Long COVID caregivers suffer fatigue, headache of daily struggle

Invisible Army: Caregivers on the Front Line: Part of an occasional series supported by the Solutions Journalism Network

James Hogan II nearly faltered as the full-time caregiver to his wife and three children—all of whom suffer from varying long COVID-19 symptoms—during a recent grocery store run.

Instead of sticking to his short list, Hogan got confused and bought a week’s worth of food. He too faces lingering fatigue and brain fog 16 months after COVID-19 infected every member of his upstate New York household.

The severity of his mistake hit when he opened the cupboards at home, revealing a fully stocked pantry and fridge. The family could ill afford wasting the extra food after burning through its savings — close to $18,000 — due to their collective pandemic nightmare.

“I’m constantly trying to find the right balance between where long COVID is drawing the line and getting my kids to school,” said Hogan, who shoulders caregiver tasks despite being a 50-year-old disabled military veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic back pain.

That seemingly endless search for balance also plagues Desiree Chambers, a 52-year-old living alone in Troy, who is battling a lingering cough and serious breathing problems eight months after contracting COVID-19.

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