An Adventure With Covid
Well, it finally happened. A caught Covid a couple weeks ago starting Monday July 25th. Despite being in Italy in early 2020, I somehow dodged the initial outbreak and then remained Covid free for the next two years. I was even beginning to believe I’d already caught it asymptomatically some time in the past and was actually immune now. Like that time I had a random two-week long dry cough in 2020. But no, and there’s no ambiguity this time around either since I have a very positive test to prove it.
How did I finally catch it? From Jen of course, who caught it from her sister while she was visiting with our nieces. They wanted to ride the train and play with our kitties, and isn’t that just adorable? After Jannica got home, she called Jen with the bad news that she’d tested positive for Covid, and that’s when the fun started. Jen was sick for about three days before I started to think I wasn’t going to catch it.
I’m fairly certain it was that temporary moment of hubris that doomed me. Regardless, I immediately tracked down the America’s Frontline Doctors early treatment protocol and found myself glad I’d stocked up on many of these substances. I already take Vitamin D3, NAC, and Melatonin. I also have Vitamin C, Zinc, and Quercetin in my extended supplies. The protocol says to avoid carbs while sick, which is pretty easy to do when you’re mostly Keto anyway.
It all started Monday evening where I noticed the muscles in my back were inexplicably beginning to ache. For as long as I can remember, this has always been my first sign that my immune system is about to unleash hell upon me. Any time I’m genuinely sick, the muscles in my back start to get sore, and not in a way that suggests I’ve been doing core workouts all day.
So I knew I was getting sick, and given Jen’s diagnosis, I was pretty sure it was Covid. And it hit fast, too. The ache deepened with every hour and began to spread. I was uncomfortable while eating dinner, but by bed time, I felt like I had strep again. It only got worse from there. The muscle aches came with a tension headache, and a mild 100.3 fever. Not wanting to derail the healing process, I decided against any painkillers, lest they prematurely ended the fever, which is supposedly best for killing Covid.
In any case, nothing in the usual treatment protocols mention Tylenol or Ibuprofen, so I just let the fever run its course. Which may be good because it seems like I needed the heat anyway. I kept getting chills no matter how many blankets I heaped upon myself. At one point I was shivering under two blankets, one of which is a super plush fleece with the same consistency as our Ragdolls. I kept waking up delirious and sweating, only to start shivering and repeat the cycle.
Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well that night.
After that night of Hell, it became clear to me this wasn’t something to be taken lightly. By the time I woke up on Tuesday, I felt about 2-3 times worse than the last time I had strep. I’d slept badly, had extreme muscle aches, a tension headache, a fever of 101, and no appetite to speak of.
I got out of bed around 7am even though I didn’t really sleep and felt like death. I had no appetite at all, but figured I should eat something to go with my various supplements. I say “various” because it’s quite a list:
- Vitamin C: potent anti-inflammatory. The version I take is a 1000mg of liposomal vitamin C suspended in MCT oil.
- Vitamin D: hormone used throughout the body and critical to the immune system. I take 5000IU suspended in coconut oil with 100mcg of Vitamin K2.
- Zinc: shown to inhibit Covid from entering cells. I split a 50mg tablet in half and took it with breakfast and dinner.
- Quercetin: a mild zinc ionophore, meaning it helps zinc enter cells. This makes the zinc I was taking more effective than without. I have a raw powder, so I just mixed 500mg in with lunch.
- Black elderberry: studies show this acts as a mild antiviral which is effective against Coronavirus. I used 2000mg at night.
- NAC: an anti-inflammatory and precursor to Glutathione, one of the most potent antioxidants in the human body.
- Ivermectin: Imported from India as an “in case of emergency, break glass” treatment, because I’m that kind of hypochondriac. I took 24mg every morning while I was sick and a couple days afterward for good measure. Supposedly Hydroxychloroquine works better with Omicron, but I stocked up on this way back in the Alpha days. For all the disingenuous people out there, I took pills manufactured for humans, because “horse medicine” doesn’t win Nobel prizes.
Basically I threw the kitchen sink at it because I’m “high risk” thanks to my congenital heart defects. If I ended up getting worse than anticipated, my plan was to track down a clinic that was still doing antibody infusions, but it never came to that.
Regardless, I took my meds, nursed some Sleepytime tea, and went back to bed. I didn’t sleep, so much as just lay in bed and groan. The muscle aches made it basically impossible to sleep, and the alternating sweating and chills made it hard to reach some kind of temperature equilibrium. Additionally, my temperature had reached a balmy 101, helping to increase my discomfort.
I forced myself to eat lunch because I still wasn’t hungry. By the time dinner rolled around, I just gave up and took my final few supplements with half a cup of cottage cheese. It’s not like I would wake up from hunger pangs. Not that I slept well, of course.
I woke up around 7:30am this time, though I think I actually slept worse than the first night. Concerned in general, I took a glance at my fitbit sleep data and got a very firm confirmation my body was extremely angry about something.
Not only had my resting heart rate gone up by about five beats, it essentially never went below that newer higher rate all night. I’m not sure if that was to maintain my fever or because I was quite restless, but it was another clear indicator I was unwell. And speaking of my heart rate, it normally idles around 52 or 53. The graph of the entire ordeal is a definitive outlier too.
That’s a crazy and stark contrast. I love having biomarker telemetry.
In any case, while body aches had abated substantially, I still had a fever just below 101 and lacked an appetite. Not wanting to eat lasted the entire time I was ill, so I just kept on downing my supplements with a half cup of cottage cheese. I also added 325mg of Aspirin to reduce any clotting risks caused by the Covid spike protein. Even with coated tablets, I’ve had a mild ulcer caused in the past from NSAIDs, so I made sure to eat something with them.
It felt like things were improving at this point, but I didn’t let up in any portion of my protocol. It’s been a while since I was this sick, and wasn’t going to take any chances.
Maybe this was the day I knew I was actually getting better. My years of insomnia have taught me that if I wake up at 5am and can’t fall back asleep, to just get up and read or something. This was the first day I felt like that would be a good idea, rather than just laying in bed to rest. So at 5am, I got up and trudged to the living room to read.
My fever was down to around 99 and the body aches were almost entirely gone, but I’d acquired a sore throat in the exchange. Luckily some tea addressed that particular issue. I skipped breakfast, but actually detected a tiny modicum of hunger by noon. I was also hungry enough to have more than cottage cheese for dinner, so things were definitely looking up!
Friday was much like Thursday in the respect I woke up at 5am again, and once more spent a couple hours reading. I was still clearly addled and the brain fog wasn’t letting up, so I ended my week hoping the weekend would put everything right. The important part is that I was eating again.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was also released for the Nintendo Switch, so I spent some time playing that since I couldn’t do anything productive mentally anyway. I’ll have a review for that once I actually finish it, but it was a welcome diversion to end the week. I just kept imbibing tea with a dash of lemon and went about my business.
I got a rude surprise on Saturday when I woke up at 7am: coughing. During the worst of the Covid aches, I never really had a cough. Yet right when I thought I was getting better, I’d picked up a very persistent dry hack that I couldn’t shake. The list of everything I tried was extensive:
- Delsym, the “early artillery” of cough medicines.
- Tessalon Perles, the “fuck you” of cough medicines. Both Jen and I have had these prescribed in the past, and we had some left over, so I took one. They’re actually a mild anesthetic that basically numb the nerves that cause coughing, and I consider them infallible. Not this time though.
- Albuterol, which Jen has plenty of thanks to her allergies. Aside from an elevated heart rate from the stimulating effect, this didn’t really do anything for me.
- Generic Astelin, just to rule out a histamine cause.
I’m not sure if some combination of the above actually worked or not, but the coughing eventually tapered off by bed time. I could still feel the urge, but managed to suppress it enough to sleep for at least part of the night.
I woke up on Sunday and split the difference by rolling out of bed around 6am. The coughing was back, but I had a sort of recipe to address it this time. I took the Delsym, another Tessalon Perle, and the Astelin. I actually kept up on the Astelin and added some Mucinex for a few days after this just to make sure I didn’t pick up some kind of opportunistic infection while my immune system was still weakened.
By late afternoon, the urge to cough had faded to almost nothing. Thanks to that, I managed to sleep well for the first time since I’d gotten sick.
By the time Monday rolled around, I was basically well enough to resume my normal activities. I didn’t quite feel good enough to go on my normal daily 30-45 minute walks just yet, but I could go back to work. Aside from an occasional residual cough, I’d essentially recovered.
I don’t know which Covid variant I’d caught, but Omicron is the most prevalent version that’s circulating right now. Maybe I had BA.4 or BA.5, or perhaps it was some other mutation. Unfortunately, no at-home test can distinguish that precisely. What I do know is that it came with three distinct phases in my case:
- Two days of body aches, lack of appetite, and fever.
- Two days of sore throat, lack of appetite, and fever.
- Two days of coughing.
Even after recovering, I didn’t feel back to normal until the following week, and even then I had some kind of lingering brain fog. Now two weeks after the event, I’m back to my usual routine, including the evening walks to absorb some sun after work. Whatever Covid may be, it gave me a rather thorough beating, and I don’t wish that experience on anyone. Be safe out there!