On Having Coronavirus

Yes, I have/had Coronavirus, which is why I’ve gotten so little done in the last little while. I’m mostly on the mend, but there were definitely some intense days.

How I got it

My whole family got the virus, we think, around the 4th of July weekend, in which my kids played with their cousins. Their cousins got sick slightly before my son (the first of us), so it’s likely one of them had the virus but hadn’t come down with symptoms. Oddly, one of my sisters-in-law had been exposed, but had a negative test come back. That might have been a false negative.

I arrive at that conclusion because I’ve been very diligent since the start of this (and before, warning people early on) in wearing masks, gloves, and other protective gear. I in fact didn’t get sick with ANYTHING for the last few months as a result – it was the longest stretch of “no sickness at all” I’ve had since we started having children.

So like lots of things, the kids got the parents (including me) sick.

The symtoms

No, it’s not just the flu, brah.

Symtoms for the kids were generally mild and short-lived. My son came down with a fever and it resolved in a day. We didn’t even think it was Covid until my wife and I got sick. My daughter had a fever for about 2 days and some fluid in one ear.

For us, it was very high fever of 103+ that didn’t respond to medication for about three days. I would have to take 800mg of Ibuprofen and a high dose of Acetaminophen to bring the fever down to about 101.5-102. Drugs simply DID NOT work most of the time. After those days, the fever got less.

It was when the fever was resolving that both I and my wife got REALLY sick. My wife ended up with an acute sinus infection that was so painful she couldn’t sleep, and the onset was rapid – just a few hours.

I went from a resolving fever, actually feeling much better after four days of sweating, to having SARS-like symptoms in about three hours. I went to bed feeling fine and woke up a few hours later with intense pain in my lungs – actually some of the most severe pain I’ve ever experienced – combined with a strong, painful cough.

After a few hours, I started coughing up phlegm mixed with blood, some of it bright red and some if it dark. I ended up going to the hospital, where they finally tested me for Covid-19 before sending me home, since my symptoms were, believe it or not, not considered extreme enough to stay.

Most of the symptoms actually resolved within the day, but I have lingering pain in my upper right lung lobe and I’ll probably have to have some follow-up work done to see if there is lasting damage. I’m also still suffering from malaise – I’m tired all the time.

I can definitely see how old people can die of this with such speed. If I wasn’t already in good physical shape and fairly young it could have been really bad.

These weren’t the only consequences, however. My wife and I both totally lost our sense of smell. I mean totally. Neither of us can smell anything at all. Before my sense left totally, everything smelled bad – like, really bad. Things also taste very bland right now, to where sour candy is the only thing that is really tasty. Apparently, there is a chance our sense of smell won’t come back.

Edit: My voice is also in really bad shape, hence no videos. The damage was probably due to coughing, in my opinion.

The Unknown.

When my wife and I sought medical attention the consensus from doctors was that Covid-19 was the ONLY thing they were seeing. They were near 100% sure we had the virus before any testing was performed because the symptoms were so consistent. Measures were effective in reducing significantly every transmittable illness except the Kung Flu – why was that?

Is it that masks were ineffective?

Possibly, but probably not. Covid-19 is just so virulent that the convexity of masks and other measures like social distancing isn’t as severe with Coronavirus as with other pathogens. And I have to consider how I got it – my child, not some rando at the supermarket.

This has big implications for schools. Although kids don’t get very sick (we don’t know why), they can easily transmit the infection to vulnerable adults. Right now my wife and I are thanking God that my mother and father-in-law didn’t get sick at the party as they have pre-existing health conditions that would massively raise their risk profile and turn a disease that is unpleasant with some possible long-term effects into something truly deadly.

And that’s really the problem with Coronavirus in general: we are in the dark. A large portion of what you have heard through the media regarding the virus is likely untrue – most of what is talked about is conjecture that gets disproved or re-proved within weeks. That’s because the thing hasn’t been around long enough for us to actually know much.

There’s a flaw with the popular “Evidence-based medical practice” and that’s that you need evidence. When faced with the unknown, there are no reliable studies that you can look at to determine what to do. You have to operate in a different world – the world of probability and precaution.

Masks might not be 100% effective, but even at 50% effectiveness, they can potentially reduce transmission by 90% due to the convex effects of reductions over generations (in other words, each patient infects fewer people, so after several rounds of infection, a mask group would have 90% fewer cases than a control group even when masks are only marginally effective). Masks also have little-to-no downside.

Cloroquine might be effective, or it might not, but if it is effective it can save a life, whereas the side-effects are known and manageable. Thus, it should be used.

We don’t really know why children aren’t very affected, or why some people get sicker than others, or what is happening when people test positive without symptoms, or why two people can start with the exact same disease and end up with two different secondary infections.

People, and our medical establishment is part of that, are not usually trained to think about things like this in the realm of the unknown. They are trying desperately to find information they can use – to understand and therefore mitigate a threat. They aren’t trained to think in terms of optionality – the potential upside vs. the potential (or known) downside.

This is the reality – you do not want to get this. If you can do small things to reduce your risk, you ought to. Operate with precaution, because you don’t have the information you need to know the outcomes.

By the way, did you know I created a FREE collection of short fiction to entertain you during the pandemic? Check it out! Also available in an ultra-cheap zero-royalty paperback.

14 Comments

  1. Guillermo González

    Good God, that sounds like something out of a nightmare. And to think that compared to other pandemic diseases this one is a mild one (we are not at Spanish Flu or Black Death levels, but that’s not saying much). As painful as being infected and suffering the symptoms could be I believe I could handle that, but it’s the long lasting and potentially permanent effects that scare me the most. Any disease that leaves such an impact on our bodies is absolutely terrifying.
    At the start of the pandemic my brother came down with a fever and lost his sense of smell, and both my parents are nurses who kept going to work although they didn’t interact directly with Covid patients, so it is possible that the rest of my family has gone through with it without any symptoms. Apparently my mother doesn’t have any antibodies, nor does my father, which is deeply concerning.
    But enough about my personal situation; allow me to share my condolences with you and your family; by how you describe it it must have been one hell of an ordeal. I’m happy that you are doing better now and that it’s not as bad as it could have possibly been. Hopefully your sense of smell will return soon enough.
    You don’t need to hear this, but do take good care of yourself and your kin. Do not worry about your videos; I doubt anyone will blame you given the circumstances.

  2. “Masks also have little-to-no downside.”

    They absolutely do have a downside. Several in fact:

    1)Moral hazard – people stop washing their hands, the only way that’s every been known to stop this sort of thing. If you look on the box of any responsible manufacturer, including of N95 masks, they will tell it does not stop the transmission of infectious disease. Believe them. Surgical masks were intended to stop the exchange of bodily fluids between patient and surgeon/nurse, nothing more. Putting on mask and not washing your hands when get home is pointless.

    2)Highly unsanitary – The cloth masks begin stink in very little time. That means they are collecting mold, mildew, and bacteria. Nobody is talking about washing these things. No one. My son has to wear one for work. I find myself pestering him about washing it, for his sake and others. We are not in cold and flu season yet and seem to have forgotten it’s possible to catch other things via unsanitary practices, like cloth masks that go unwashed.

    3)Security risk – It’s actually federal felony to carry a concealed firearm and wear face mask, for obvious reasons. I don’t know what horrible event has to happen for us to remember why we want to see stranger’s faces, but it appears we are stuck in this mode until it does. :(

  3. I wanted to leave this separately:

    I hope you and your wife get well soon and definitely don’t worry about the videos. :)

  4. My deepest wishes for you and your family’s total recovery from this.

  5. It is very interesting to have an insight like this from someone who contracted the virus. It is more frightening than I thought, and I will be extra careful as a result.
    Hope you and your wife have a safe and full recovery and that everything turns out well.
    I lost my sense of smell and taste before, when my family and I contracted a very nasty super bacteria. I’m not sure whether it was the medication or the bacteria itself, but everything tasted bitter and awful, at most. After a month like this, eventually the senses came back fully.

  6. Covid went through my extended family with various levels of sickness. I either didn’t catch it or was asymptomatic.

    My nephew lost his sense of smell but it soon returned.

    To help your recovery, I suggest supplementing zinc, if you haven’t been, and make sure to get Vitamin D, preferably by doing some brief tanning.

    I hope you and your family have a quick and full recovery.

  7. Glad you pulled through! Get better soon!

  8. God bless you and your family, brother.
    That sounds like pure hell. I’ll be honest, I live in an area that has been relatively unaffected, so its been hard for me to take the virus seriously
    (so much noise on all sides of the issue made it hard to focus and figure out the truth).
    Actually hearing a personal account from somebody that I trust really helps put the seriousness into perspective.

  9. Glad to hear you guys are recovering, but please take it easy until you’re sure you’re clear. Sleep does more good for me than anything else when I’m sick, though I have no idea what Covid would do to me. On masks, I do have a friend who says she knows people who have gotten bacterial lung infections from wearing masks, and there have been reports of two deaths and one collapsed lung in young people who wore them while exercising (running in the later case), so the risks may be greater than people are being led to believe. There’s no risk free scenario, just different risks.

  10. Not Ordinary in Games

    This is a completely wild, but also slightly educated guess: perhaps the different symptoms are just different responses from different bodies. Perhaps the virus is so new and weird we humans just don’t know how to react.

    And if a theory on the very formation of viruses I heard is correct, this would make even more sense. Not spreading such theory, since it has not been proven.

  11. Wish you and your family a speedy recovery!

  12. Whenever I come down with something I like to use Airborne or generic equivalent. That seems to be the most effective easy-to-get immune booster. Zinc is next-best.

    Here’s something on hydroxychloroquine: https://wmbriggs.com/post/32030/

    Also, the Swiss briefly stopped using HCQ, saw deaths go up, then resumed it, and deaths fell.
    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/stacey-lennox/2020/07/15/media-should-do-a-mea-culpa-as-french-analysis-offers-a-stunning-observation-about-hydroxychloroquine-use-n643181

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