Surviving Ten Days With COVID In A Hospital
A friend had told us that Buffalo General was the best hospital in the city. We were prepared for the long wait at the emergency room lobby.
I checked at the front desk, hopeful. Soon, though, a bad premonition took hold of my girlfriend, Jennifer. She begged me to leave.
My mask held me so tight against my chair that my lungs collapsed. According to the triage nurse: Code orange.
“Please, come with me,” said Jennifer. It broke my heart to say no.
I surrendered myself to the hospital.
The security guy took my girlfriend away from me. I had COVID. No company allowed.
My eyes closed and I woke up in bed, a nasal cannula, delivering oxygen. The nurse left and came back shortly with a device that looked like those obnoxious iPhones, the side of a brick.
She dropped it on the bed next to my right shoulder. Stapled five stickers on my chest and abdomen. A wire was taped to my left index finger. Five more wires were attached from the stickers to the bulky device.
The nurse turned it on. I was excited to see the blue screen come to life. I could check my pulse, oxygen levels, and heart activity.
I settled in my bed. I fell asleep, again. A doctor woke me up. I told her my main concern was the fever.
She left and came back. Then gave me water with three Tylenol pills and then proceeded to explain my treatment plan: Remdesivir!
According to the FDA approval of Remdesivir, of the 541 patients who took this medicine during the trials, 59 died.
I had the right to refuse treatment.
Another doctor visited me. He pushed Remdesivir, too. In vain.
I spent two days in the emergency room before I was moved upstairs. The new room had a bathroom. Two TVs hung on the wall. One bed.
I had no idea when I would get out of there. A doctor said I couldn’t go home because I was receiving 5 liters of oxygen per minute. I needed to show I could breathe on two liters without having my oxygen levels drop below 90.
The following morning, I had no fever and was able to sit on the bed for a few seconds.
One of the previous doctors came and talked Remdesivir. Again.
I wish these doctors had the same drive to push alternative treatments for Coronavirus.
I wanted to go home.
“You’re not improving”.
“No fever for two days. How is that not improving?” I sent a text message to my girlfriend Jennifer.
Later that afternoon, the Discharge Office called me to ask a few questions.
No. I don’t have a walker at home or a cane. No big stairs to climb. The bathroom was on the same floor as my bedroom.
This call happened on November 15, 2021. Imagine my happiness.
The next morning, the Physician Assistant from hell came to visit. She asked how I was feeling.
“No. You are not. You are on 10 liters of oxygen.”
“How come? I was on 5 liters last night. Who changed my liters?”
“It was up to the respiratory guy to decide to change my liters.”
Image: Hospitalized COVID patient. YouTube screen grab.
She ignored me and asked me to lie on my stomach—and with that, suddenly, my health took a U-turn. I thought I was choking on my lungs.
Shortly after, a respiratory therapist came and set a high-flow oxygen machine for me. My liters were set to 90.
Finally, I fulfilled the expectations of whoever oversaw my treatment. I felt that my lungs were being rinsed with a power washer.
The respiratory therapist came back a couple of hours later. He set the oxygen machine to 45 liters. By the end of the night, I was on 35.
I guess God was taking care of me.
The next morning, I’m sitting on my bed. I was feeling better. I even got off my bed with the help of a food table. I did five sit-ups. I wanted to keep going but I shouldn’t push my luck.
Two people walked into the room pushing big machines. I had x-rays of my lungs and an EKG.
I was looking forward to seeing a doctor this morning. The PA from hell showed up instead.
“How are you doing today?”
I talked about my new accomplishments.
“You need to try a new medication.”
Then she handed some sheets about Baricitinib, a medicine with severe side effects, including death. She also mentioned that she was not sure the new med was going to work. I had refused Remdesivir. Now my best prognosis was the ICU.
A true demon.
I asked her for the results of x-rays and EKG. She didn’t know I had those tests done.
“You need to take Baricitinib.”
“No. I don’t.”
The PA left the room, angry.
A few minutes later, I received this text message from my girlfriend: “Alex, you’re probably going to end up in the ICU. You’re requiring more and more oxygen. Maybe you should take the medicine they’re offering. Please I beg you to try. Please take the medicines.”
I answered: “Call them and tell them that I’m going to take it.”
A nurse came and gave me the fricking lethal pill.
About two hours later, I sent a message to my girlfriend. I was transferring the title of my house to my mom. It’s excruciating to say goodbye to the people you love. I couldn’t bear the pain of leaving them.
I decided to fight back. I took just a dose of Baricitinib. The odds were on my side. It was a momentary weakness.
Change the way you think, and you will change the way you feel. That night my heart rate was 170. The following morning, I wrote a friend: “Good morning. I had a wonderful night.
Beginning at 6 p.m., I started listening to light classical music. It has been relaxing, amazing to let myself go with the melodies, like swimming on my back and letting the waves take me to a sublime place on the horizon.
My heart rate was now 89.
When the evil PA came to check on me, the usual happened. According to her, my condition was still deteriorating. That’s it!
I asked my girlfriend to call the Patient Advocate. I wanted the evil PA removed from my care. I bet I had developed high blood pressure and anxiety because of her.
On November 23, the doctor came and I asked him what caused my sudden recovery. He said “steroids.” I objected. The steroids helped with the inflammation but weakened the immune system.
My next question was more specific. What stopped the virus from replicating?
He said my immune system. I couldn’t contain my laugh. I asked the doctor not to insult my intelligence.
I let the doctor know that while the hospital was pushing hard for me to take Remdesivir, I was holding tight to a tissue box stuffed in with Ivermectin, an antiviral with anti-inflammatory properties.
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