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

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson kneels as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED: Vancouver Island paddle boarder’s orca encounter brings joy and outrage

Woman’s ‘best day’ criticized for disturbing the whales

Tofino’s library is currently located in the basement of the Tofino Legion building but talks are underway to build a brand new facility. (Andrew Bailey photo)
The District of Tofino has put new restrictions in place around alcohol at public events. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino puts new restrictions on alcohol at public events

Town’s council adopts Municipal Alcohol Policy.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Most Read