January 29, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

SMMUSD Nurse Raises Funds to Pay for Long-COVID Medical Bills

“It feels like the combination of a severe concussion, a bad hangover and the worst flu you’ve ever experienced,” says Maya Lindemann

By Keemia Zhang

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) school nurse Maya Lindemann has begun a fundraising effort to help pay for medical bills after suffering from long-haul COVID.

Lindemann, who first contracted COVID-19 in March of 2020, has often been bedridden and unable to read or speak. She has also struggled with Chiari, the cerebellum pushing into the spinal column, impacting fluid flow and exacerbating her symptoms, which requires the treatment of a specialized team of neurologists.

Lindemann’s Long COVID turned into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), often described as a “living death”, and has drastically reduced her physical and cognitive function. She has also developed other connected illnesses impacting her nervous system. Lindemann’s team believes that decompression surgery will help alleviate the severity of her symptoms – however, specialist care has been both elusive and expensive. 

“Even as a nurse I’ve faced immense challenges in getting appropriate healthcare”,  said Lindemann, who faced skepticism when informing healthcare providers of her symptoms. Public misunderstanding of Long COVID has also been troubling. “I had an overly chatty nurse talk to me for 20 minutes recently and that wrecked me for a week. It feels like the combination of a severe concussion, a bad hangover and the worst flu you’ve ever experienced all at once over and over again.”

Lindemann previously worked as an RN at the SMMUSD and spent time volunteering at the Aquarium of the Pacific and Catalina Hyperbaric Chamber. Her focus on classroom mental and childhood health led her to become a fellow for the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars. As a school nurse, Lindemann is also concerned about children contracting Long-COVID, as their symptoms are more likely to be doubted by medics. 

“I hope my story helps to also inform others that Long-COVID and other post infectious illnesses can happen to anyone at any age.” says Lindemann. “If there’s one take away I hope people learn it’s that post infectious illnesses are real and pushing through can cause serious harm leading to prolonged disability. Pacing activity is critical.”

Lindemann is raising money for her treatment and recovery process on gofundme.com.

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