouri Health Care Association show there are 6,200 job openings at nursing homes throughout the state. That doesn’t bode well for patients like Carter.
“I don’t want to go to a nursing home just to be sitting up in a nursing home. I want to go to a nursing home because I feel like I can get myself together where I can go home.”