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Image / Editorial

‘My body simply revolted’: Lena Dunham on having Covid-19


by Jennifer McShane
02nd Aug 2020
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As the pandemic continues to gain traction with Covid-19 cases continuing to rise around the world, the significance of getting the virus cannot be underestimated. To that end, public figures such as Tom Hanks, and now Lena Dunham, are using their platforms to push the seriousness of it home to their followers  


A “reluctant” Lena Dunham has revealed that she experienced a long battle with the coronavirus after testing positive for the virus in mid-March. It isn’t a surprise, this reluctance to speak out about having contracted the virus. The Irish medical team have repeatedly warned that those with the virus should not be stigmatised – that we need those who have symptoms to come forward if we are to track, trace and thus, eliminate it.

Posting to her Instagram, the Girls creator recapped her lingering COVID-19 symptoms, in what she deemed her ‘Covid Story.’

“Seeing the carelessness with which so many in the United States are treating social distancing … I feel compelled to be honest about the impact this illness has had on me, in the hopes that personal stories allow us to see the humanity in what can feel like abstract situations,” she wrote.

Related: ‘It got worse and worse’: Why don’t we take women’s pain seriously?

It began with achy joints, not unlike Dunham’s “usual diagnoses” – she has been open about her chronic pain for years including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and endometriosis – but it soon transformed into “impossible, crushing fatigue” and a high fever.

 

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A “rave gone wrong”

“Suddenly my body simply revolted,” she wrote. “The nerves in my feet burned and muscles wouldn’t seem to do their job. My hands were numb. I couldn’t tolerate loud noises. I couldn’t sleep but I couldn’t wake up. I lost my sense of taste and smell. A hacking cough, like a metronome keeping time. Inability to breathe after simple tasks like getting a glass of water. Random red rashes. A pounding headache right between my eyes.” These symptoms went on for 21 days, or “days that blended into each other like a rave gone wrong.”

“Even as a chronically ill person, I had never felt this way”

“To be clear, I did NOT have these particular issues before I got sick with this virus and doctors don’t yet know enough to tell me why exactly my body responded this way or what my recovery will look like,” she continued.

She said she was lucky enough to be treated by a private doctor and tested negative for the virus four weeks after she tested positive, but stressed that even then, her symptoms did not fade.

She urged people to “take the appropriate measures to protect yourself and your neighbours.”


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