I have done some public speaking (on Zoom of course) about my experience with Covid-19. A common question I get is related to treatment. I want to start by saying – there is no one treatment for Covid. There are a number of things doctors have done that have worked, but there is no one medication. I became sick in August. At that time, patients were told to not go to the hospital unless they spiked a fever and showed oxygenation issues. I did not struggle with either, so I stayed home. If I new then what I know now, I probably would have gone to the hospital since I would have likely suffered the migraines and other neurological issues for a shorter period of time, but maybe not. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part since I will never know.
The first talk of the treatment cocktail really came when President Trump was infected. We all learned about the medication he was administered at the hospital under an emergency use authorization. He has given authorization of its emergency use to other politician friends who have contracted the virus. For many, it was life saving and made their suffering much shorter. I am pleased that these medications are being developed and used with success. Long Covid is a very real issue, and if these medications can help more people avoid becoming long haulers, it is a tremendous success.
I say I would now go to the hospital for many reasons. One, I suffered for weeks with the most excruciating daily migraines. Covid infection was significantly lower back in August and September locally, which would have given me a chance to see a doctor sooner – potentially. In my case, it took going to the ER to get a solid migraine treatment and to have someone take me seriously enough to get me into an neurologist within a matter of days. Going to the hospital made all the difference for me.
A local friend of mine is currently hospitalized with Covid-19. This person showed no signs of a fever and no oxygen issues. However, the patient was incredibly sick trying to fight it at home. This person gave up and drove themselves to the hospital where they were immediately treated in the ER and transferred to a Covid ward. This is the first person in my life who has received the “cocktail” we first heard about months ago. This cocktail might have saved this person’s life. A healthy, active, person in their 50s who had no fever and no issues with oxygenation is now in the Covid ward of a hospital with pneumonia. The story this person shared reminded me again why I should have gone to the hospital sooner.
The New York Times currently has a tracker for hospitalization use. You can put in your local zip code and it tells you how many people in your area hospitals are being treated for Covid and the number of ICU beds available. We are able to loosely confirm the numbers, and they are accurate. I was stunned to see how many Chicago hospitals are completely out of ICU beds. I was also relieved to see that there are many available, too.
People ask me for Covid advice a lot. I don’t want to tell anyone what to do because I know I am just one opinion in many. All I know is that if I were to go back and do it again, I would have been seen in the hospital around week 2 of infection. I also plan to get the vaccine assuming my rheumatologist agrees it is the right fit for me. The biggest advice I can give? Be kind, and take care of each other. We still have a lengthy road ahead.