Getting sick in times of COVID

Yesterday, my normal healthy life took a turn downward. I started getting a super stiff neck, then a bad headache, then chills (but no fever), and a runny nose. My fear took over immediately. Was this COVID? Would I survive it? What should I do now?

There’s really not much information that’s step-by-step on what action one should take when confronted by getting sick these days. I’ve basically slept the last 16 hours, with short bouts of activity between. One was to get a COVID test at my medical group’s outdoor testing site. Drive up, get swabbed, and I’ll know in 2 days. 

The thing I couldn’t get: a doctor’s appointment. Normally, I wouldn’t go to the doctor for a cold or flu, but I felt I should be prudent. I finally got an appointment for 2 weeks out, and sorry, that’s the best they can do. I asked the receptionist, “Gee, what if I’m dead by then?”

So, I went online, looking for the America’s Frontline Doctors website where I could get Hydroxychloroquine, etc., in case I started getting obviously more ill. I wanted a back-up plan. But the site is down and, apparently, Dr. Simone Gold, the head of it, was arrested after admitting that she walked into the Capitol with other protesters on January 6th, believing that it was legal to do so.

I’ve written quite a few articles on COVID and care (here, here, and here), and those have engendered comments. Since the comment feature is disabled, due to obvious threats to the website’s existence if it were enabled, I don’t know what most of those comments are. But I did have one passed on to me, from my last article on how skewed the data is on long term care deaths, based on whether the resident of the care home had a DNR on file or not. 

The doctor who wrote me passed on a lot of great and thought-provoking information. He’s done studies on the subject and is an emergency physician. He commented on the dilemma a doctor has, as most have not received adequate training in this subject. Doctors do both under and over-treatment, often based on a directive the patient has no idea is in his file. 

We are asking medical staff to play god. The studies point out that doctors and nurses are stressed, and that there’s just not enough information presented. Based on how I feel today, if I went to a hospital, I’d not be my normal, vibrant self, but rather a dull, lifeless shell of myself; that perception is what the doctor sees. And with the lockdowns, patients have no advocate on-site, in their corner, to fill in the picture.

One piece of advice the doctor gave me is that, if you have a health care directive, don’t share it with the doctors. He said that “they are dangerous in doctor’s hands.”

This story will continue. I can say, after my 16-hour nap, that I am feeling enough better to write; I still can smell and taste, so may not in fact have Covid; and while I have a profound lack of energy, I’m pretty sure whatever I have, I will get better.

It helps that my husband’s a retired acupuncturist and herbalist. Many of the remedies he’s given me seem to be helping. But the initial fear was palpable. We are not prepared for this virus in a meaningful manner.

IMAGE: Woman blowing her nose by Pxhere. CC0 Public Domain.