Oxygen therapy for long covid

Gill Hicks Oxygen User

Miraculous is the word that comes to mind.  Improvement beyond my wildest dreams.  Yet why oh why isn’t everybody talking about it?  Only one article I read on Long Covid said trials in oxygen baric chambers were being conducted in Rugby – which wouldn’t have been enough to make me hopeful enough to look into it and try it.   I only heard about oxygen therapy when my daughter sent me an article from Australia saying they had some success with Long Covid.  This was my first glimmer of hope that I wouldn’t be spending the rest of my life in this new unwelcome state.

I got Covid / Long Covid 9 months ago, and until the last few weeks, everything else is a bit of a blur.  I do remember vaguely a few events, such as some people coming to see me and Christmas day, but I remember them as if I have read about them happening to someone else – no emotions, details or feelings attached.  I know many days were like the first day out of bed after a nasty virus, all I could do was get out of bed and slump in an armchair and read light novels.  I can’t tell you how many books I have read over the last 9 months, the titles, authors nor storylines, but it is a lot.

I knew there was more going on than what they call ‘brain fog’ and have read that Covid can cause damage to parts of the brain.  I can’t tell you how reassured I felt reading the article on oxygen therapy and dementia in the Samson Centre annexe showing brain scans with the brain regenerating.  Then I had real hope.  I had been doing a few French lessons every day for a year, but with Covid, everything I had learned was completely wiped out.  I used to enjoy sudoku, but suddenly I couldn’t do even the very easy puzzles.

I could only manage company for about 40 minutes, then would get tired and my voice would fade and go.  Then I lost my voice completely for 3 months.

Then I started oxygen therapy at the Samson Centre.  I had read that oxygen therapy was most successful if it was taken on consecutive days for 15 – 20 days, so I greedily took up every slot I could (that my wonderful group of friends were so kindly driving me to since I live in London).  I was told to log how I was feeling every day (very helpful) and that the first thing I might notice is cognitive improvement.  Sure enough after the first 2 or 3 sessions I was somewhat slowly doing the easy sudoku accurately – relief!  Then on my 6th session (first at 1.75 ata), I came out and said thank you to the volunteer – and I could SPEAK!  I had my voice back after 3 long months.  It lasted a couple of hours, then a day, and now I have been speaking normally for 3 or 4 weeks.

I have now had around 20 sessions over a couple of months.  My energy has improved greatly and I can now walk for about 45 minutes.  Even the last few days I have noticed my memory is improving, I can organise things better and importantly I feel ‘myself’ again.  I still have a problem with audio visual overload and can’t be with a group of people for more than an hour, nor drive more than 15 minutes, but I know, rather than hope that a few more sessions will see me right.

A HUGE thank you to the Samson Centre and all the wonderful volunteers who have made this transformation possible for me.