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WA nurse has lingering effects from COVID months later, returning to work

Tammy Edwards and her husband Brian. (Photo courtesy of Tammy Edwards)

Even if a COVID infection doesn’t prove fatal or drastic, it can completely change your life and have lasting effects, as it did for one Washington nurse. KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show checked back in with Tammy Edwards, who caught COVID back in April. She’s a nurse and has just recently returned to work at Tacoma General Hospital.

“I’m feeling better. I still have the lingering symptoms, those really haven’t gone away. But I’m just powering through,” she said.

WA mom and daughter taking kids’ Christmas wishes to Santa via Zoom

Edwards works in the birthing unit at the hospital, and has seen hospitalizations rise for COVID cases. She hopes the community takes precautions to help offset this.

“As far as I know — because I’m not really on the COVID unit — we have pretty high numbers, but we’re expected in the next couple weeks for those to double. So we’re just being very hopeful that the community will take heed and listen to the health care community and wear their masks,” she said.

Local nurse Tammy Edwards with an update on her husband Brian

“We’re seeing a surge just in general, because it’s the colder months and everybody’s going indoors and that’s where the virus pretty much thrives,” Edwards added.

When she initially was diagnosed, it was considered a moderate case. Edwards never had to go on a ventilator. Her husband Brian did, however, and almost died from COVID (he has since recovered). Even though her case was moderate, this many months later, she’s still dealing with serious after-effects.

“I still have a lot of joint pain. I have like a buzzing vibration on the inside of my body. I have neuropathy. I have terrible headaches, I have tachycardia,” she said. “I’m on three medications … any kind of stress, anything that has to do with inflammation. This virus is vascular so any type of inflammation is going to cause a flare-up for people that are long-haulers.”

Despite that, Edwards tries to remain optimistic and has enjoyed returning to work.

“On my third night back, I had a COVID positive patient that I had to take care of,” she said. “They were discharged that same night, but there is some PTSD I worry about, bringing it home again. Brian no longer has antibodies. I still do, but that doesn’t mean I’m protected, of course. A lot of us in the health care system were scared to death more so that we’re going to bring it home to our family, and the same thing will happen to their family members that happened to Brian and I.”

“I have to work and I love being a nurse,” she added. “I got into this field because I love taking care of others. There’s nothing I’d rather do. This is my calling. It is scary, but, I mean, the benefits outweigh the risks, so I’m going to keep doing it.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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