Josie Jones is now battling through Long COVID.

Josie Jones regularly talked on the phone with her cousin, Lequita Burkes. But during one of those conversations in late January, Lequita instantly noticed something was wrong.

“She said I was talking crazy,” Jones said. “She called the EMT to come to my house to check on me. They took me to the ER, and it’s weird because I remember saying, ‘Here’s my ID and my insurance card because I’m about to pass out.’ And then, I don’t remember anything else until March.”

Like thousands of Americans, Jones had contracted COVID. She doesn’t know from where, but as a diabetic, the virus immediately began ravaging her body. Things were so bad that Jones had to be placed into a medically induced coma.

“My cousin, Lequita approved all of the procedures the doctors requested. I was on a trach. I coded a couple of times and the doctors wanted Lequita to sign a DNR (do-not-resuscitate order) because my condition got so bad,” Jones said. “The doctors had given up and told her there was nothing else they could do for me. They were ready to send me to a hospice where I could end my days. But Lequita wouldn’t give up and summoned her prayer warriors.”

Josie Jones has to relearn how to walk. Photo credit: Josie Jones.

Their prayers worked and Jones was released from the hospital in mid-June. Though she is now home, Jones’ COVID battle is far from over.

“My voice is not 100%. I’m not on oxygen during the day, but I do have to do oxygen at night when I sleep. I have three masses on my spleen, so I had to see an oncologist. My right lung is paralyzed. They put me on dialysis for my kidneys in the hospital. And so those numbers haven’t improved yet. And then it affected my liver. I also lost the ability to walk. So, I’ve been having to do physical therapy to relearn how to walk,” she said.

Ten months after she first contracted COVID, Jones is looking forward to getting some normalcy back in her life, though she has no idea when that will be.

“My memory is not 100% and I do not remember a lot of what happened to me, but I was blessed to have my cousin who was my voice throughout this entire thing,” Jones said. “I haven’t driven a car since January and I cannot wait to do that. I have been on medical leave since February 1, 2021 so I am ready to go back to work, but my doctor won’t approve me going back to work until I go through pulmonary therapy to strengthen my lungs.”

Thinning hair, a symptom of Long COVID, has caused Josie to have to cut off her locs. Photo credit: Josie Jones.

And while it may not be as major, Jones also watched as her hair started thinning, forcing her to cut her beloved locs.

“My locs, which I have been growing since 2005, are now falling out and it’s to the point that my hair is so thin, what locs I have left are too thin to keep,” she said.

But in spite of everything, Jones is still counting her blessings.

“I feel very, very, very blessed,” Jones said. “I think of all the people who died and I know it’s only by God’s grace that I’m still here.”