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

Graph showing the 2020 passenger totals at the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace. (Submitted/Northwest Regional Airport)
New year brings an end to a turbulent 2020 at Northwest Regional Airport

Passenger totals half of what they were in 2019

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

The leisure pool at the Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be open Thursday and closed Friday for maintenance, the DoK said in an updated Facebook post Thursday (Jan. 14). (Kitimat Leisure Services photo)
UPDATE: Leisure pool at Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre open Thursday, closed Friday

The leisure pool will be closed Friday (Jan. 15) for maintenance due to a mechanical issue

The Haisla Nation Council buildings in Kitamaat Village, which are currently closed as staff continue the work-from-home orders put in place prior to the winter break. (Haisla Nation Council photo)
Case numbers rise as Kitamaat Village preps for arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

Haisla Nation Council said Kitamaat Village will be getting the vaccine “sometime in January”

The leisure pool at the Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre has been temporarily closed due to mechanical issues. (Kitimat Leisure Services photo)
Leisure pool closed temporarily at Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre

The leisure pool was closed Wednesday (Jan. 13) and is expected to re-open Saturday (Jan. 16)

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Most Read