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On October 7th, I spent the morning at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
During my visit, I was taken through several cognitive tests. I had an electrocardiogram. Nurses took roughly 30 ml of blood and 50 ccs of urine. All-in-all, I spent about 2.5 hours answering questions, taking tests, providing samples.
“Oh no!” you might be thinking, “What happened? What’s wrong?”
Generally speaking, I’m a fairly healthy person. However, ever since I had COVID-19 back in March, I’ve had persistent breathing symptoms and chest tightness upon exertion. Being an athlete, this is bothersome to me. Also, living in a fourth-floor walk-up means that every day I’m reminded that my lung capacity is not quite what it used to be. My power and stamina have not recovered, and I’m not back at 100 percent.
I know that relative to many people who have had COVID-19, this is pretty mild. And I feel lucky I’m not a long-hauler with a confusing mix of symptoms that no one can explain. I have several friends suffering with this, and I feel for them. The confusion, stress, anxiety, and fear that they’re experiencing is often as troubling as the chronic symptoms they experience.
I feel incredibly fortunate that I did not have to be hospitalized—and that I am still here today.
Today, I enrolled in the COVID-19 Registry at Mt. Sinai, a clinical research study aiming to advance our understanding of the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the body. This work is focused on the unanswered questions of COVID-19, of which there are many, especially the long-term health outcomes of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Medicine does not work without volunteers. Not only do scientists and doctors work tirelessly to find new treatments, cures, and nuances about physiology and pathophysiology, but people like you and me need to participate so that we are able to study real people, real patients, and deepen our understanding of this disease and how best to fight it.
We won’t have new answers about COVID-19 without patients volunteering to be studied. We won’t have vaccines for COVID-19, or new cancer treatments, novel drugs for Alzheimer’s, or any new or better therapeutics if people do not sign up to be part of clinical trials.
Help us learn more about this disease so we can fight it.
If you live in New York and are interested, check out Mt. Sinai’s Post-COVID Treatment Center and COVID-19 Registry online. You do not need to have lingering symptoms, and you do not need to have COVID-19—they need 500 volunteers who have not been infected to serve as controls. There are likely studies like this at most major institutions and hospitals around the world, so if you’re interested in volunteering, I suggest you use Google as a resource to find a study near you.
And while you’re at it, keep in mind that clinical research studies are happening all the time for all kinds of indications. If you have the extra time and bandwidth please consider volunteering (they do generally compensate you in cash for the time and participation, FYI).
Future patients will be so grateful.