Dave Covid Comments
About August 1, 2020 I got exposed to covid while on family vacation – just close family that we see most every week. But the sister of a grand-daughter’s husband had it and didn’t know it until the last day of our vacation when she called. Four of us tested positive.
I had been taking a product to boost my immune system and to protect, but I forgot to bring it on vacation.
A couple of 20’s grandkid spouses got it and they were well in a few days with mild symptoms.
My wife got it with symptoms of a bad cold and was well in 5 or 6 days.
But I was a prime target 74-year-old male.
I got it starting with fever, constant dry coughing and wanting to sleep all the time.
I called my doctor that I’ve had for 20 years and they said if you tested positive there is really nothing approved that you can do to help. Go to ER when and if you have shortness of breath, nothing else was mentioned.
My cough kept getting more constant, I took naps all the time, and ran a fever but had no shortness of breath.
Finally, on the 12th of August we’d had enough of the coughing, I was starting to get weak and starting to get confused, so we went to the nearby ER of a satellite hospital. They took a very good chest x-ray, checking everything especially my oxygen levels and then sent me by ambulance to their main downtown Fort Worth hospital.
I later heard that the head lung doctor saw me coming into the ICU and told the nurses I probably wasn’t going to make it and to move me to the PCU where I’d get more intense care than the ICU.
Since before all this I’d been generally healthy and was taking no medicine on a daily basis, they had me sign up for a drug trial for a drug being tested for saving critical covid patients and to agree to plasma treatments when our blood bank could find some.
This was evening by now.
After midnight my condition got much worse. They got me the first of three big IVs of the experimental drug to be given 8 hours apart. My main nurse through these critical hours was a floater not normally part of the PCU. To me, that’s because she was an actual angel come to help me – but each of our realities are different. She watched over me in her PPE blue plastic for hours that first night.
The experimental drug was a formal FDA drug trial, and I could have gotten a placebo. All the nurses prayed that I’d get the real drug. I had significant weird side effects, so it is almost certain that I got the real drug.
At some point our blood bank got a shipment of plasma with antibodies from New York and I got an IV of that and 24 hours later a second one.
The doctors and nurses worked intensely on me that night and I was just a few minutes away from dying, but miracles happened with prayers from around the world and I survived the night. They put me on 60 liter per minute high flow oxygen (not a vent) and I was in my PCU room to wait to see if I ever got better. Doctor said there would be much better results if I slept on my stomach and with high flow nozzles on my face and EKG contacts on my back it was not easy, but I learned to do it.
Up to 8 really good doctors and lots of good nurses kept checking on me but little progress over the days and weeks. I had lost taste and smell, but one breakfast half way through my hospital stay I tasted the melon they served and smell and taste came back.
After a couple of weeks of very slight progress except for a positive outlook by me, one of the doctors spent some time reviewing everything in my charts and quizzing the nurses, and decided, “We almost never do it, but let’s give him a 3rd and 4th dose of plasma”, again with the protocol of 24 hours apart.
After the 3rd dose I finally stopped coughing so much and after the 4th I started handling oxygen better. So for the first time they could start decreasing my oxygen flow. So I went from 60L to 40L to 30L to 4L to 1L and I adapted well.
They were about to send me on to a rehab hospital. The head nurse who never came to my room before came in to my room and asked, “Do you want to go home?” I said for sure. She went and lobbied with the doctors to keep me in the PCU for a few more days and get me ready to go straight home. The doctors listened to her.
They said I had to learn to breathe without added oxygen. So for 36 hours I had no oxygen and every time my oxygen level got to 88 or lower the monitor machine would loudly beep. I had to calm down, focus on my breathing and get it back to 89 or higher to shut off the noise and I learned to do that well and get a sense of what level my oxygen was at without having any instrument.
On August 30th, after 19 days in the hospital, I got to go home. Very weak and pale and feeble and 25 pounds lighter, but home. My wife and I worked to continue to inch forward my recovery process a little bit each day.
How grateful I am to be alive and home. Grateful for the hundreds around the world on both sides of the veil who said prayers and helped. Grateful for the angels behind the scenes and in my room who helped. Grateful for a spectacular hospital unit that used innovation and professional care and experience to get me home.
Recovery Update 1 October 2020
One month out of the hospital many things are better.
My terror nightmares are gone. (Almost dying gives you PTSD for a while). I can sleep more than two hours at a time. I can do all normal daily tasks.
On first day home I could walk only 30 steps. I can now walk a mile at a modest pace.
My pulse still stays above 100. After any exertion I still have to pause and focus on breathing and get my oxygen back above 90. It easily drops to 80 or 78 but I can get it back up in about a minute. I can read, I can concentrate, and I feel positive unlike many people who had hospitalized covid.
Inch by inch I get better and I am so grateful, but we have no idea when, if ever, full recovery will happen.
Recovery Update 29 December 2020
I have had a great recovery. We now have a goal of walking 5,000 steps a day. Wires in my brain that were fried by the low oxygen of that first 24 hours in the hospital now all mostly have new connections formed. At first, I couldn’t talk more than a minute or two without starting to cough. Cough is gone now.
When I came home from hospital, I had several numb spots on my body from the low oxygen and the left hand was numb with the two littlest fingers not functional. It seems that all the IV needles into my left hand and the potent drugs that saved my life did significant nerve damage. This is still a work in progress.
We are so grateful for my significant recovery, for Harris Downtown and its great nurses and doctors in the PCU, and for all our family and friends around the world who prayed for me.
If You Have These Covid Warning Signs, Consider Going to the ER
Especially if exposed or tested covid positive:
Shortness of breath – difficulty breathing
Diminished sense of taste or smell
Persistent dry cough
Fever above 100.4
Low oxygen – blue face or lips (consider buying a little finger pulse ox device)
Unusual mental confusion
Any of these might be worth an ER visit.
Sooner is better than later.
Doctors said that if I’d waited one more day, I’d be dead.
Preventative Care If You Have Tested Positive
If you get a positive covid test, immediately find a doctor, Nurse Practitioner, or urgent care facility that will get you on steroids (like prednisone) and possibly an antibiotic (for secondary lung damage).
Get relevant nutrients that might be helpful.
Don't just sit there. Take positive action to help your body fight the virus
My hospital still has me on
Vitamin C 1500 mg
D3 5000 units
Zinc 50 mg
Melatonin before bed 3 mg
Other useful items if FDA/CDC stops blocking them