Rather than put up another excerpt from a book, I thought readers might like to know a bit more about my battle with COVID-19 over the past couple of weeks. It's been educational.
It started two weeks ago when, at one of our regular Saturday evening get-togethers of the North Texas Writers, Shooters and Pilots Association, one of our number was troubled by a nasty cough. We didn't think much about it at the time; that sort of thing goes around over the winter, and we've all been victims of it. We shared supper and went our separate ways, and thought no more about it.
The following Tuesday (I think), a few of us got together at a local diner for lunch. The coughing victim was there, and coughing even more than he had the previous weekend. I was beginning to feel a bit under the weather, which I assumed was just another winter cold, or perhaps the start of a bout of flu. However, by Wednesday it had turned into a fever and chills, and I put myself to bed. Miss D. wasn't affected at that time, so she went to work as usual.
By Thursday morning, I was really badly affected, and Miss D. was beginning to come down with the same symptoms. We also learned that day (if I recall correctly) that one of her colleagues at work had tested positive for COVID-19, and a couple who had been with us the previous weekend had also tested positive and were self-quarantining. Miss D. was feeling bad enough that she didn't go to work on Friday. Fortunately, we'd stocked up on cold and flu medications, dietary supplements and other necessities, and we had plenty of food in the house, so we hunkered down to ride it out.
I think what saved us from a really bad attack was that we'd read the warnings and boosted our intake of supplements. Each day we'd been taking Vitamin D, zinc, a good multivitamin, etc., so that our immune systems were in reasonably good shape to fight off the attack. Once COVID-19 set in, we had multiple packs of cold and flu medication to deal with the symptoms. In my case, because I use a CPAP machine to sleep, I'd made sure I had high-strength nasal spray on hand, because with a clogged nose a nasal-cannula-mask CPAP becomes an expensive boat-anchor. I was very grateful for it over the past week.
The most frustrating aspect of the situation was the almost complete lack of information and assistance from the medical profession. I have serious reservations about many doctors and nurses, based on some very negative experiences following my disabling injury in 2004 and other medical conditions since then. They were amplified and extended by the almost complete lack of interest shown by providers once we knew we had COVID-19. Those to whom I spoke kept trying to fob me off to go somewhere else, rather than bother them. They gave me wrong (sometimes conflicting) information, refused to even consider prescriptions for the better-known short-term treatments (e.g. hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, etc.), and were generally very unhelpful. Staff at one regional hospital and its associated clinics gave me six different answers to the same questions at different times, and when I followed their instructions and turned up for a test, they wouldn't provide one. It was intensely frustrating, and probably the most aggravating aspect of the situation. (I had more to say about it a few days ago.)
At the time, of course, we were in a severe winter storm situation, which played havoc with local infrastructure. Temperatures dropped below freezing on the same Wednesday I developed symptoms, and stayed that way for ten days, until yesterday morning. We had up to a foot of snow, depending on whose figures you believe, and the ground is still covered with snow and ice. It'll take several days of warmer temperatures to melt it off. That's a big change from what we normally see of snow in these parts, which is a light dusting that melts away within a few hours. We were fortunate that we didn't need to do any shopping; the roads were very treacherous. We were lucky enough not to lose power during the storm, unlike a few million other Texans. If we'd had no power, I don't want to think what living with COVID-19 would have been like. It was pretty miserable as it was!
Miss D. shook off her infection quite a lot faster than I did, largely (I think) because she's a couple of decades younger than I, and in better physical shape. (As Old NFO and I have been known to ruefully remind each other, "It's not the years - it's the mileage!") I ran a fever for a full eight days, finally shaking it off only two days ago; and I still have chest congestion and an associated cough. I'm taking expectorant medication to help get rid of that. It's frustrating to me that I haven't "bounced back" faster . . . but I'm in my sixties, and not in great health due to partial physical disability, two heart attacks, and other vulnerabilities. Under the circumstances, I'm told I should be very grateful that I got off as lightly as I did!
Our coughing friend from two weekends ago was admitted to hospital this week, and spent a few days on oxygen, being pumped full of remdesivir. He got home yesterday afternoon, and will be resting for at least another week or so. He had a rough time of it, and I'm glad he's OK. Officially, Miss D. and I are out of quarantine now (ten days after the first symptoms), but we're going to be cautious and spend a few more days in self-imposed isolation, to make sure we don't carry any COVID cooties to anyone else.
Miss D. and I reckon this was our second bout with COVID-19. We had a similar infection a year ago, in February 2020, and the symptoms and effects were very similar to this year - just not as pronounced. At the time, testing wasn't available, and now, even though tests are available, cutting through the bureaucratic red tape to get one is frustrating as hell, so I haven't bothered. (Miss D. got one at a local pharmacy, and expects to hear the results early next week.)
Will it be worth getting the vaccine? I don't know. I'm not anti-vaxx at all, provided it's safe and effective; but the safety aspect has so many question marks over it that I'm not convinced. (If Congress has to exempt the vaccine manufacturers from legal liability if anything goes wrong, that's a great big red flag, right there. If something does go wrong, guess who's left holding the baby? That's right - you and I, the recipients.) There's also the very serious consideration that this "vaccine" is actually a form of DNA modification, if I understand the science behind it correctly. There's never been a vaccine like that before, and I'm not sure I want to be a guinea-pig for it.
However, I must admit, COVID-19's whipped my butt over the past ten days. I'm in a very high-risk group for it, due to age and other factors; and I consider myself lucky to have beaten it so far. I may have to reconsider my options and get the vaccine, rather than risk fighting it on my own again. It might be "third time lucky" for COVID, rather than me! I'll have to think very hard about that.
At any rate, I'm on the mend, as is Miss D. We're grateful for that, and have a lot more respect for what COVID-19 can do to the human body. If you get it, or if you're at high risk for it, take as many precautions as you can. It's no fun at all.