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

Those who walk by the welcome figure often touch hands with it. (Screenshot/Jessica Poirier)
‘A presence in the school’: The story behind Hope Secondary’s welcome figure

After a year’s worth of delays due to COVID, the welcome figure… Continue reading

Former Merritt Centennial and current Chilliwack Chief Jackson Munro (left) evades Merritt’s Chase Cook during a weekend BCHL game at the Chilliwack Coliseum. (Darren Francis photo)
Goalies lead Chilliwack Chiefs to pair of wins in weekend BCHL action

Mathieu Caron picked up a shutout Friday and Jakob Gullmes earned his first BCHL victory Sunday

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has called for the resignation of B.C.’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside. He made the call during a speech in Vancouver on April 10, 2021, in a rally for a parent embroiled in legal battles surrounding his child’s transition.
Chilliwack school trustee calls for B.C.’s minister of education to resign

Barry Neufeld spoke at rally for jailed father in Vancouver, calling SOGI 123 a ‘dangerous experiment’

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read