This article is part of a series called “COVID Survivor Stories,” where we profile the struggles of those who survived a diagnosis of COVID-19, as they deal with the repercussions of recovery.
Sadie Nagamootoo was a successful personal trainer whose life was transformed forever when she tested positive for COVID-19.
The Valley Stream, Long Island resident came down with the virus at the beginning of the pandemic in March of last year.
Today, she is suffering from post-acute COVID syndrome, more commonly known as COVID long hauler syndrome.
“I tried a couple of different times in my life in the past year and change to get some exercise, and to try to get back to my normal lifestyle regularly,” she said. “It just never happened. So I can’t train anymore.”
Doing basic things such as cleaning the house also proved to be difficult for her.
“When I clean I have to just like, relax for a little bit and catch myself back,” she said. “I would never do that before. I never thought that was in my vocabulary.”
After seeing multiple specialists, she was diagnosed with post-viral fatigue, lung inflammation and tachycardia.
“It’s still been something just doesn’t go away. Nobody has an explanation. Not one doctor, even with all they know now,” she said. “It’s new. I know. And that’s kind of, I think, the scary part of all this as well that this is a new virus. We don’t really know how it reacts.”
Today, she continues to receive extensive medical care and has been looking for jobs in medical billing and coding.
“I thought I could just go back to be normal, and I kept being told by the experts and the doctors hang on another month or two, it will take some time,” she said. “I thought it was something where I can I can kind of get myself back to where I was, because I had the scientific knowledge and I had the physical knowledge, but I just could not [be a personal trainer]. It’s just not the career for me anymore.”
The experience of being a COVID long hauler has made her more skeptical and fearful of medical experts and government leaders as a whole.
“I don’t have any faith in our medical community anymore. I did at one point,” she said. “I don’t feel like under overwhelming circumstances, that they do the right thing. There’s too many politics and other things that are involved. It’s changed my mentality.”
Her views stem from how she continues to feel unheard by the medical community as they are doing research into helping fellow long haulers.
“There should be more doctors, therapists and scientists to try and figure this out,” she said. “I haven’t seen anything and it’s weird.”
Still, she remains strong with the help of her children Sara and Anthony and her boyfriend.
“We’re a big West Indian family, and I had a lot of help,” she said. “I have a very supportive boyfriend. That helped. I don’t even know he would put on a hazmat suit and bring groceries into my house. I did have help, and it’s not something I was lacking.”
Nagamootoo is ultimately thankful to be alive, but still mourns all that she has lost.
“I was not more affected like other people, and I’m grateful for my life,” she said. “But it’s the quality of life that’s different. I think that’s the major change that I’ve had. I can’t just pick up and do anything like I did before.”