Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Covid's a Bitch!

You do not want to get this.  If you do, get tested, get Paxlovid - both are free.

Well, I drove into town to get Mark his Paxlovid.  We never even saw a doctor, but talked to a nurse practitioner over the phone.  When we told her Mark's test came out positive, she sent a prescription for Paxlovid to the pharmacy.  It is free of charge - no insurance needed.  As for me, well, it is too late - time to be fitted for a coffin.

Just kidding. But seriously, I guess I am 'over' the virus itself and now am dealing with "The Long Covid" including an incessant hacking cough (update: slowly going away).  I am not talking about some sort of "cuff, cuff, excuse me" kind of deal, but a totally involuntary, deep throat, extended (like 15 seconds or more) dry hack that comes from the bottom of your lungs and is so painful as to make you pass out almost. One time, I had three in a row, each time accompanied by a splitting migraine headache for at least 20 minutes (my sympathy for those of you who suffer from migraines is enhanced).  Another time, I felt a weird dizziness and my arm started wobbling.  Weird.

The worst part is sleeping.  With the coughs coming every 15 minutes, you simply cannot get any sleep.  And I should clarify there are two kinds of coughs here - the almost voluntary "wet" kind that most people are used to, when post-nasal drip and gunk comes up your throat (gross!) versus the deep down dry cough (involuntary) I mentioned before.  If I am standing or sitting, this stuff drains down (I guess to be swallowed - gross again!) and it doesn't bother me.  I finally figured out that if I sleep on my stomach with my chest over a pillow, the coughing would cease - I guess the upchuck doesn't settle to the back of my throat then.  Put a towel under your head, as your whole face will drain.

BTW, who designed this whole nasal passage thing?  Need to have a word with the designer when the times comes.  God, what the fuck were you thinking?  Putting these moist passages in our heads that are just prime growth sites for bacteria? It makes no sense!  I have an enhanced sympathy for Pug dogs now, as well.

So what is going on? I am testing negative for Covid and yet still feel like shit.  I never had a fever or my glands swelling, just this awful cough.  Well, apparently this is the new and improved Covid (those guys in the lab in China never quit!/s) that attacks your respiratory system.  I was confused at first, as I never had a fever (97.5 degrees) so I thought I didn't have it - and didn't bother to test, even as I had four test kits sitting in a drawer.

  • Sore throat.
  • Hoarse voice.
  • Cough.
  • Fatigue.
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Runny nose.
  • Headache.
  • Muscle aches.
Subvariants - plural.  It is like the Borg collective randomizing their shield frequencies.  Hard to create a vaccine for something that mutates so quickly.  There is a "bivalent" vaccine for Omicron variants.  We had our last booster in November of 2022 - but I cannot tell if it was the Omicron variety or not.  I suspect not, as the documents I am seeing online talk about the Omicron bivalent being available in December.  They still recommend you get the Omicron booster even if you've had the bug.

So why the long cough?  Well, if you thought the stuff I wrote above was "gross" then hang on to your hatsThe dry cough is your body trying to expel fluid from your lungs. Sometimes there is no fluid, but there is inflammation, so it triggers a "dry cough".  Some fun!
A common symptom of COVID-19 is a dry cough, which is also known as an unproductive cough (a cough that doesn’t produce any phlegm or mucus). Most people with dry cough experience it as a tickle in their throat or as irritation in their lungs. A dry cough caused by COVID-19 is typically deep and low, occurring at the bottom of the lungs. Often, people don’t feel relief after dry coughing.

So we are learning a lot of new terms here - "unproductive cough" - I will pass on the "product" myself.  But the real punchline?  This can go on for as long as SIX MONTHS after the initial virus infection is overcome.

Some fun.

After a while, your back will hurt from all the coughing.  If you aren't eligible for Paxlovid, well the only "medicine" they suggest is traditional cold and flu remedies to alleviate the symptoms while your body engages in a life-and-death struggle with the virus.  Avoiding things that suppress your immune system (alcohol, for example) is a good idea.  Also, I noted that avoiding things that set off my allergic reactions was also a good idea.  What was a mild allergic reaction becomes a major one - almost immediately, too.

Let me say this again - you really don't want to get this.  Yet some of my friends in the medical profession are resigned to the fact that eventually, everyone will get it.  And it will be the "cause of death" for a lot of older people (as has happened here on Old People Island) just as, pre-Covid, the common flu bug often ended up being the straw that breaks the Camel's back, for people over 80 who have a myriad of health issues and are barely hanging on as it is.

The problem is, of course, is that everyone has decided that Covid is "over" and few people are wearing masks or social distancing.  Oddly enough, where we live the only folks I see wearing masks in the grocery store are black folks - maybe they know something.

Maybe getting Covid is inevitable.  Maybe not.  If you can wear a mask when in public, at least for the next month or so, it might help.  Get some test kits handy so you can test as soon as you feel ill.  If you test positive, get the Paxlovid right away - Mark is feeling better only a day or two later.  That is a lot better than the month-long agony I have had to deal with.

Covid will make you cry.  Quite literally!  Not recommended.  Zero stars.