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In March of 2020 I was 69 and living my dream life. I was in my 7th year of being a nomad, living in my conversion van, wandering the country, volunteering in state parks and having awesome experiences and meeting new friends. When campgrounds everywhere closed and no one knew where this virus was going, I hunkered down in my daughter’s driveway. In April, I decided to use this down time to look for a piece of land to be a base and home for when I got too old for the wandering life – in 6-7 years. Found it and moved onto it in fall of 2020. Six weeks later I ended up in the hospital, fighting for my life, with several organ infections (including my lungs) and sepsis. Three weeks later, I had recovered enough that the doctors were having me moved to a rehab but, the day I was to transfer, I tested positive for Covid (yes, I got it while in the hospital). When the doctor told me I was tested positive, it was the most terrifying moment of my life. I was near 70, had life-long autoimmune conditions, and my lungs were already in a bad place because of the infections. I didn’t think there was a snowball chance I would survive it, and the look on the doctor’s face told me he felt the same way. Well, I did survive it, through many scary breathing episodes. I finally made it to a rehab, and then finally home in January 2021. Initially, the symptoms of what I would later learn to be of long-haul Covid were intense; fatigue, breathing, erratic blood pressure, migraine-like headache, tremors, cognitive issues, hair and teeth loss. My doctor started referring me to specialists but all of them were at a loss. I am now 15 months out from coming home. The various symptoms have eased but still pop up with no warning. The worst now is the constant fatigue and headache – and depression. Halfway through my recovery I realized the nomad life I loved was over – way to soon. Now, I rarely leave the property except for doctor appointments. A day out for an appointment puts me down for 3. Every day is a struggle to get my family and friends to understand that where 2 years ago I was so active I could hike several miles, now just going to the mailbox is a challenge.

Kadi Best (Florida)