Haleigh Callison during a photo shoot for the Toronto Furies when she played professionally in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. (File photo)

Haleigh Callison during a photo shoot for the Toronto Furies when she played professionally in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. (File photo)

Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

A 36-year-old, former professional hockey player from Smithers is sharing her personal experience of battling a severe case of COVID-19.

Haleigh Callison told The Interior News she hoped going public would both inspire others to take coronavirus precautions seriously and help quiet at least some of the pandemic-denial and minimization rhetoric surrounding the disease.

“I knew I wanted to share because I felt like if I could help one person then it’s worth sharing,” she said.

“There’s definitely some nerves, because you don’t know how people are going to judge or whatever, but ultimately the judging was less important than if it has the potential to save somebody essentially, or actually, that could be the case.”

She did not come forward right away, but when she saw recent social media posts by people claiming the pandemic was just a political thing or a hoax or no worse than the regular flu, she was prompted to act calling those kinds of posts “a slap in the face” to people trying to recover and those who have lost loved ones..

COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE AT INTERIOR-NEWS.COM

“It was just really disheartening, and people I really respect, too, and I’m, like, ‘how are you feeling this way and feeling like it’s OK to share that?’,” she said. “I got a little frustrated about that, and felt… I don’t need to bite back on their responses or their posts, but I could purely just share my own experience and that’s what I did.”

In a Facebook post Nov. 29, Callison recounted her harrowing bout with the disease.

Despite being young, generally healthy, active and having followed, she felt, all the public health guidelines, Callison tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 10. She said getting that result was terrifying not only because she didn’t know how it would affect her personally, but that she might have passed it along to others.

She said she was extremely sick for eight days and very sick for a total of two weeks with symptoms including: throwing up, constant nausea, body aches and pains “like nothing I have ever felt before,” diarrhea, headaches, loss of appetite, scary and bad thoughts and dreams, trouble sleeping.

READ MORE: Haleigh Callison of Smithers makes her mark in pro women’s hockey

She added she lost 10 pounds in the less than 10 days and suffered from “unbelievable fatigue.”

On top of it all, she worried about loved ones.

“I remember clearly laying on the floor of my bath with the shower on, literally shaking in pain and ready to vomit for the fifth time that day thinking and crying because I know some of my family and friends would not get through this — whether their age, health, immunocompromised or other challenges I may or may not know about,” she wrote.

Now, almost two weeks after being released from isolation by public health as being non-infectious, she said she is still sleeping 12 to 15 hours a day and has to take frequent breaks from working because even mild activity is exhausting.

As a lumber trader with Olympic Industries in Vancouver, she said fortunately her job lends itself to working from home as she and her co-workers have been doing since the pandemic started in March.

“I’m really fortunate, my company is very supportive and ultimately made it clear I have to take care of myself before anything else,” she said.

“I just take the rest when I need it and I’m not pushing myself too hard because I can’t. I feel very, very lucky to have a job that allows me to recover because a lot of people don’t.”

In addition to encouraging people to follow the public health precautions and restrictions, Callison is hoping sharing her experience will inspire people to be kind and think of others and think twice about what they put online.

“I guess, I would ask, before you post something take two minutes to sit and think, if my parent, my best friend, my grandparent was in hospital not knowing how they will recover/if they will recover — or your partner was laying on the bathroom floor in pain and vomiting — would you still post what you are about to say?”



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Violin Lake last fall. Photo: City of Trail
City of Trail applies for grant to decomission dams

Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation grant to restore Cambridge Creek and Violin Lk system

South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Chris Kobelka
Trail Smoke Eaters recruit top prospects

Trail Smoke Eaters building for future in 17-year-old defencemen Joel Barton and Chris Kobelka

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

Most Read