A former professional hockey player who grew up in Smithers who had a terrible experience battling COVID, says people in B.C. need to take the virus more seriously.
“To be at home, still dealing with this and reading people posting about percentages of people who haven’t gotten it, or that “99…. %” of people are completely healthy after it, feels like a bit of a slap in the face to those that are trying to recover, those that are in the midst and scared shitless of how it may affect them or the ones they love that are in quarantine waiting to find out if you did in fact get them sick,” Haleigh Callison wrote in a recent Facebook post that is being shared widely.
Callison, who is 36, says she was in good health when she caught the virus.
“Many people in Smithers will remember [her] as an elite hockey prospect who went on to play at the university level while studying human kinetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC),” the Interior News reports. “From there, she would go on to play professionally for seven seasons, first in Vancouver; then Berlin, Germany; and finally in the prestigious Canadian Women’s Hockey League as a member of the Toronto Furies.”
In her Facebook post, Callison described the “terrifying” experience of receiving a text from Public Health saying she had tested positive. From there, she “was extremely sick for 8 days and very sick for 2 weeks.” During that period, she recalls, “I was throwing up, constantly nauseous, body aches and pains like NOTHING I have ever felt before, diarrhea, headaches, loss of appetite, scary/bad thoughts/dreams, trouble sleeping, slept with ice packs for 2 or 3 nights to try to ease pain and messed up temperature.”
The former elite athlete lost 10 pounds in just over a week. “I would get up to brush my teeth or heat up soup that somebody kindly delivered for me and I would then be honestly exhausted and would have to sit/lay down for half hour to an hour to start to feel semi ok again,” she said.
Even now that she’s in recovery, she says her appetite isn’t normal. She sleeps 12 to 15 hours a day. Walks exhaust her and breathing is sometimes difficult. Despite this, Callison says she’s one of the lucky ones. She had a large and supportive network of friends and family to help her.
“I know some of my family and friends would not get through this – whether their age, health, immunocompromised or other challenges I may or may not know about,” she said.
Callison says people should think long and hard before they post online saying coronavirus isn’t that big of a deal. “Take 2 mins to sit and think, if my parent, my best friend, my grandparent was in hospital not knowing how they will recover/if they will recover – or your partner was laying on the bathroom floor in pain and vomiting, would you still post what you are about to say?”