Saginaw woman dealing with long haul COVID now wants to advocate for others

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Jolene Aho takes care of herself, by staying active, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and living life as a vegetarian.

The 43-year-old teacher is also a mom of three.

She and her husband, Adam, had just celebrated their 20th anniversary in August. And then, they got COVID.

“He got better, and I never completely got better. I had sinus problems, shortness of breath, really bad insomnia, and an elevated heart rate,” she told us. Now she has brain fog as well.

Aho ended up in the emergency room a few times. And for awhile, she could barely get off the couch. “About three weeks ago, my health took a real downturn. I was lying down to keep my heart rate down. My family wasn’t leaving me alone.”

Thankfully, things are getting better. Still, she has physical and occupational therapy through Essentia Health. Each day comes with its own ups and downs. And she’s had to take a leave from her job.

But she’s found support from other COVID long haulers.

Aho isn’t sure what’s going to happen next. But she’s hopeful for a full recovery. And a return to teaching someday.

“This whole experience made me realize how privileged I am. I have a good job, my husband has a good job with benefits and insurance. I feel like I will be OK after this. A lot of people don’t have health care, they lose their job, and friends and family and everything. So I am trying to advocate for other people who aren’t as privileged as I am.”

She’s also documenting her journey on Caring Bridge. And is very grateful for the support from her school district, friends, and family.

As for COVID, she wants others to know it’s not just a cold for some. “My favorite quote from Ted Lasso, is be curious, not judgmental. A lot of people are judgmental when it comes to COVID, and I think it’s better to be curious.”