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South side mom develops stutter, other neurological issues post COVID

Amanda Wood was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March and has suffered from issues including neurological symptoms ever since.

INDIANAPOLIS — With every week that passes there are more people joining the COVID-19 survivor ranks.

Some of them are fully recovered, but the long-haulers, like Amanda Wood from Center Grove, are reporting symptoms and side effects that baffle doctors.

"I started just not feeling right," she said. "And I couldn't really describe it." 

Wood said she hasn't felt well for months.

She was was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, and despite repeated testing, she didn't get a negative test result for 117 days. 

Now she's still negative but has developed a stutter, intense headaches and short-term recall issues.

Credit: Amanda Wood

"When I had COVID in March, everything hurt," she said. "And I don't feel like that anymore, so that's a blessing. But then neurological issues, you know, are obviously concerning."

And emotionally draining, especially when she heard claims the coronavirus is a hoax. Wood said she wishes people would take a walk in her shoes.

"Since March 14, I've been quarantined twice," she said. "I've been away from my family, I've had four hospital stays." 

She said until the most recent overnight hospital stay on July 29, she wasn't allowed any visitors.

"I wish I almost could have a video of my life since March 14
and video of my life before that for people who don't know me," she said. "This is real. And this takes people, this takes moms away from kids, and it takes grandparents away from grandkids."

Credit: Amanda Wood
(From left to right): Daughters Kiki and Lilli, mom Amanda, daughter Remi Kate, husband Dan, daughter Lexi and goddaughter Taylor.

Wood is self-quarantining and after meeting with doctors at Johns Hopkins virtually, she hopes to enroll in a global study of neurological issues in some post COVID-19 patients. 

On Aug. 16, doctors at Community Health Network ordered new MRI images of Wood's brain, checking for clues as to what may be wrong.

Some of her other issues are more common, like continued shortness of breath. She was on oxygen for three months. Now that she's free of that, she uses a nebulizer and an inhaler. 

Credit: Amanda Wood

A CT scan of her lungs taken July 23 shows white fleck patterns, which weren't there in scans during the previous two months. This test also proceeded three negative COVID tests.

"I don't know what the future holds for me, and I don't know if they can fix me. I don't know what my career looks like, I don't know what my family looks like in the future," she said. "I've asked the girls are they embarrassed by me or do they not want me around her friends because of my stuttering and because of you know, just they can tell I'm not all there right now. It's just hard."

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But she remains hopeful after arriving at the Johns Hopkin's facility in Baltimore.

"I'm kind of going into it with no expectations at all ... and hoping for everything," she said. 

Credit: Amanda Wood
Amanda Wood said she's hopeful about the study at Johns Hopkins.

She's relying on her faith and knows her family needs her.

"I'm literally living day-by-day trying to get me to a facility that I think may be able to give me my life back," she said. "I'm praying for a miracle."