Elfriede Thierfelder and her husband Klaus were among the first corona patients in Aalen. He died and she suffers from the consequences for a year afterwards. Now she is planning a self-help group.
The emotional scars in particular still hurt Elfriede Thierfelder to this day: That she was hardly allowed to stand by her husband in his last days. “The stress of not knowing how he was doing. I wasn’t allowed to visit him even after he was conscious again, that was unbearable,” recalls the 75-year-old.
Elfriede Thierfelder: Founder of the Long Covid self-help group in Aalen
How she and her husband contracted the corona virus is not yet clear to her. You have participated in various events, right in the run-up to the pandemic. They may have become infected, her husband Klaus, a former Protestant pastor in Oberkochen, and she. It started two days earlier for him than for her – and pretty hard at the same time. “Fever, headache, dizziness. In addition, he had almost no strength left, after a few days he could hardly get up. And for me it also started with a high fever.”
Elfriede Thierfelder’s husband dies in the hospital
After several days at home, the couple is admitted to the hospital. He went to the intensive care unit, she to the normal corona ward. Where she is the first patient. After just under a week, her condition improved and she was discharged.
Her husband is different: he is in the isolation ward and needs ventilation. Elfriede is not allowed to visit him. She calls the hospital every day, but learns little about his health. Finally – many days later – Elfriede is allowed to visit her Klaus after all. “He told me that he was feeling worse than ever in his whole life. He coughed terribly. It was really terrible.” Elfriede Thierfelder’s voice faltered when she remembered the tragic minutes. Klaus Thierfelder dies on the same day.
A year and a half later, her sense of smell is still restricted
For Elfriede a double burden: the death of the man – and the after-effects of her own illness. The petite woman with the short hairstyle still suffers from them today, a year and a half later. In particular, smell and taste perception are still limited. “I can now easily distinguish between salt and sugar. But to smell a rose, I have to stick my nose directly into the rose.”
Those who suffer from long covid usually show persistent symptoms weeks after an acute corona infection. How does this phenomenon come about? Who is affected? And what can we do about it?
Idea for a corona self-help group in the rehab clinic
In a rehabilitation clinic on the North Sea, Elfriede Thierfelder developed the idea of a self-help group for people with corona damage. The trained social pedagogue knows how to lead discussion groups. She wants to address three target groups: On the one hand, recovered corona patients. On the other hand, relatives of people who have died from or with Covid. And finally, those who have accompanied a loved one with corona for a long time.
She has won the Aalen Family Education Center as a partner. But also a doctor. He has promised to come to the second meeting of the group to discuss questions about the subject of “Corona”. Even without much advertising in advance, several interested parties have already contacted Elfriede Thierfelder. The need to exchange information about the consequences of a corona disease is apparently great.