3 years after start of pandemic, COVID-19's effects linger for some Sask. families

Three years after the pandemic forced people home from work and school, the aftershocks are still rippling through people's lives in Saskatchewan.

2 Saskatoon women talk about COVID's impact on adult and youth health

A woman wearing a black face mask walks down a city street, holding a coffee cup, as light snow falls.
A woman in a face maskwalks down a Saskatoon street in a 2022 file photo. Three years after the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to affect the lives of people in the city. (Rob Kruk/CBC)

Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic forced people in Saskatchewan, and around the world, home from work and school, the aftershocks are still rippling through people's lives.

Some in the province are still struggling with symptoms from long COVID and trying to come to terms with the loss of time, or people, to the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Others worry that the pandemic has affected their children's development.

Darian Bradley's son was born with a breathing condition called laryngomalacia in January 2020, shortly before the pandemic closed much of the world down.

The Saskatoon mother said the ensuing isolation has impacted her son's ability to socialize and speak.

Parents bringing their children to daycare after months at home in isolation noticed their "pandemic children" tended to play beside one another, but not with each other, Bradley said in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

They also seemed more distressed than would normally have been expected during daycare drop-offs, she said.

"It was hysterics. How much of this is COVID-related? How much of this is development-related, or do they correlate?" asks Bradley.

Her son is on a waitlist for medical assessment for developmental delays, but is seeing a speech therapist.

"It's just trying to figure out what is development and what is just social deprivation, almost."

Woman with long dark hair smiles at camera while sitting in a car
Alanna Carlson Sinclair still receives rehab for physical symptoms of COVID-19 two years after contracting the illness. (Submitted by Alanna Carlson Sinclair)

Saskatoon lawyer Alanna Carlson Sinclair was one of the unlucky people to contract COVID-19 before vaccinations were widely available.

She and her husband both contracted COVID-19 in March 2021. While her husband recovered quickly, Carlson Sinclair's symptoms lingered for nearly two years.

"I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't, you know, remember words or finish sentences," she said.

"Which was scary for someone like me who, you know, relies on their brain for a living."

While Carlson Sinclair has since mostly recovered, she is still in rehab for some of the physical effects from COVID-19.

"My physical capacity and endurance because of that, of course, was atrophied while I was really ill," she said.

The severity of her symptoms led to depression, she said.

Carlson Sinclair credited an online health coaching group out of Australia, which focuses on people with long COVID-19 or similar symptoms, for helping her to deal with some of the effects. Coaches in the group helped her come up with a recovery plan, said Carlson Sinclair.

She has also started a well-being journal on her doctor's prompting that has a list of reflective daily "check-in" questions, which help her focus on things like her "wins of the day" and what she's grateful for.

At her doctor's recommendation, she's also started sharing some of the resources that helped her with others, she said.

"The groups that I've been involved in, a lot of us, after we start getting better, have turned to helping others."

With files from Saskatoon Morning