After 107 days in the ICU, this man hopes to be fully recovered from COVID-19 in 'about a year'

A Waterloo man still doesn't feel completely recovered more than 10 months after testing positive for COVID-19.

Tom Langan spent 107 days in hospital and is still undergoing physiotherapy and rehabilitation to deal with side effects from his long stay in the ICU.

"If I had to ballpark it, I hope in about a year I am fully recovered," Langan said.

He said at one point, his doctors didn't think he would survive his battle with the disease. Now, Langan said his lung capacity is still improving. He also has ongoing nerve damage, a frozen shoulder, a bed sore and a symptom he finds unusual.

"I do have very sensitive skin on my upper thighs, on my shoulder, it's so sensitive it feels like a sunburn," he said.

However, he said it's a vast improvement from where he was after being discharged from hospital six months ago.

"I feel stronger, my legs are stronger, my breathing is better," Langan said. "I've gone through a number of breathing check ups."

Langan is now part of a McMaster University study, which includes researchers and staff at Grand River Hospital and St. Mary's General Hospital.

"It will give us extremely valuable information about how to help patients recover better," said Dr. Rebecca Kruisselbrink.

The study is following 100 patients months after recovering from serious cases of the disease that required hospitalization.

"People complain about joint pain that they didn't have before, numbness on lower limbs and arms, hair loss," Dr. Renata Kirkwood said.

"The post-COVID illness is a real thing and we hope to be able to put descriptors and numbers to it so that better supports and recovery can be put into place," Dr. Kruisselbrink said.

Despite his lingering symptoms, Langan said he's happy to be back home with his family.

"I feel more positive now than I did before," he said. "Coming out of this really changes your way of thinking."