Pascale (59) has brain damage from corona: ‘My whole life is gone’

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The corona virus appears to cause considerable damage to the brain. In a recent study by the Amsterdam UMC into the brains of deceased corona patients, the disease appeared to leave clear traces in the brain.

The consequences can also be serious for patients who do not die. As with Pascale Hemelrijk from Laren. The 59-year-old dental hygienist had a busy life. She gave courses at home and abroad and also worked in a dental practice. But after the corona infection nothing works anymore.

Settled out at home

“I became very ill in March,” Pascale tells RTL Nieuws. “It came in waves. At first I got so sick that I couldn’t even stand on my feet, just lie down. That eventually got better, but then I got more and more oppressed.”

Her doctor wanted her to go to hospital, but Pascale’s illness left home. “I didn’t want them to use drugs that they were unsure of what the effect would be.”

Because she was not in hospital, Pascale can get less help with her recovery, although she still suffers from the consequences of her infection: “I have no stamina anymore, I am easily tired and short of breath, I have muscle pain everywhere, my liver is damaged. It will never end. “

And the worst: Pascale’s brain also functions less well. Pascale: “I don’t even know anymore whether I have taken a shower or not, I forget that I spoke to people. I don’t even understand the courses I wrote myself anymore. That’s very scary. My whole life is gone.”

Investigation of consequences

They are symptoms that more corona patients have to deal with. The Brain Foundation is therefore going to research the effects of corona on the brain.

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“It is difficult to say how many people are affected,” said a spokesman. “But in practice we see many people with these kinds of complaints. That is why we also want to do this research: to map out who occurs in brain damage and how they can best be treated.”

The brain damage can have multiple causes, says the spokesman: “The oxygen deficiency that can occur with corona has an effect on the brain, but there is also a greater chance of a stroke.”

Extreme reaction

In addition, an extreme reaction of the immune system can occur, in which you start attacking your own body. “The fact that people lose their sense of smell also appears to have to do with damage to the brain. In some people that capacity is restored, but there are also patients who still walk around with it.”

Meanwhile, Pascale is looking hard for help with her complaints. “I encounter a lot of misunderstanding. People think: everyone forgets something sometimes. But this is not normal anymore. It looks like starting Alzheimer’s.”


A terrifying picture. “That can really panic me. I am such a fit person, I am full of life and I do everything with passion. If your brain stops working, what is your life?”

So Pascale also wants ‘home patients’ who, like her, are not admitted to hospital, to be better helped with their recovery.

Pascale: “Officially you have mild complaints, but there is nothing mild about this. I have to do it all myself, I visit all kinds of specialists looking for help. And then I am assertive, and I have medical knowledge. How should that be done? with people who don’t? “

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Moreover, she wants to warn people with her story. Pascale: “You keep hearing: there is nothing wrong, because fewer people end up in the hospital or on the IC. But even if you do not die from corona, it can have serious consequences. If your brain is damaged, then it is your whole life upside down. You don’t know what it does to you when you get corona, it’s like Russian roulette. “


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