A Hamilton mother who shared her Covid-19 fight for life in hospital has gone home to find her inbox flooded with messages from complete strangers thanking her for convincing family members to get vaccinated.
"The whole thing was insane," said Karina Haira, who has received "heaps" of messages and friend requests from people as far away as Switzerland.
Haira was a Covid denier until the virus collapsed her lungs and left her fighting for her life in intensive care for days. She was in hospital for more than a week and could only breathe with the help of an oxygen mask or a tube on her nose.
Over the course of her infection, she posted a series of Facebook "lives" documenting her deteriorating condition, telling people Covid-19 was "not just a flu".
Asthmatic but otherwise healthy and sporty before she caught the virus, Haira is 37 and left hospital on Tuesday. She's feeling better but is far from 100 per cent.
"I jump in the shower and I can't breathe very well," she told the Herald. "Something as simple as walking around the house makes me real tired so I just sit down and rest."
The family had tacos with garlic and onions for lunch but she wouldn't have known if she hadn't cooked it.
"I can't taste anything so I have to get my kids in here to taste for me and tell me if it tastes nice."
The mother of five says she can't feel her children when she kisses them. "It feels like I've got a film on my mouth and fingers. Yeah I can't feel any of that."
She says she is not a clumsy person but has been spilling food and drink on herself since she came home.
"My senses are really out of whack. I poured a drink and completely missed my mouth altogether. It just went down the front of my top."
The social media response to her story has been both positive and negative, she said. Her Facebook page is finally calming down a little this week.
"A lot of them were mums saying, 'I just wanted to thank you, I've been trying to get my daughter vaccinated ... I just wanted to message you to let you know my son was very anti-Covid and now he's getting his vaccinations'.
"Messages like that. Phone calls from people I don't even know."
She was able to take some of the calls that came when she was feeling better, but still has too many unread messages. "I don't have enough toes and fingers on me," she said.
Her netball whanau had set up a Givealittle page to help the family through their Covid-19 struggle when she was in hospital, raising nearly $13,000 by Sunday afternoon.
"Holy heckamole," she said. "That's a lot eh? I'm usually the one that fundraises for everyone else."
Haira said the donation will be helpful. She works in traffic management but doesn't believe she will be able to go back to work soon because of the Covid toll on her body.
The family has not hit the beach yet, the first thing she had told the Herald she wanted to do when she got out of hospital.
They are waiting for a final Covid test on Monday for Haira's youngest daughter, 10-year-old Paige. If it comes back negative, they could be looking at freedom 72 hours afterwards.
"We're still in isolation," she said. "We have cabin fever now."